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  • Marilyn Saltzman

Saturday in the Park

We found Central Park, Far East style, in Guangzhou today. Yuexiu Park is a large, popular, tree-lined park with sculptures; a lake with a pagoda-style bandstand on a center island; lush, well-manicured gardens; a swimming pool; playground — and even a small amusement park. And there were added cultural bonuses: women dancing with red feathered fans; a man playing a wooden flute on a stone balcony overlooking a small pond; goldfish of various sizes and colors in a series of ponds; a group of older women performing Tai Chi at the top of a long staircase; and a co-ed group in elegant motion playing what looked like a combination of badminton and Tai Chi.

Although the park is just across from our hotel, the traffic is so insane that it’s perilous to try and cross the streets, though a few brave souls do. Instead, we took underground tunnels that also lead to subway stations to make our way safely to the park. Robin and I took Selam when Heidi and Dian went to the clinic for his visa-required medical tests. It was very hot and humid, and we were drenched with sweat by the time we got back to the hotel, but we all enjoyed it. We rented a little motor boat on the lake, and Selam loved the carousel and other kiddie rides at the amusement park. She couldn’t wait to tell mama about it.

Our hotel has a great little playroom for the kids, and Selam and Dian were able to burn off some energy this afternoon throwing balls to (or at) each other, playing with giant Legos and chasing each other around the room. It felt a lot safer than running around the hotel room with all the furniture corners and doorways. I suggested they build a rubber-walled room at home. Dian seems to be a night person, and that’s when he really gets lively, starts laughing and talking and interacting with Selam.

We had an enormous buffet dinner that included made-to-order sushi, cooked-to-order seafood (the shrimp were gigantic!), great salads (my favorite was octopus), curries, pastas and much more. I don’t know if I’m gaining weight or burning it off by running after kids and sweating from the humidity.

I am writing this at 9 p.m., and I can still hear the kids singing and talking as Heidi tries to get them to settle down. The three adults sure sleep soundly each night after a day with two toddlers!

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