March 19, 2012

China Day 11 - Qing Ping and Pearl Markets

At 10:30 am, I went back to the physical exam office to have Autumn's TB test read. She passed. That took 10 minutes to go through all the families, but the bus ride took over 1.5 hours. I made the mistake of sitting in the front row of the bus, so Autumn could see. OMG. That girl is crazy. There is no muscle in her body that sits still, unless she just woke up or was adopted within the last two days. I had to use all my muscles to contain her. I had brought the stroller because I knew I would need it for when we got out of the bus, but didn't consider how I would contain her on the bus. Connie, the guide, said I wouldn't need the stroller inside because it would be quick. Whatever. I've known this girl for a week - I needed the stroller inside.

After the test results we went back to the hotel and had ramen in the room. No time for her to take a nap before we re-boarded the bus for shopping at 2 pm. But we had the stroller, so we figured she'd sleep in it. We took the bus, with the group, to Shamian Island. This is where the famous White Swan hotel is, where we stayed when we adopted S and J, but is currently being refurbished. We reminisced.

We crossed over the highway, on foot, to the Qing Ping Market (gosh, I think that's what it's called, I'm too lazy to get out of bed right now to check). It was a long street of stores that poured out onto the sidewalk, selling all kinds of crazy items. We saw dried seahorses, dried snake skins, with the heads still attached, live bowls of scorpions, dried leg bones, with the paws still attached, and other fun things you never see in the US. There were also cats and kittens everywhere. Clearly they haven't watched The Price is Right, and heeded Bob Barker's advice, because the cats weren't spade or neutered.

live scorpions for sale

Your guess is as good as mine. Cobra heads?
Whatever they were, some were in glass cases

Bundles of centipedes

The next block was all pets. Pet food, aquarium things, fish, kittens, birds, puppies. They were so cute. I wouldn't let the kids touch any of them.

Then we walked down a pedestrian mall area that resembled Times Square with the giant lights and megatron tv, but with no cars - this is the only place in China with no cars. It was so crowded. I leaned over to a woman in our group and said, "I wonder what its like on a weekend."

Then we entered the Pearl Market. This was a mall about the size of Mall of America, that sold beads. For someone who doesn't really wear jewelry, I could not think of anything more boring. We all whined. We asked the guide if there were any toy stores and she said there were some in the next building. We headed out, but we only found more beads, and then some more beads. All I could see were beads on the horizon. This was equivalent to my mom taking me to the Williamsburg pottery factory when I was 8. I still have nightmares about that trip.

With no luck finding toys, we went back to the group and with a few other families, decided to walk back to the island and wait there, while the other families took the bus. There were some families having jewelry made and they were still on their first store. There was a birthday party planned for when we got back to the island, so Connie said we would meet at the island at 5 pm. We got back and waited... At 5:15 the kids had had enough (Steve is included in the kids here) and we opted to go to Lucy's, with another family, for dinner instead of waiting for the cake. I felt badly for ditching the party (it was for one of the little girls who was just adopted - she was turning 9), but my whole family was going Mr. Hyde on me (Paige, I stole that term from you). Plus, we really had no idea how long they would be. Well it turned out they arrived at 5:20. I'll let you know if we're shunned from the group, when we visit the zoo today.
We walked to Lucy's and enjoyed some good ol' American non-fast food. We sat outside under an umbrella and lights, with music playing in the background. There was a playground right behind the restaurant, so the kids were able to play before we ate. Someone joked, "This is great. I don't even feel like I'm in China."

After Lucy's, we did some shopping at Jordon's store. We bought a few trinkets. Sheehan bought a snake-like puzzle and Josiah bought a wooden sword with Chinese writing on it. I asked the woman what it said, and she said, "# 1 Kung fu boy."

Then our family of 5, piled into one of the Smart Car cabs, and went back to the hotel. We decided to have donuts as our treat for dinner. This will be a hard habit to break when we get home.

Today, we're off to the zoo.

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