Sunday, September 16, 2007

Voodoo Salamander

We stopped at the Flower and Bird Market again at the base of Wushan mountain because we thought the kids would enjoy it and because they have a sword shop there that the boys really wanted to see.  Peter got some numchucks and Jack got a sword.  The hand made sword started out at 260 yuan and we bargained down to 120 - about $18 US.  The sword is hidden in the inside of a cane, with a quick release button.  Jack is so pleased! 

When we walked through all of the critters for sale, they boys could not pass up this salamander, who has now been christened, "Voodoo".  The shopkeeper gave us food for him and told us we could raise him to be more than 2 feet long, at which point we could eat him!  I'm not sure if we should use garlic or soy sauce.

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Next we went to Childrens' Park where we met our friends Enrique and Olga, and their 2 small boys Enrique Jr. and Sebastian.  This is a huge park with rides, pavilions for weddings, etc.

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We tried to stay with the safer rides as we had no idea what the maintenance of the rides would be.  They all looked fairly tired.  Here was a good example - basically an inner tube with a Honda outboard engine in the middle.  You could get yourself spinning pretty fast with that!  Enrique's smaller boy got out after a few minutes.

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Peter and Jack plotted their strategy on how to hit the other participants.

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"Aah, Jack! That was such a good  hit, let's do it again!"

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Sue says, "I can't believe they got us!"

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Enrique and his son plotting their revenge.  Watch out, Peter and Jack!

Hangzhou 045Enrique Jr. and Sebastian running through the fountain area.

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It's closing time so the water is off.  Peter and Jack are hoping that the water will come back on.

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We hit a few of the kiddie rides for the smaller kids.  Sophie loved them!

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... and so did Peter and Jack, though they would never admit it!

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Sophie's favorite question is, "Mommy, can I take my shoes off?"  She asks it in restaurants, restrooms, stores, etc.  The more disgusting the floor, the more she wants to take her shoes off!  Today we relented and let her go shoeless.  Then she found some mud or grease to play in so she is filthy!  Bathtime tonight!

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Of course she never has to go to the bathroom when we're at home with our nice clean bathroom.  She always has to wait until we're at the grosses squat potty for miles and then she has to go RIGHT NOW.  I've learned to hold my breath for 7 minutes. 

We found this big-boy ride that the boys enjoyed...

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The boys enjoyed themselves in all of the rides, though we avoided the ones that appeared to be the least maintained.  This is NOT Disneyland!Hangzhou 146

Sophie found these teenagers with a bubble blower, and she and Enrique went to play.

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... more scenes from Children's Park.

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The construction out our window is continuing.  The migrant workers that are working on the building are now staying inside the building in one of the vacant apartments.  They sleep in there all night with no curtains and the light on.  They are buddies that help each other out closely during the day and they even bathe each other in the evening.  It's kind of sweet!

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Thankfully the work seems to end around 10pm so it is quiet at night, at least! These guys work 7 days a week and at least 12 hour days. 

I also interviewed an "ayi" or "auntie" to help with cooking.  I think she would have worked out pretty well, but I just couldn't understand her.  She speaks a local Hangzhou dialect so she couldn't understand my Chinese and I couldn't understand her.  Our friend George helped us communicate but I couldn't see it working out for the long term so we're still looking!  I am hoping that I can find someone who speaks standard Mandarin so that I can practice at home, too.

It was very busy today, being the weekend, so cabs were hard to come by.  We went back to Indian food with our friends but no cabs were to be had so we walked, and walked.  Finally we came to a bus stop and hopped onto a bus.  The driver took pity on me and showed us where to get off after I told him the address.  The bus was very crowded - you're basically smashed up against everyone else so tightly that you know what they had for lunch but no one seems to mind very much.  Then getting off when the door opens is tricky if you're not near it so there's some crawling and shoving that goes on until you pop out the door.  It's a little extra stressful with 3 kids in tow.  The kids are having so many interesting experiences :)  .


Bob & Amy said...

You guys are amazing! Loved the photos. Can't wait to meet Voodoo. Julia is thrilled for you. The kids look so happy. You are doing a great job of exploring. So impressive! Keep up the good work & attitude. So exciting!!
Love, the Mahers.

Catherine said...

Looks like you're having a great time. Best not to look closely at ride safety - even at Disney