Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Mean to Say it Rains Around Here?

Katie is down for a nap right now, so I'll take this opportunity to update you vicarious world travelers. We were hoping to go as a group to Peoples' Park a few blocks from our hotel (everything in China is the Peoples' something or other), but we woke up in the night to thunder and lightning, and got up to a downpour. I guess I do remember hearing that this is the monsoon season around here.

We've had no rain since we arrived in China, so I have been lulled into thinking it's just hot and muggy. It's actually hot, muggy, AND rainy, with no cooldown after the rain. We're heading for a high of 90 today, 89 tomorrow, with ongoing 50% chance of thunderstorms.

National Geographic Magazine from May had an entire issue dedicated to China. You might not know that there's a building boom of unprecedented size in China right now. 1/3 of the world's steel is being used in China, one of the marks of their industrial expansion. One of the biggest banks in China is called the China Construction Bank (I kid you not).

Here in Guangxi province, they're a little backwards compared to Shanghai (China's largest and fastest growing city) and Beijing (the second largest and equally fast growing) and other cities to the north and east. They do, however, boast a gigantic Wal-Mart (the Mandarin pronunciation is closer to the original Arkansas version: "Woh-Mah"), McDonalds, and Pizza Hut (as previously noted).
Having not shopped at Walmart in MN for a long time, I have to confess my disappointment at being taken there by our guide, but it was a good trip after all was said and done. We bought bottled water, a 6 pack of Pepsi, a small plastic tablecloth (a play mat for Katie, since Soulmate is very suspicious of the floors around here), and a few other incidentals.

I’d like to take this time to introduce our friends and fellow adopters: I mentioned them in a post before we left, so you can go back through the archives if you like. These photos were taken yesterday while meeting with the notary and the Beiliu City orphanage director.

Here’s a photo of Gordon and Haruyo Wright, with their little 18 month old daughter Sumi:
Here’s the Ottenbreit’s new 9 year old daughter Thea.

Here’s the Peters’ new 7 year old daughter Sophia.

Here’s the whole gang together with the director of the orphanage, his assistant, and the head of the nannies at the orphanage.

We got a chance to ask the 3 officials from the orphanage about Katie’s habits while there, and all of them remarked on what a pleasant and easy-going baby she is. They also gave us the disposable camera that we sent to them, and we got the film processed today, along with a CD. I’ll post some of the photos tomorrow, after David tells us where each photo was taken. Many of them appear to be street scenes from around the orphanage. If we make the trip to Beiliu City tomorrow, we will probably see some of the places.

Today we may venture out to the souvenir shopping street, which I think is fairly close to our hotel, but this depends on how Katie feels about the whole thing. She has been very accomodating about most everything except mealtimes: when it's time to eat, it's time to eat NOW. The other thing that has been creeping up on us is that she hasn't, err, produced properly yet. Lots of wet diapers, but no dirty ones in a day and a half.

I'm a doctor, but it doesn't take a medical degree to figure out that what goes in has to come out again. Katie has been putting away formula, rice cereal, and congee like there's no tomorrow, and this morning it all caught up with her. After 2 bottles (before Soulmate and I had breakfast), she started getting fussy and arching her back and waving her legs around.

For those of you unenthused with the business end of babies, I suggest you skip this paragraph. I decided that medical intervention was in order, so after breakfast we headed back to the room after declining an offer from our guide to go to Walmart again (what's that about anyway?). I inserted a glycerin suppository, and we carefully applied her diaper, sealing off any possible leaks.

I have to say that Katie carried herself like a champion, enduring quite a bit of cramping (not to mention the indignity of having a suppository inserted) with only a little whimpering and crying. 20 minutes later, just like the jar said, the grand event occurred, complete with malodorous vapors and a lumpy mound under the diaper. 5 minutes after changing the foul nappy for a clean one, she was playing happily and grinning at us. I guess she decided that we weren't really up to anything nefarious, so all was forgiven.

It wasn't Mt. Vesuvius after all.

I am a little worried though: Katie got a silver bracelet from the director of the orphanage when we met him yesterday, and she keeps looking at it like a Hollywood starlet or Liz Taylor would. Soulmate herself is not at all averse to bangles and baubles, so it's likely that Katie's budding jewelry fetish will grow with time. Oh, my aching VISA card...

Actually, it’s a beautiful little adjustable bracelet in silver, which Chinese parents give their infant daughters. They are usually engraved with Chinese characters, as this one is. David translated them for us yesterday, the pinyin spelling is in parentheses: “forever” (yong), “life” (ming), “wealth” (fu), and “valuable” (gui). It is a wish for long life and prosperity, and it is our prayer for Katie.

1 comment:

John B said...

Steve and Beth,
Just so you know, Aimee and I have been viewing and reading and watching your BLOG almost everyday since you left. Fantastic journalism, my friend- might be a new career in your future! See you when you return!