We arrived in the city of Zhengzhou on Monday and it has been raining cats and dogs ever since. Which hasn’t made it real fun getting around the city! We were supposed to visit a few sites today, but they were all outside so we opted for a free day to hang out at the hotel, swim, and catch our breath. So I thought I would take the time to share some random thoughts about China- and one about the NFL.
1. Like many countries, traffic laws are a suggestion. Here in Zhengzhou, I counted 20 cars that through a light after it turned red. To cross the street, you have to get a critical mass of people and scooters who are willing to step out in front of the oncoming traffic at the same time in order to move like an amoeba across the street safely.
2. While the temperature is pretty fall-like here right now, the train and the local Wal-Mart are like saunas.
3. There are vacant cities everywhere. Not completely vacant, but everywhere we have gone we’ve seen 20-30 high rise buildings grouped together that are partially built and completely empty. It’s like a scene out of some post-apocalyptic thriller. In some places, these buildings form a city (or would form a city).
4. I know that there is diversity within China (different Chinese ethnic groups), you do not see a whole lot of non-Chinese diversity. This has made traveling fun as people are quick to pull out their cell phones and take pictures of the Americans- some even brave enough to stand with us while the picture is being taken.
5. Along with number four- Abbie is a hit here in China. People stop to watch her or will come to the store window to see her walk by. After being pretty shy about it, Abbie just smiles when she realizes she is being watched (and that people are taking her picture).
6. One of the funnier moments of our trip, so far, happened in the elevator of the hotel we are staying at. There was a Chinese couple in the elevator with us and he kept staring at Andrea- who was holding Malachi. Finally he said, “Isn’t he a Chinese baby?” To which we replied, ‘Yes, yes it is!”
7. In the Chinese culture, babies are kept well dressed- meaning multiple layers even when it’s warm outside/inside. This has been strange, especially when it’s warm, but we try to comply. In a few days we’ll be able to dress Malachi however we want. But we went swimming today with Malachi in the hotel pool. Not only did we all have to wear swim caps, but the hostess at the pool warned us that the pool was too cold for Malachi and that we should try to Jacuzzi. The pool was 80 degrees while the jacuzzi was over 100 degrees. They even came to check on us multiple times to make sure Malachi was ok in the pool. He did just fine!
8. Speaking of dress, children who are out of diapers where pants with slits in the back. When they need to go to the bathroom, they just squat and go. Even in public! We witnessed several examples of this at Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. The parents had bags to clean up the #2- which was a little too much like cleaning up after a dog.
9. Malachi is from the Henan Province- and the Henan Province is home to nearly 100 million people. The province is the birthplace of the Chinese culture and has a 3,000 year old history.
10. Construction on The Forbidden City, where we got to tour, was started in 1420, seventy years before Columbus arrived in the Americas.
We are at the halfway point of our China adventure. Tomorrow we fly to Guanzhou, where Malachi will receive a medical examine and apply for his visa to enter The United States. This weekend we get to reunite with three other families who are in different provinces receiving their children- and do some site seeing. We are told that there is a very good open air market and a Chinese children’s boutique in Guanzhou- so we hope to find some treasures to bring home!