Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Tribute to Better Internet (with pictures)

Orphanage update: as was perhaps inevitable, I have fallen in love with the children at the orphanage. They are growing up so quickly! Only a couple could walk when we first started going, but now about half of them can walk around, especially with help.

One of my favorites is a little boy who almost never shows any emotion. He never smiles, except that I have figured out if you tickle the bottom of his feet he will just barely crack a smile. Generally though, he sits back and observes what is going on around him. His very serious, pensive mannerisms have led us to nickname his the “little old man” “xiao lao ren,” in Chinese.

My absolute favorite though is a little girl who will be all smiles and laughter if you tickle her. If you smile at her, she will always grin back. She is so adorable – I have to be careful not to play favorites with her. I never used to understand how a couple could choose a child to adopt – how could you choose between so many children? And how would you know which one to choose? But now I think I understand. Don’t worry! I’m not going to bring back a baby from China. I will miss them all though when I go.

More on food: (an integral part of Chinese culture - apologies if I seem like I talk about it too much.) I have tried both silkworms and a fresh coconut, and I must say, the latter tasted much better. The silkworms were stir-fried, I think, and tasted salty and crunchy on the outside, and kind of bread-like inside. Not great, but not completely disgusting either. Given a choice between that and starving to death, I would survive.

Fresh coconuts though are fantastic - I quite recommend them. First I drank out all the juice, then I dropped it to break it open and eat the meat. Not terribly exotic, but I was delighted.

While I'm making very un-Chinese recommendations for your palate, let me recommend a british mini-series for your free time. I have been watching Planet Earth for a few weeks now, and I can't say enough about it! I feel like a hippie after watching an episode, because I'm always so in love with our world - it's such a cool place! Again, not very Chinese, except for the (probably) pirated status of my friend's DVD.

Below are more pictures from my bus tour. We visited a beautiful park, and saw lots of Chinese people doing recreation. It's another custom we really should import.

Here are a group of people being led in song. You'll notice in all my pictures, that the people participating in the activities are adults, very different from what you'd see at most parks in the US.

Here is a group of people playing a Chinese version of hacky-sack. They're extremely good at it!

Here is a father teaching his son some sort of martial arts. In the background you can kind of see some people practicing Tai Qi - also very common in Chinese parks. If I get up and run in the morning, I always see people (generally elderly) practicing Tai Qi around campus.

As you can see, the park was very picturesque. We didn't have time to rent paddle boats, but they looked fun.

This is a phone card that a friend of mine bought, and once I saw it, I had to take a picture. The panda character is one of the 2008 Olympic mascots. To be fair, it's probably just illustrating one of the shooting events/competitions. Probably.

1 comment:

Toni said...

Hi Melissa, from rainy Canberra!! Yes finally some rain, we have had two weekends of rain and expect more showers the rest of this week. Dafydd had to mow the lawn last weekend. we are off to day on a new public holiday that is supposedly for families but it's the same day as the Melbourne Cup - a horse race that the nation stops to watch.

Your blog makes for a great read, it sounds as though you are making the most of your time and experiencing many different things. Far more different experience to staying with us - plenty of US type food and TV!!

Off for a picnic today I think if the weather holds - Dafydd and Sian are off rowing should be home soon. Take care and keep up the gret bloggs!