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  • Marilyn Saltzman

A day of play

Today was a good day of play for the kids. They spent a lot of time in the morning in the hotel playroom where Selam had a great time rough housing with two sisters who were fluent in English and ? It sounded like an Indian or Muslim language and the girls were dark-skinned, dark-eyed beauties. They went back and forth seamlessly between the two languages, and I envied their bilingualism.

Heidi took Dian for his final medical check-up, and he passed the TB test – one step closer to final adoption. During nap time, Heidi and I did a little souvenir shopping. She wants to buy Dian enough Chinese gifts to give him one on each birthday until he’s 18. She did the same in Ethiopia for Selam. Of course, it would be easy to find “Made in China” gifts at home, but it wouldn’t be quite the same. We stopped at 7 Eleven – yes, they are in China and you can even get a Slurpee – to buy some groceries and enjoyed looking at the items they stock, which include lots of ramen noodle soup packets, dried fruits, potato chips in such flavors as meat and cucumber, and packages of chicken feet.

In the afternoon, we took the kids back to Yuexiu Park where they had a great time on the rides. They walked part of the way up the hill holding hands, then shared the stroller quite nicely for awhile. Yay! Dian particularly liked the spaceship ride, and fearless Selam wanted to ride them all. We had to say no to some that didn’t scare her but did scare us.

I took the evening ‘off’ and went on an optional excursion with some of the other families. We took a ‘cruise’ on the Pearl River and got a great sense of the cosmopolitan flavor of Guangzhou. I caught a quick glimpse of a restaurant (or bar?) called Brooklyn’s! We had a marvelous view of the city’s colorfully lit skyline, including the world’s second tallest building, a TV tower that is illuminated at night with ever-changing colored lights. Quite impressive!

The cruise included a Chinese buffet, and one notable cultural difference is that the Chinese don’t exactly wait on line the way we do. They rushed the buffet table, and one elderly gentleman kept trying to push ahead of us until we gave up and let him in. I’m not sure exactly what meat I ate, but I know I had some seaweed and on a dare, one mother tried chicken feet. Tastes like chicken! But she noted it was a lot of work for very little food.

After dinner, an elderly gentleman performed a brief magic show that included making water and eggs appear out of thin air. The loud 1950s music provided background sound as he silently performed.

I avoided using the facilities on the boat, but those who did noted they were Eastern style, which means you squat over a hole in the ground.

Truly another memorable cultural experience.

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