On our Saturday outing, we went to the Xixi Wetlands, west of Hangzhou, The Wetlands were started in the Han and Jin dynasties and have gone through periods of prosperity and disrepair throughout history. They're now in a period of prosperity again as the total area of the Xixi Wetland is now about 10 square kilometers. This wetland is rare because it integrates urban and natural wetlands into one whole, and it is the first national wetland preserve in all of China.
We climbed onto a battery powered tram to see the sights. The rear-facing seat was extremely popular with the kids!
There were many new trees planted along the banks of the waterways, as well as bamboo forests under cultivation.
There were many workers cultivating the wetlands...
And what is a wetland for tourists without many shops to sell wares in? The first shop we saw sold an artistic array of fans and parasols.
Sue and the kids on a bridge over one of the estuaries...
There was a demonstration area for dragon boat carving. Here are a couple of heads getting ready for the bow of a boat.
... and one that is almost complete!
Peter, showing us his pearly whites next to the bow of a dragon boat.
There was also a bamboo basket weaving demonstration, though the boys didn't think they needed to partake. In addition, some very intricate stitch-work for sale, shown below right.
The boys were much more interested in climbing the pagoda to see the wetlands and village from above.
Here's Sue at the top, trying not to look annoyed as Jack just kicked a can off of the top of the pagoda, about 4 stories high, into the crowds below. JAAAACCK!!
Jack was so good with Sophie today. Here he is helping her as she "levitates" off of the step, and giving her a piggy-back ride.
Cute! What a good big brother.
There was lots of room for Sophie to run around which she really loves, though she can be tiresome to keep up with! There were no other Westerners around so we definitely received a lot of stared from the other Chinese tourists.
Here's the biggest tree for miles around with the pagoda we climbed peaking through the trees.
Gratuitous flower shot...
Sophie started playing hide-and-seek with the boys. Here she is "hiding" by standing off the path and closing her eyes. Do you see her?
We took a relaxing boat ride on the waterways there, but it was less relaxing due to the fact we paid tourist prices for it, about $35 US for the 5 of us to go. Highway (or waterway) robbery! But how could we resist seeing the gorgeous scenery of the wetlands any other way?
Peter and Jack hanging out on the boat...
... and Peter, helping to carry the snack bag!
Today is our 100th day in China! So, we had to get a picture of the 5 of us together to celebrate the occasion. We've had our share of challenges but we're doing great.
A couple of commenters had asked about the weather: It's definitely getting cooler, about 50 degrees at night and high 60's during the day, but still very pleasant. We had to buy a space heater for our apartment since our heat is still turned off due to construction.
Someone also asked about Thanksgiving. It will be a normal workday for us on Thanksgiving so we will have our normal Thursday routine: Sue will go to work, and I will bring the children to school and have my day off doing lesson plans for the next week. For dinner that night we will likely go to a Western hotel to see if we can score some turkey. We'll see!