Thursday, August 13, 2009

A better day (so far at least)

Max woke up this morning and didn't cry! Ellie woke up this morning on the good side of the bed! Everyone's stomach ailments seem to be improving! Could it be that this is going to be a better day! We got up, ate breakfast, and took a little walk down the block and then met our guide Rose in the lobby. Today, we went off to see White Pagoda Mountain. This is a beautiful temple at the top of a mountain. Both sides of the city are flanked by mountains. When we went to Five Springs Park yesterday this was in the mountains on the opposite side of the city. Our driver drove us to the top of the mountain where the temple is and we walked down. This was a very wise decision as it would have been a long walk up. The drive itself was interesting. I'm not sure we were really on a road, it seemed more like a trail, but there were other cars that we narrowly missed so it must have been a road. The temple itself is quite pretty. It is surrounded by Tibetan prayer flags, and a sacred tree, drum, and bell. Some people were burning incense and praying. Others were just sitting around having tea. There was a shop near the temple where two sisters were carving local gourds. These were quite amazing. Some of them that couldn't have been bigger than a baseball had thousands of Chinese characters or hundreds of peoples faces carved into them. We bought a small one for Max with a carving of a pig. He was born in the year of the pig. We then began the trek down this side of the mountain. The first thing we saw was an area where you could "walk on the water." It was kind of like a dirty pond where you could get inside an inflatable ball and walk around on the water. The juxtapositioning was amazing. There were several areas on the way down where you could stop and take pictures. It really was quite pretty. At the bottom there were statues of all of the Chinese zodiac sign animals. Jason, Ellie, Max and I all took our pictures with our animal. We still had a bit of energy after this so we asked our guide if she could take us to a park. Ellie has been dying to swing and slide. We didn't really find a playground, but we did find a beautiful park with more carnival type rides, a bouncy area, and a trampoline area with a slide. It was a good place for her to expend some energy. We then headed back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. No major break downs or kid decompensations along the way. It did take me a tearful hour to get Max to sleep, but he's asleep. Ellie is in Grandma's room getting some much needed one on one time, Jason is out looking at local furniture with Dr. Lu, and I'm finally getting a chance to catch up on the blog. Let's hope the second half of the day goes as well. Also, send some prayers our way. Our guide keeps saying she "thinks" she can get our notarized paperwork and Max's passport in time for us to catch our flight to Guangzhou tomorrow afternoon. We haven't asked what happens if she can't because we don't really want to know.

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