Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday, Nanning China

Yesterday Katie discovered a place that makes good coffee near our hotel, and it was appreciated by all. Today, I rose early and walked for coffee at roughly 7:30 AM and there were what seemed to me more people on the streets then I remembered any other day at any other time. Remember that Nanning is a "small" city with only 8 million people.

Sarah ate more for breakfast this morning than she has for any other meal thus far, she is a very dainty and delicate eater. She is particularly neat and likes to keep everything very tidy. Katie let her hair out of their braids for the first time last night and braided her hair again this morning, she is so cute. I truly look forward to your opportunity to meet her, her laugh is infectious and she has loads of energy (look out Luke!).

Today we went to Green Hill park, the tallest hill in Nanning, roughly 200 meters above downtown. It is a beautiful, lush landscape of tropical plants and palms, with large lawns, ponds and walking trails. There are also some sculpture gardens the first one we stopped at is dedicated to the Chinese Calendar, with a different animal dedicated to every twelfth year. Sarah and I share the year of the Pig, Meg is the year of the Monkey, Katie is the year of the dog, et cetera. This garden was beautiful and the carvings are incredible, lots and lots of granite carvings throughout the park. You could easily spend an entire day in this park. There is a newly finished Buddhist Temple at the top of the hill, a 9 story pagoda with a man playing a snake skin lined "banjo" like instrument. Ponds loaded with Coy, a restaurant, a Taiwanese temple as Nanning is a "sister" city for Taiwan residents.

fish fighting for food

We fed the fish, as you can see was an absolute feeding frenzy. I mean frenzy in the sense that fish would wind up stuck above water on the backs of other fish as people would throw food. Fish would leap out of the water and splash the water like crazy. While feeding the fish Meg made some new friends on what would be considered a reunion of sorts, I will allow her the opportunity to share her story. They were super nice folks and sang "We are the World" for her and also spoke very highly of Michael Jackson.

glasses on head

We then hiked to the top of the pagoda for a view overlooking all of Nanning. At the top is where we met a man playing music for Yuan, who was pleasant and kind. He handed me his instrument and pick and expected me to play music, I strummed a few awkward cords for a small crowd that assembled. As you may imagine I do not resemble ANYONE else around here, and often times cause quite a stir. Today, we were all asked to pose at different times to have our pictures made with folks at the park. Everyone we have encountered has been so very pleasant, and if anyone knows any English they really want to share it with you.

Katie with the Dogs

As I scribe this letter, the salon mentioned in earlier notes (Amethyst) has allowed me to connect my laptop to their network. That may not sound like a big deal, from here it sure feels like one as "cloud software" and email programs, combined with the versions of software on the machines they run here do not play very well together. That's a lot to say, that I very, very much appreciate their hospitality. I am expecting Katie, Sarah and Meg any minute as today is the day Katie can have her hair washed after having her straightening treatment done. We are cautiously optimistic Sarah will allow them to wash and braid her hair, fingers are crossed.

Meg & Sarah with the Monkeys

It is hard to believe tonight is our last night in Nanning. Tomorrow, we will pick up Sarah's Chinese passport and fly to Guanxo. In Guanxo we will reconnect with the families that we met in Beijing as well as the families we have met here in Nanning.

Dave, (Katie, Meg & Sarah)

Sarah walking tall

Tall Pagoda


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