Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 7 - Summer Palace & Temple of Heaven

Rain, Summer Palace & Temple of Heaven (short version)
~Summer Palace
~Dodging umbrellas
~Princess Ladybug
~Temple of Heaven
~Kung Fu Show!
~Clear skies

Rain, Summer Palace & Temple of Heaven (long version)
The weather today decided to throw something totally new into the mix… rain! So, on top of all of the heat and humidity, we now had to try to dodge thousands of umbrellas. It was crazy. But, all wasn’t bad because we received a new tour guide today, a really nice man named Jerry. Now, for those who do not know, my father’s name is Jerry, and he passed just over a year ago on June 22. When we came to China almost four years ago to get the Ladybug, he and my mother traveled with us. My mother is here again with us for this trip, and we fondly remember how fun it was to have him here as well last time. Each day brings us lots of laughter and a little sorrow in wishing that he was here with us again to enjoy this trip. So, when we met our guide today and learned that his name was Jerry, we all felt a sort of peace and happiness come over us. We knew instantly that my dad is here with us, in spirit… enjoying every single moment.

Today’s journey took us to two beautiful places, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. However because of the rain, both places were rather difficult to see and enjoy thoroughly. Fortunately, we did have the opportunity to visit both places the last time we were here so we do have some amazing photos that we took then to look back on fondly. As soon as we arrived at the Summer Palace, we had to slither our way in through hundreds of other tourists while dodging all of their umbrellas. We had one heck of a time trying to make our way through the first few stages of the Palace, but we eventually made our way to a less crowded area near the lake. As we walked around the side of the lake, we noticed a few boats mading their way back to shore as the rain came pouring down even harder.

Soon we made it to a familiar place, the “Royal photo place.” Last time we were here we all dressed in ancient, royal Chinese clothes and had our pictures taken. We had so much fun the last time that we wanted to do it again, but this time with the Ladybug. The ladies inside dressed her up and took some photos. She looked absolutely darling, just like royalty. We are so happy to have the photos, another special memory of our trip to China.

We eventually made our way out of the Summer Palace and were taken to a nice Chinese lunch. Following lunch we went to the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven is one of my absolute favorite places to visit while in China. I love the architecture, the grounds, and I especially love the people. Young and old go there to “play.” We saw people playing badminton, a form of hacky sack, miscellaneous card games, board games, and “Go,” while others knitted and painted and meditated. It is at the Temple of Heaven where I love to see Chinese people just being themselves and enjoying life. I could spend hours just wandering around taking photos, but we unfortunately had a schedule to follow so I could only take a few photos. I didn't capture nearly what I had hoped to this trip. None-the-less, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time there and hope to spend some quality time there again in the future.

Following the Temple of Heaven, we were taken back to our hotel to relax for a little bit before an amazing night of Kung Fu. The show is called “Chun Yi, The Legend of Kung Fu.” It tells the story of a little boy who becomes a Xiaolin monk. He is on a journey of self-discovery and eventually learns enlightenment. The kung fu throughout the performance is absolutely amazing, and the visuals are spectacular. The Ladybug loved the program, and was so impressed to see young boys doing, “kung fu and flipping on their heads.” It really was extraordinary. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted so I couldn't take any photos. Just the memories will have to suffice.

One of the common children's garments in China is something called split pants. All of my friends from the adoption community are very familiar with them, but for those who aren't let me give you a brief description. Split pants are regular pants that children wear, but around the "private" area and down part of the inner leg is a hole. The hole does serve a purpose... for the children to go to the bathroom easily. I remember seeing several children wearing split pants on our first visit to China almost four years ago, and this trip is no exception. What is quite cute though is that the little kiddos have absoutely nothing else on underneath the pants. So, basically you get to see everything that would normally be covered. Honestly, it is quite a site, at least for us Americans. What is even funnier (at least from our perspective) is seeing these children, when they have to go to the bathroom, just squatting right there on the ground. Often, parents will try to hold the child next to a tree or bush, but not always. the kids go just about anywhere. This is definitely a big cultural difference that we are not used to, but interesting to see anyway!

We are now back at the hotel, getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we are off to the Great Wall. Only four more days and we will have the baby Butterfly in our arms. Getting closer!



Kelly T said...

Even with Rain it looks like you had a wonderful day!! ;-) Loving the updates, thanks for taking the time to share the Journey with us back here in the States!

Courtney said...

Sounds like a good day. What a special story about your new tour guide. Those split pants crack me up!

asian~treasures said...

Seeing your pictures continue to bring wonderful memories back to us!

Enjoy these last few days...soon, you'll be mommy of 2!!

Sheri, David, Micah & Adria

Mei Mei s and Mayhem said...

Glad to see you made it safely!! Lovin all the pics!!