The last couple of days have been a bit of a mix. Monday was a bright and early start for those of us who chose to sponsor our children (instead of citizenship) as we have to get a medical examination done of the child to meet Canada’s visa and immigration requirements. There were four families who went this route, so we got to head to the clinic while the rest of the group got some free time. The medical was no big deal at all. Mary is a little undersized (not uncommon) and she actually made it onto the charts for all of the height, weight, and head circumference – The same could not be said for her sister when we got her if you recall, so we are not too worried… :) She is in reasonably good health, so nothing else was required – One more thing checked off the list. We got to do a bit of shopping while the remaining kidlets were getting their exams done, so we picked up some more essentials for the hotel – Pringles (Numb & Spicy Hot Pot flavour – you must try if you get the chance :) … and some “regular” ones too).
The afternoon was a tour of the Summer Palace, which we opted out of because:
a) We had seen it before so we figured family naptime would be a good idea
b) It is by a large lake and it was very windy, so colds for the way home we were trying to avoid
Family nap time was a good choice, and with us all refreshed, we headed out into taxiland to get a cab over to Shea & Karla’s hotel to try and meet them for a little dinner. We did get a nice visit in and some impromptu Chinese dinner - We were shooting for a recommended Italian place, but some of us with the directions to get there were a little… what’s the word… inept… :) No matter, the Chinese was excellent so there were no complaints. Got them back to their hotel and we caught a cab back to ours (much easier if you have the concierge tell the cab driver where you want to go by the way – as opposed to the blank stares we usually got the last time around when we handed them the little cards…) Had to make it back to meet the tailor and see what 24 hours later looked like in the suit department. He and his assistant true to their word showed up at the room a little after 9:00 and had a surprisingly almost finished suit for me to try on. He continued to tweak and pin here and there to get some button placement, cuff lengths, and muscle the shoulders and chest into something that would fit, but after he had worked his magic and the assistant wrote down some of his yammerings, they were off again and the finished product would be available the next day… Impressive considering I am not the average stature that he gets to fit every other day.
Tuesday was another long one… We headed on a silk factory tour with the group – We did not have a chance to do this last time, so we figured that it would probably be a good one to catch. It was very informative and we got a chance to pick up the girls some nice Chinese dresses afterwards, which were in fact made of pure silk, which you may or may not find at the markets. Could have gone overboard with silk pillows, comforters, you name it, but we managed to restrain ourselves. After the silk factory was the Pearl Market for some more shopping – and some good, good bartering fun :). It was the same chaos as the last time we were here, but we knew how to duck and dodge the local sales staff to keep moving to stuff we wanted to see… Some of the group was not as fortunate and were continually hounded… You want bag? How ‘bout belt? You need wallet? Rolex? Very good price… :) What fun.
The shopping tour lasted a couple of hours… We did get lunch on it though, so it wasn’t all haggling all the time. We headed back to the hotel for a little downtime and a quick bite and were back on the bus to take in a Chinese Acrobatic show… I think we spent longer on the bus in traffic than the actual show was, but it was an excellent performance and the girls enjoyed it. Sylvie was a little out of sorts because of the loud music and gonging, but she enjoyed all the rest. Mary was pretty much done by the end, but also loved to point out what was happening on stage, so she must have been intrigued as well. The bus ride home was far less time because the traffic was lighter, so we got back and into bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.
Today we got to sleep in… What a treat that was to kind of roll out of bed around 7:45 or 8:00 (instead of 5:00 :( …) and the girls both were good until just about 8:00 as well. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with a few other families who also opted out of the morning’s tour (Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City…). All of it was also outside and a lot of walking, which it nicer weather would probably be alright, but we erred on the side of “kid comfort” today… Can never go wrong there :). We did head back to do some shopping for some things we saw yesterday, but were only out and about for around an hour and a half – so it was a nice low-key morning. Our goodbye China party is tonight, so all of the girls are sleeping behind me now to try so we can enjoy a little later evening with everyone at the party. And then it is tomorrow – Thursday – Our last day here :( I have mixed feelings about this as it is such a fantastic place with so much to see and do, but home is calling as well so we can get everyone back and start to settle in (and play the jet lag game again… YAY!) :( I can say that I will look forward to our getting home, but we will see what the plane ride has in store for us too… Only time will tell.
C & J & S & M
This is the White Pagoda - we did not get a chance to visit, but did get a look
I tried to get as many of the group in as I could on this tour shot... There are quite a few of us :)
In the stroller and ready for action...
How the silk gets unwound from the cocoon - Still very labour intensive but beats doing it by hand!
How tiny is silk anyway? One strand from one cocoon is this big, and will be about 1300 metres long... The cocoon is about the size of my thumb, so that is impressive!