Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears... and FISH!!!

What a day!!!!
I am exhausted! And we are also doing a mighty fine job of exhausting out the young'un too! Hah!

Yesterday was a free day so we went sightseeing. Did I mention that China is Big? We went to 2 places. TWO. All day, it took!

First, Thank God for The Wonderful Driver from MGF Lilly because he was at our beck and call.

First stop was The Temple of Heaven where the Emperor worshiped Heaven and asked for bountiful harvests, complete with gigantic fire burning urn thingies, Buddhist shrines, and an altar for animal sacrifices. Not only did they use a fatted calf, but also a completely shaved and hairless calf. I can't imagine. We are also talking about a time in history where the USA was not even a glint in Columbus's eye - maybe the Vikings but they did know it was the USA.

Anyway, it was Beautiful. The skies were bluer above the Temple of Heaven than the rest of Beijing. In keeping with the BIG theme, these places were always compounds, not a single building. The shape of the grounds, the colors, the plants all have some symbolic meaning. Of course I took about 300+ pictures. There is also the Echo wall. If you stand next to it and talk quietly, you can hear what another person is saying (even if they whispered) at the far end when they speak toward the wall. We know this because we tested it. :o). The wall is a circle and supposedly, the stones are so tightly mortared that a single strand of hair cannot fit into any space. And the water slushes right off like it's almost waterproof. Amazing. And of course, Joseph and JJ did their requisite pao bu (run) around the complex to inaugurate their first visit as Baba and Erzi (father and son).

Then off to Lunch. Noodles!!! YUMMY! Beijing Noodles - King of Noodles was a typical noodle house with lots of tables, everything in Chinese, lots o' smokers, chairs everywhere, and total mayhem. They had the best chajangmyun I've ever had outside of Korea. I am always in search of good chajang. Myun is "noodles" in Korean which is similar to "mein" in Chinese. I have no idea what Chajang means. Joseph also had the best shrimp and peanuts ever. There was also fried eggplant with meat served with a spicy powder for dipping, veggies, chinese plums the size of gingko nuts, cucumber, etc. Let me say that JJ ate A LOT!!! LOTS O' NOODLES! Poor kid. When we get home he will have LOTS O' RICE! Noodles are a pain to make. LOL.

We rolled out of lunch and onto to the zoo. Turned out that JJ has been to the zoo with his school. We saw lots of field trip classes with all the kids in all ages and sizes dressed in matching warm up suits. Pretty funny. It's this way in Korea, too. And more flags and more same-colored hats.

I hate zoos. Hate Them. Animals, cages, imprisonment, all manner of unnatural things. I get so upset! I was doing pretty well until we walked into the lion exhibit and saw the first concrete cell. Back outside in a hurry. I was So. Upset!

Then we found out there was an aquarium!! I love aquariums!!! I love the fishes. But the Coral and Jellyfish exhibits are my favorites. JJ was more interested in the sharks. And Joseph's mother was noticing all the Fish Lips! LOL!!

We saw the dolphin show which was kinda dull because they only spoke Chinese and the animals only did a few tricks. I am sure the moderator was telling jokes because the audience was laughing. Even MGF Lilly. But I didn't think it was so funny.

Then off to the gift shop. Note to self: Never get Green Tea Gelato in China. And there were NO HATS OR T-SHIRTS!!! What kinda aquarium doesn't have hats and shirts??? Whatever. JJ picked out a snow globe with a light for himself. He loves anything that lights up. So funny.

Afterwards we went to some very famous and delicious seafood restaurant with MGF Lilly and HerGF (didn't get the name - Chinese) and we had the best, most interesting, delicious, formal-ish Chinese dinner ever in the world. How's that for a superlative??

We had a live lobster. Sashimi. Yup. Came to the table wiggling. Got taken back to be put into our soup. Gives new meaning to the word "fresh.". Yup. Yup yup yup. And the look on Joseph's mothers, JJ's and my friend H's face was priceless. PRICE. LESS. That alone made the whole thing worth it. And if the lobster knew, he would have been glad to give his life in such an inhumane and tortured way, just so that we could get the priceless looks on their faces. Ahem. Yup.

We also had fresh steamed fish, lots of veggies - and none of them stir fried! Short ribs. Sashimi. Tofu with crab and corn. (YUMMY). More tofu. More fish. Things you can't get outside of Beijing! Lobster soup. (Poor Lobster.) A Korean-ish salad with some red beans. Eggplant and bokchoy still sizzling. More and more.

At dinner, JJ told us that he smoked, drank, and had all the cola he wanted while he was at the orphanage. Yah. All that just to get a coke with dinner, which he did not!

Ok. That's it for the sightseeing portion. When we got back to the fang jin (room), JJ was trying to tell us something. He kept pointing to the dictionary that Yili (rhymes with Lilly) gave us. He kept repeating, going from me to baba who was at the computer. With his lisp and our limited Chinese, you can just imagine. Anyway, Joe looked up a word, played it on the computer, and JJ started clapping and saying "Dui dui dui" (right right eight). Turns out he was asking "how do you use the dictionary?" It also turns out he was just asking us because MGF Lilly found out he already knows how to use it. Whatever.

The thing we noted was his persistence, his ability to understand and adapt. The way he is so patient without getting frustrated in the least. And his happiness when we, his mama and baba, can understand him. We hit the jackpot, I think.

Oh and it was the day that he told me he loves me.

Tomorrow is another day.

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