Thursday, August 13, 2009
Two rough days
Gansu Provincial Museum. It is a beautiful building and had lots of interesting artifacts including the famous horse statue which is from Wuwei City (Max's home town). This is now the symbol of tourism in China. But it was not very appealing to the little ones. They got fussy so we went and set outside and had some ice cream and then went back to the hotel for a rest. When you look at the picture of Max eating his ice cream, it looks like he hated it. He did not. What we were trying to capture was that every time he took his bite, his whole body shivered from the cold of it. It was terribly cute! One of the most difficult things about the hotel that we're staying at is that it is nowhere near any open space. And, our children LOVE the outside. Specifically Max. If we are in the hotel room he is not happy. He is getting his shoes and hat and crying at the door. So, after our rest we walked. Keep in mind, we are not very good at crossing the street, so even that is limited. We walked around the block several times. We walked down to a tiny area with some exercise equipment that Ellie likes to play on. We walked down a street with a market type area and we walked down a street with what looked like a flea market. We then went back to the hotel to try and have an easy dinner. The restaurant a the hotel is the most Western dining establishment, so we thought it would be easier on a difficult day. They at least have some staff that speak English. It still isn't your typical western restaurant though. Often you don't get a drink with your meal and the meals are never delivered at the same time. It's very common that one or two people are done eating before the other's meals come. This can be tough when you have grumpy kids waiting on food. I wanted to truly experience China on this trip and I am getting my wish. And now I am done. Nothing is easy here and with two kids, one of whom is stubborn as all get out and the other who we haven't figured out yet, I just want something easy. After dinner we headed back to the room for bed. Wednesday didn't start out on the right foot either. Max woke up crying which woke Ellie up crying and she was in a funk all day long. We went to the Five Springs Park. It is a lovely old park up on a hill. Inside of the park is the zoo and also lots of old style carnival rides which Ellie loved. She rode in some little paddle boats first, and then we all rode on a miniature train. The train was tiny and Jason and I barely fit inside. It raced around a tiny little track all the while blaring Chinese children's music. We weren't sure it would ever stop. Finally it did and Ellie decided she wanted to ride the bumper cars. This went fine until we got hit front on and Ellie's seat belt failed to keep her from hitting the steering wheel with her head. She freaked out (mom was a little freaked too) and wanted to get off of the ride, but the operator couldn't understand us and we couldn't get our guides attention. Eventually we escaped the bumper cars and went off to explore and see the animals. This was very interesting. The zoo had been built many years ago and I don't think had been updated since. The animals were basically in cages with no trees or natural surroundings. Also, the cages didn't seem very secure. It would have been very easy for any interested party to climb into the cages with them. And, although there were signs up about not feeding the animals, it wasn't uncommon to see people throwing random food into their cages for them to eat. After the animals, Ellie rode another ride, this time a helicopter ride and then took a ride on a pony. She enjoyed all of this and then had some cotton candy for a treat. After this it was all downhill though. She couldn't stay quiet when Max was napping so she went to stay with grandma for awhile and while there threw a fit. We decided to have a snack and get out for a while to a local bookstore. We were trying to find some maps of the province for Max to have later and the guide had suggested this bookstore would have some in English. After traversing five levels of the bookstore we never found maps in English, but we did find some children's books including a Barbie book for Ellie that were in both English and Mandarin. We then went back to the hotel to try and eat again as we were all tired and a couple of us were having some stomach issues. This was a disaster. Both kids were hungry and tired and screaming in the restaurant. I ended up taking Ellie upstairs while everyone else finished dinner. Finally bedtime came and thankfully both kids fell asleep quickly and easily. We all needed a rest.