After breakfast, Matt, Angela, Guozhou and I took a nice trip to Walmart. If you have been in China before, you know what an experience this is. If you haven't, I'm not exactly sure how to explain it to you! Walmarts here have multiple floors that are connected y an escalator of sorts that hooks on your cart so you can take it up and down with you. Usually one floor is food and another is household goods- sort of like taking a super Walmart from home, chopping it in two, and stacking it on top of each other. As if this isn't novel enough, the goods that you can get are astounding- freshwater fish are all live until you buy them, there is an entire aisle of freshly pickled vegetables, pretty much all parts of a butchered pig are for sale (including the head- seriously). There are many new kinds of fruits and vegetables that we have never seen, including one called the King Fruit, which, according to reputation, smells nasty but tastes amazing. I can only vouch for the smell- and actually it is so rancid that some hotels have banned it from their premises because one fruit in a guests room can smell up an entire floor. These things are as big as my head!
Among various snacks, noodle bowls, coffee packets, and milk teas, we got Guozhou a new pair of sneakers, and he picked out a toy car set for himself and his didi to share. He was so good at Walmart! We were probably there for almost an hour, and even I was getting restless. When he is tired, he definitely pushes the boundaries with everyone and everything-It wore him out, too- he fell asleep after we got back and had lunch!
A quiet afternoon of watching national geographic channel was followed with an exciting evening for Matt and I- we met up with our friend, Christian, who lives in Xi'an! He has been around the city for a few years now, and showed us around easily. We visited the Book Street, where traditional calligraphy of characters is practiced and sold. We also went to the Muslim quarter of the city, saw the Great Mosque, and went through the market. Here, we tried what I can only describe as a sweet steamed rice cookie cake thing, served on a stick and with your choice of cartoon character painted on the front. I had Stitch, and Matt had Patrick, of Spongebob! The cake things are rolled in a mixture of sugar, crushed peanut, and black sesame seeds. They were delicious!
We also visited a tea shop, where visitors inquiring about a tea were sat down and served the tea to make sure that they would like it before buying it. If only we had that kind of service in the states!
After the tea shop, we left the Muslim quarter and headed back toward center city for dinner at a hole in the wall place serving a combination dish: a Chinese version of a pulled pork sandwich, and a bowl of cold square noodles! We had been hearing about these noodles since Dan told us to try them when we went to Xi'an, and they were absolutely amazing. The noodles are long, but squared off rather than cylindrical, and served cold with a spicy sesame dressing, cucumber slivers, and bean sprouts. I am obsessed. They were so good! The sandwich was good too but I was too busy being sad that my noodles were gone to focus....
After dinner we did a good amount of walking and talking before coming back to the hotel. It was really great to see Christian and be able to discuss Chinese culture with someone with our background, and talk about raising a family overseas, adventures in teaching English, etc. It was a great debriefing period for Matt and I as we process our time here.
The Yogi Bear movie is on now, and the boys are watching/sleeping in the next room. I noticed that Jack seems much more mobile today- crawling around on the bed and almost getting up on his knees, like pushup position- I think he definitely is feeling better! He is such a charmer-he has learned to say 'hello karli' and it just makes me melt!
I am le tired. Good night everyone! Vanessa, we are praying for you and your travels in the next few days, and for sweet Mira as she prepares to finally meet her mommy :) :) how exciting!
Chinese word of the day: 'ni ga' is a phrase used for 'that', also used to fill thought in words, similar to how Americans use 'like' ....quite funny in conversation.
Sent with AGAPE LOVE from my iPad!