Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today was a wonderful day in China. We really have settled in and are even starting to feel like we are on vacation. Mia is such a blessing. She was truly meant to be part of our family. She is doing great. She gets fussy when she is tired our hungry (like all of us). Otherwise she is so happy. Some other families have commented about how smiley and happy she seems to be. And all of the people on the street and in the stores comment on how pretty both she and Noah are and that they even look alike. She is eating great ..... there will be no counting bites with Mia. She eats her food then she wants ours.
We had a relaxing morning. We slept in a bit. Mark went down to Starbucks and got us coffee as soon as we woke up. It was wonderful to relax and enjoy being together. We did not even make it down to breakfast until 9:00. We then walked with our group to Yuexiu Park. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful park.

There were bunches of people playing hacky sack. However, they use a Chinese hacky sack, which is really a stack of disks with feathers attached. You see men and women young and old playing. There were probably 50 people playing in this one area of the park. They looked like people of all ages however, our guide informed us they were all retired. Yes, Dad and Bruce retired people out jumping around kicking a hacky sack. Our guide said in this area of China people have a long lifespan because of the climate, diet, tea, and morning exercises (which is Tai Chi).

We then climbed a bunch of steps ( I may be in shape by the time I get home) up 50 meters. At the top they have a goat statue. Guangzhou is known as the goat city.

In other areas of the park we saw people playing badminton and ballroom dancing.

It was a lovely relaxing morning. We then headed back to the hotel. Mark and Noah went to McDonald's and I had peanut butter crackers in the room so Mia could nap. We then loaded the bus to go to Liwan plaza for shopping. On the way we stopped at the Buddhist Temple. Several families wanted to have their child blessed by a Buddhist Monk before leaving China. Buddhism used to be the mandatory religion in China. They now have freedom of religion but, about 60% of Chinese people are still Buddhist.

They have to go to the Temple twice a month otherwise they can have a small Buddha statue in their house to worship at home.

This is a picture inside the Temple. They have 3 Buddha statues that are about 15 feet tall. They represent past, present and future. There is something about every 25 million years one is created. We allowed Mia to participate in the blessing of the babies. It was really interesting (Mark video taped it). It is quite similar to a baptism but there are no questions to the parents. The monk says some stuff (but, we could not understand) lights some incense then sprinkles something toward each child. It was not really over each child because we had such a big group. I am not sure if it is water but, it is in a cup and he sprinkles with tweezers. I think (but, I would need to check with my World History insider ... Mom) Buddhist believe in living a peaceful life now and no after life. Mia will still be baptised at Westminster (in Feb.).
After our visit to the Temple we did visit the Liwan plaza. It is a BIG shopping mall. The 1st part of the mall is typical to our malls. It has a variety of types of stores clothes, purses, luggage, food, music etc. Mark went to the music store and got a few CDs and a couple of DVDs for a pretty good price. The second part of the mall is the jewelry market. It is the same size and has over 300 jewelry stores. Our guide showed us two stores one to buy pearls and one to buy jade which was good because the mall is overwhelming. Both have high quality merchandise for reasonable prices according to our guide it is about 1/6th the price you would pay in the US. China is best known for both pearls and jade. From as early as 3000 B.C. jade was known in China as 'yu', the 'royal gem'. In the Chinese empire, jade has always had a very special significance, roughly comparable with that of gold and diamonds in the West. We bought two small jade circle pendants one for me and one for Mia when she is older. We also bought Mia some pearls to give her for an important occasion maybe her wedding.
We got back to our hotel exhausted at around 6:15. However, we were pleasantly greeted in the lobby with a string quartet and a small orange drink (shot glass size). Mia was done for the day ... actually all four of us were. We ordered room service. They are all asleep and I better join them. Thank you for all of your e-mails and posts. We miss you.


Sooz said...

Sweet smiling faces! We are loving all of the pictures! Sarah Sue told me to make sure I tell you all Hello! She is reading everyday, but is computer challenged when it comes to posting a comment.
Maybe we should get all the men in our lives hacky sacks for Christmas this year.

csmac said...

Still enjoying the blog each morning but anxious to hear more when you get back. So glad you are beginning to feel on vacation. We miss you. Love you all. csmac

Tricia said...

Sounds like you'll have all your Christmas shopping done by the time you get home!! What a beautiful park....and what interesting people watching!! So glad y'all are having fun. Mia is the perfect fit for your family!!

Love you all - Tricia

Anonymous said...

You guys look so natural. I can't wait for you all to come home so we can meet that precious Mia.