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 7: Playing with Toñito!!!

Since technically yesterday was our first day with Toñito, I guess today would be day 2. We started the day off at the breakfast buffet. We still don't know exactly what Toñito likes to eat, but we know he LOVES bananas, and also likes warm soy milk (he drinks it from a bowl), steamed rice buns (he puts a chopstick through it and eats in on the stick), and he likes watermelon and oranges. We offered him almost everything at the buffet, and found out that was a mistake because he eats almost anything you put in front of him. He also likes to save food for later, and wants to keep it all in his hands so no one takes it- behaviors he has probably learned so that he can get enough to eat.
After breakfast we went outside to the big plaza across the street from the hotel. In the mornings, there are a lot of older people doing tai chi and group exercise- think fan kicks from the Rocketts/danceline, slow swinging swords, and hands on hips stretches! There is music piped in that sounds like classical Chinese instrumental music, and many people dressed up hustling to work across the square. We had a big part of the square to ourselves, and so we brought out our bubbles and had a blast blowing them at each other. Toñito picked it up right away (after swallowing some:) and loved to blow the bubbles slowly to make larger ones. It was very fun until he dumped the whole container on himself on accident and started to cry!! So we went inside and got ready for the day.
We met the other families and our 2 guides in the lobby and took a taxi to a large department store 20 minutes away (for $1 taxi fare!). Supposedly there were good prices on strollers there, but it was about $80 for an umber stroller so we didn't get one. I don't understands how the department stores stay in business- they are extremely fancy, the clothes are very expensive (really nice clothes) and there always seem to be more employees than customers. Actually that is true in most places we go- the restaurant in the hotel has so many people working there! I mean at least 10 chefs in the back, or more, and so many waitresses at one point we had 4 at our table doing different things (pouring tea, fixing our napkins, taking our order, flirting with Toñito). And the food at the restaurant is relatively cheap- I wonder how the business make a profit? Maybe the salaries are really low? But we did manage to get some cute new shoes for both of the kids- Vivi is in heaven because hers light up!

Anyway, in the department stores, the basement floor is usually the supermarket. I LOVE going to the supermarket in different countries because you can tell so much about the cuisine and culture from watching what is displayed and what people are buying. Like in London- I will never forget the entire aisles of cheddar cheese and baked beans. So here there is a lot of preserved/dried foods: dried fish (Urumqi is the farthest city in the world from an ocean), dried shrimp and shellfish, dried meats, dried mushrooms, dried fruits, preserved ginger, and many more ingredients that I could not identify. We also saw live toads, turtles and fish in huge aquariums (Vivi loved that!! Más ranas mami??). One food that both Toñito and Vivi love are the yogurt drinks- these portable smoothies are perfect for snacks so we bought plenty.

For a late lunch we went to a nearby restaurant with local food. We had lamb noodle soup, fried rice, sauteed eggplant, sauteed zucchini, beef with onions, and then a sweet rice dish with dried fruit and pumpkin. In the middle of the dinner Toñito was unhappy about something, and Toño had to take him back to the hotel where he was creally upset and crying for about an hour, finally falling asleep.

While they bonded in the room, Vivi and I went to the square and bought a kite! In the evenings the tai chi is replaced by groups of men playing cards, kids rollerblading Olympic style around neon freen mini-cones, lots of people milling around watching cartoons and the news on a gigantic TV screen, little kids riding oversized stuffed animals on wheels, and of course, KITES. Unfortunately we did not have our camera to capture this nightly party! But we did get a kite, and had so much fun running with it with Stephanie and Brian. It wasn't breezey enough to actually fly per se, but if you run really fast (as fast as you can while holding Vivi) you can get it to stay airborne while you are in motion. The cutest part was that before starting, Stephanie said you had to scream "Yi, er, san!!" (I am sure I am butchering the spelling of 1, 2, 3 in Mandarin).

Views from our hotel room in Urumqi on the 23rd floor:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We love all the activities you are doing with the kids! We can't wait to see them flying the kites. Love, Mom and Dad