Monday, September 22
After the girls' naps yesterday, we decided to take a walk down the street from the hotel. We headed down the direction of the Ten Wang Pagoda again since we knew there was a good sidewalk and interesting shops along the way. By the time we got going it was getting dark, and it turned into a really lovely walk! This was the first time we had all ventured out alone in Nanchang, and we were able to get a real feel for the city. The street was lined with approximately seven or eight story buildings, with shops on the first floor of each building. It appeared that the shop owners lived above their stores, and then the rest of the buildings were apartments with very much laundry hanging out of windows and hanging in the trees! All the shops were completely open in the front, with large overhead doors that I'm sure they pulled shut late at night. The variety of shops included porcelain shops, small convenience stores, restaurants, artist studios, gift shops, a tire store and various other small businesses. I'm struggling to put the atmosphere of the city into words, because it was just so different from anything in America. Scott and I talked about how much people who grew up here must miss their culture if they moved to America, no matter how great our country is! Even though most of the shops were closed by now, there were still people everywhere. In the shops, and out on the sidewalk we saw people sitting at tables playing cards or checkers, or knitting, or families having dinner together. While there were signs of hardship everywhere, it was still a place you really wanted to be. Even amidst the big buildings and crazy traffic, there was a definite "Mayberry" feel to it - very peaceful. So how do you describe a city of 4 million that feels like small town Mayberry? People were very friendly and eager to try out their English on us. We had a little boy and girl, brother and sister, come running up to us, and say, "Hello, good evening, what's your name?" They followed us around for a little while, and kept on repeating the same phrases. They were SO cute, and you could tell they were so proud!
Finally we headed back to the hotel to eat, and decided to just make some oatmeal for dinner, which we had brought with us. Once again we tried to sneak in some prunes, and once again it didn't work. They didn't even like the oatmeal without the prunes in it! How arrogant of me to assume that everyone will like American food! Fortunately we had eaten a huge lunch, so the girls were fine with some dry cereal and a big bottle of formula, and they were off to bed.
This morning the plan was to have breakfast and then go back out to do some shopping. However, we saw Michele at breakfast and she said she would be dropping off all of the notarized adoption documents at 11:00, and the tailor was coming at 12:00 to drop off the clothes she had made for us. So much for shopping! That was fine though because we were excited to get our new Chinese clothes. She did indeed come with our clothes, and they turned out beautifully! Everything fits just right, just like she said. When she measured us she kept saying, " I make clothes for your body," and she was absolutely right! They are all so pretty, I can't wait to have everyone's picture taken in them. Now we just need to find a place to wear them! I've also decided that I get way too attached to people way too quickly! First of all, we have all fallen in love with Michele, and want so bad for her to come back to America with us! But not only that, the tailor was so darn cute and sweet, I'm going to miss her terribly too! I just pray that somehow, someday, all our paths will cross again.
Today ended up being another granola bar lunch day, and then we did get to go out and do some shopping. That ended up being way more fun than I had imagined! With all our blonde hair, we must really be a novelty here, because I felt like the pied piper walking down the street! Groups of people would actually follow us down the street, and at times small crowds of people would stand outside the stores and watch us shop! Again, I have to say you can't imagine how friendly people are here. Everywhere people would smile at us and sometimes give the thumbs up sign to us. They love the babies, and would come over to look at them and talk to them. Amazingly, we did just fine with the language barrier. I was a little nervous at first, to be shopping without being able to speak the language, but we managed to communicate just fine and everyone seemed happy!
We ended up with plenty of shopping time after all, and then walked back to the hotel for dinner. Afterward, Scott, Alex, Anna, Emma and I decided to go back out for one more quick walk over to the Pagoda, so we could get some pictures of it at night. It's absolutely beautiful when it is all lit up at night. I've posted a picture of it, along with some other pictures of the Ten Wang Pagoda, on a new page on the website (www.precario.com/annaemma/china.htm). Back at the hotel it was time to start packing again, for tomorrow we leave for Guangzhou. I'll miss this place, especially Michele, but I'm glad to be moving on to the next leg of our journey!
Terri, Scott, Bill, Alex, Katie, Rianne, Anna and Emma