Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

DAY 8: The Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi

Click for Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Forecast
Yay! Toñito slept the whole night!! He also ate oatmeal congee and watermelon at breakfast. Today we slowly learned that we should not be offering so much food to Toñito. He gets so excited, and tried to eat it all, but then has to spit it back out because his stomach can't hold so much. Wow, that only took us about 20 times of spitting food out to figure it out- I'll blame it on our lack of sleep!

After we ate, we went walking to a nearby supermarket (I told you I love supermarkets!) and wandered around taking pictures until Toño got in trouble:). Toñito loved picking out yogurt drinks and fruit and hugging it the whole way through the store. He started to call Vivi her name, and frequently says "xie xie mei mei, or mama, or baba"... though he calls all of the dads here baba and all of the moms mama... We're slowly teaching him that there is only 1 mama and baba:). At least he knows there is only 1 Vivi! And he does get sad when either Toño or I leave, so at least he likes us:). Below is a picture of him kissing Vivi- if you say "qing qing" (ching ching) mei mei, or qing qing baba, etc, he gives a little kiss:).

We went to the museum today of the Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region (I am not sure if that is the real name, and while I am apologizing, I have no idea if I am spelling things right in this post!), which highlights the different minority cultures in the Xinjiang province. Xinjiang province has 3 different mountain ranges: Artai in the north, Tian Shan in the middle (where Urumqi is) and Kunlun in the south. Between the Tian Shan Mts and the Artai Mts lies the Jungar Basin, and between the Tian Shan and the Kunlun Mts lies the Tarin Basin, which holds the world's 2nd largest mobile desert. Running through this entire province are several sections of the Silk Road, which was the major commercial route from Xian, China to the Mediterranean, India, and the Middle East. Through this route, papermaking, ceramics, gunpowder, silk, and other treasures from China, were spread to the west. From Europe (among other products) China got seeds from watermelons and honeydew melons, which are now really famous in Xinjiang.

There are 13 major ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang, and you can really see that walking down the street. The biggest group is the Uygurs (Muslim), at about 8.8 million according to our guide. The Uygurs are mostly farming people, and their music and dancing is quite famous. Theyhave made popular musk melons, pomegranates, apricots, apples, watermelon, and grapes here in Urumqi and elsewhere in Xinjiang. Because they are such a presence, all of the signs in Urumqi are in both Chinese and the Uygur language (which to me looks like Arabic). Also there are the Kazak and Mongolian, which are both tribal groups that lived in the grasslands and rivers in these "mobile homes" called yurts (round wooden/hide structures that they could disassemble and reassemble when moving around). They lived/live around the Tian Shan mountains and traditionally have been horseback-riding shepherds of sheep and goats. The museum also showcases the Hui, the Kirgiz, the Khalhlas, the Tajik, the Uzbek, and others- one commonality I loved was the beautiful textiles and embroidery. Their clothes and interior decorations are so colorful and beautiful!! I wish I could have taken pictures (not allowed) or at least bought some of the weavings and embroidered pieces. I hope I see something similar at the market tomorrow!!!:)

The other major section of the museum has almost perfectly preserved mummies (hair, fingernails, skin)- the "Loulan Beauty" was 4000 years old!! Many 2800 year old mummies and corpses were found at the Zaghunluq Cemetery, and all of them are European, not Asian, race. I loved the museum, but of course it was hard to listen to the guides with 2 uninterested three year olds. Actually they weren't uninterested, they were interested and wanted to touch and climb on everything! We rented a stroller for Toñito, which kept him semi-contained:), and Vivi was our explorer today.

After the museum, we played with Drew for a bit in his room. The 2 boys are about 2 years apart, but they are really cute together!! Drew picks up Toñito, rubs his cheek, wrestles with him, etc. Both of the boys are really good-natured, and it is fun to watch them interact.

The kids played in the bath for about an hour- we washed the animals, dumped water in and out of cups, and he really enjoyed the bubbles (even repeating the word "bubbles" in English!). After we got on pj's I got their toothbrushes ready and he brushed his own teeth! His teeth are in really good shape and I am thinking his foster mom taught him to brush?

Toñito FINALLY went to sleep after talking to Elsie twice on the phone, and countless backrubs, kisses, and trips to the potty. As you can see, he likes to keep "his" toys nearby, and papi's watch on his wrist! He is such a sweetie-pie!!! Elsie even got him to tell me "Good night mama"- his first English phrase (although he was just repeating:)...


Christi said...

WHAT A SWEETIE PIE!!!!! I love hearing your stories. Your family is an inspiration to so many people. Lots of love! Tía Didi

Annie said...

He is so angelic sleeping!

Anonymous said...

Tonito, you are so cute when you{re awake and when you{re asleep. We hope you are dreaming good things. Love, Grandma

Heather said...

Tonito, Acer says not to worry, You'll pick up English pretty quickly.
Heather BT, Acer's Mama