Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beijing, Continued

I’m acutely aware as we’re on this trip to China, that this we will probably not be coming back until Emerson is at least in high school. At some point, we would love to bring her, and Dane, Aidan, and Harper, back to see China. Brandon and I are trying to remember lots of little details about this trip, so that someday we can share everything we remember first hand with her. That to say, you may not be the least bit interested in all of the minute details of our experiences, I am mainly recording them to help combat the inevitable senility that I will be experiencing when all four of my children are teenagers.

Yesterday after our orientation meeting, we had lunch with our group, then boarded two big buses and braved the Beijing traffic to the Forbidden City. I would love to tell you exactly what the Forbidden City is. I’m sure it has lots and lots of historical significance to the people of China. Here is Mandy’s version (Emerson, if you are reading this 10 years from now, Mommy is sorry.)

Long, long ago, a man with a wife and a lots and lots of concubines decided he needed a big chunk of real estate right in the middle of downtown Beijing to walk around in so that he wouldn’t have to cross any streets and risk certain death at the hands of a man on a motorized scooter with a chicken coop strapped to the back, when all he wanted was a slurpie from the 7-11.

What did he need with that much space?

He had lots and lots of concubines. What do you think he did with all his time?

He must have spent hours just getting slurpies for all of them.

All of his servants lived inside the walls, too. The man wanted rock carvings made with stairs on either sides.

He didn’t have to climb the stairs, servants climbed the stairs and carried him over the rock carvings. Mommy thinks that when the man visited the Great Wall of China, he probably took his servants to carry him for when he got tired and the more ambitious of his companions wanted to climb to the highest possible point in order to prove their manhood.

The man also built some statues of lions,

and made signs to remind his staff not to touch anything.

Many, many red buildings were built by the man over many, many years, until one day he just kept walking, and walking, and, wondering if the never-ending stream of red buildings would ever end so he could go back to his comfy hotel already, finally stopped building them.

He built a big fence around all of the buildings, and didn’t let anyone else in because he just knew that if he did, they would want to climb inside his big cup statue.

After our little visit to the Forbidden City, we crossed an underground tunnel filled with uniformed, but unarmed, cops and military guards, to Tiananmen Square, where, according to our Communist-government educated tour guide, NOTHING WITH HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE EVER HAPPENED.

The square is famous because it is right next to the Congress building. Many Chinese tourists visit these places, as well as us white people waiting to pick up our adopted children, and several people asked to take pictures with people from our group. We took a big group photo here, and Chinese tourists were shoving their children in our group photo and taking pictures of us all.

After Tiananmen Square, we boarded the buses and headed to a Silk Factory, and I will attempt again to explain the process as my tired brain remembers it:

Step 1: Put the cocoons of silk worms in a giant machine and watch them dance around in water for a while. Every now and then, pull one out and shake it to see if there are one or two silkworms in it, because two is better than one.

Step 2: Separate the wet worm from its’ cocoon and toss it aside. Stretch the cocoon over a frame, and add several layers. Distract the tourists by all of the pretty colors in the room so they forget to take pictures of this step.

Step 3: Take the stretched out silk, and pull it in several different directions with very concentrated looks on your faces.

Step 4: Try to convince people from Houston that silk comforters are very cool to sleep under in the summertime. Fail miserably.

Step 5: Sell Americans with money to burn silk comforters. Then walk them into another room with lots of pretty colors, and try to get them to buy lots and lots of other stuff. Realize that Mandy is not going to buy anything in this country that she cannot haggle a better price for.

Step 6: Finally go back to the comfy hotel, climb into bed, and wonder how many other "sights" we will be required to see before we get our sweet girl!


Anonymous said...

You are probably never going to have a career as a diplomat.... Wait... You are DEFINITELY never going to have a career as a diplomat.
BTW... In your absence GG has decided that Jana is her favorite granddaughter, so she and Uncle Tom (I guess she is the favorite niece now too) drove up to see her in Canada or wherever she lives now... They drove right through Plano, about 3 miles from Lindy's house and didn't go by to see her. I am sure once you return with only the second great granddaughter things will once again assume their natural order.