Greetings friends and family,
So the secret agents met with the parrot (I guess I should explain that these animals are all puppets controlled by William) this morning and found out that he was only stealing the cell phones because he wanted to call Brazil and let his family know he was okay. The poor parrot had be captured by poachers and taken to Shenyang, where he escaped. The kids got about half of what was going on I think.
The finale of the act was when Nathan ate the crackers that were originally intended for the thieving parrot. The crackers were laced with sleeping powder, which was supposed to keep the parrot from flying away and escaping. But Nathan at them, fell asleep, and had to be dragged out by Emily.
A bit later in the morning we all took the kids out on a sort of picture scavenger hunt. The teachers took their cameras and got pictures of the kids posing as animals in different scenes. We got some good shots. I really like the pictures I got of ‘parrot sitting talking to kids’ and ‘lion stalking deer on the grasslands.’
Then at 11:45 a.m. I joined up with a company culture tour. Several of who are new to the company were taken to a couple places in Shenyang for sightseeing.
We first went by a museum, but the line to get in stretched forever that day, which I understand is unusual. So instead we went to Shenyang’s Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is the palace occupied by the emperor’s when Shenyang was a major capital, and then, after the capital was moved to Beijing, used whenever the emperor or government officials came north for inspection. I was a beautiful place, and kept in very good condition. Almost too good; I know they used bright colors originally, but the paint they use now is too bright, with a fake looking sheen to it.
Next we visited the home of the last warlord to control northeastern China. Those buildings and houses were also very well kept, and more modern, dating to the time just before the Cultural Revolution in China.
While we were at the warlord’s house we acquired a Chinese photographer taking pictures for a tourist magazine. Amber, who just got to China about a week ago, is a blonde from Cincinnati, and it was my impression that photographer focused a lot on her. I didn’t stick as close to the group, and inadvertently avoided most of the photos, but I was aware that he snapped a few of just me, taking the risk of breaking his camera. Which was I know was a nice camera; by coincidence, we were both wielding Nikon COOLPIX P-80’s.
Then we visited the giant statue of Mao Tse-tung. It is tremendous, positioned in the middle of a round pavestone courtyard inside of a huge roundabout. Mao’s arm points of Beijing, and he is surrounded by smaller figures (though still twelve feet tall themselves), each representing a minority in China. It was a magnificent sight, no denying that.
Then we stopped by Starbucks. I wasn’t so pleased with this. To me, Starbucks is everything the world should be avoiding until we’ve fixed all other problems. Capitalism at its worst, and China could do with a bit less of that.
Then we went to a restaurant and joined nearly everyone else I know here for a huge meal. The restaurant is owned by a Chinese believer, and he uses it as an outreach. I don’t know who ordered the food, but there was much more than plenty to go around. We all sat around one giant table (actually several tables pulled together, but the effect was the same). At my end of the table were Benny, Nathan, and myself. Nathan and I were casually competing to eat the most, and Benny was encouraging us. Afterwards, when I got home, I was quite miserable. And I brought home six small boxes of food. So much good food.
Day 14 – Saturday
I spent my morning finishing my recovery from the over-indulgence of Friday night, reading, and doing laundry.
In the afternoon I set off to bike to Carrefour, the Chinese equivalent of Wal-Mart. I needed to buy my own meat for Benny’s surprise birthday party that afternoon. It was the least dangerous biking I’ve done so far, as I was able to travel most of the way on the sidewalk.
At Carrefour, I ran across Kiera and Benny, who were there on a twofold purpose. Both to acquire their food beef for the birthday party, and to do the shopping for the welcome package for a new family. So I stuck with them as they crisscrossed the three story store.
I would like to not that I have seen no evidence of Nerf-guns in China. Water guns all over the place, but no Nerf-guns. I had hoped to find some Nerf-guns that perhaps could not be found in America, but it seems that I am out of luck.
After making our purchases, Kiera and Benny and I parted ways. I set out once again upon my bike, and disaster quickly struck. Apparently the bike I have is not meant to be ridden with the style and energy of a twenty-year old man. I steered/leaned/pedaled/something too aggressively and my back wheel slipped where it attaches to the frame, allowing the chain to slip off. I was left without power. So I stopped, determined I couldn’t fix it, and so walked it back home, where along the way I knew I would find a bicycle repairman. They’re all over, but I knew where to find this particular one. He only charged me one kuai to fix it.
Then I went straight to Nathan and Emily’s for the party. Benny was very surprised when he arrived. Much fun was had by all. We talked, and laughed, and played Mario Kart. Rachael and Amber gave Benny a scorpion they named Daisy Sue Fong.
I'll update on Sunday tomorrow along with Monday.
Because I must...