Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 8 - Playing in Nanchang

By Steve

Ni Hao!

After yesterday's long car ride, we took a down day today to play around Nanchang. It was a good time to explore since we really didn't have anything important to take care of today.

The first stop was a tea shop. We sampled a few of the prized green teas that the region is known for and were treated to a show of tea pouring. The girl pouring the tea showed us the way to serve tea if you're really trying to impress people. She preheated the cups by pouring in hot water and then dumped it out. Then washed the tea leaves with water to get them ready to make tea. The washing water looked like tea to me, but then she poured that water out. Then she poured in water to brew the tea and trickled it in on the edge of the cup to not disturb the tea. The first cup smelled wonderful and tasted delicious. BUT! She told us then, that the best cup to have is the second cup that is brewed from the leaves. It is supposed to have a lighter and more delicate flavor that is highly prized.

Seriously after all this effort, I think I'm gonna stick with coffee. This tea stuff just isn't my thing. Jamie however, was in tea snob heaven.

The next stop was a porcelain showroom. WanYing's province is known for having the best porcelain in China.
Some of the pieces we looked at were as light as air and as thin as paper. The vases would even glow when held in front of a light bulb. And have you ever heard the expression "like a bull in a china shop." Nothing can make a parent grow a gray hair faster than taking their children through a shop like this, but our kiddos showed real restraint in their behavior and deserved to be rewarded.

So our next stop was to a local park, "Peoples Park." We walked first through ornate gardens with walkways and then found ourselves in an outdoor exercise area. Everywhere we've gone in China, we've seen these outdoor exercise facilities with brightly painted exercise machines. There were nordic track like things, hand bikes, elliptical machines, things to hang from. I tried out the pull up bars and knocked out a few kipping pull ups just for good measure. Now my hands hurt. Maybe all those extra fried wantons at breakfast have been a bad idea.

We walked through a mahjong parlor which reminded me a lot of vegas. Old people and smoke. Then we made our way over to a carnival-like area. There were lots of rides there and once we rode on one of them the others would start and the operator would shout at us to come ride it. Of course this was because each ride was individually owned and operated and they sure liked us going to their rides. The kids had the best time at the jungle gym area. It had many different places to climb and romp, but the biggest hit by far was the zipline. Even Sasha was hanging from the suspended T bar, giggling with delight. WanYing wisely decided to stay safe on Mommy's lap, since we were still reeling from the experience of the swirly swings.

On our walk out, we passed men practicing calligraphy with water on the tile walkways and a high school girl taking what we guessed were portraits for her yearbook or headshots or something. The photographer asked if Ben would pose with her and he obliged with his usual aplomb when it comes to strange chinese people pulling him into photos. We finished up our outing by going out to lunch with our interpreter Jane. She's been great to us here in Nanchang and we'll sure miss her when we move to Guangzhou next.

And good-bye Jiangxi province. Thanks for giving our little WanYing a great place to call her birthplace. Tomorrow we're off to Guangzhou to complete the last of the paperwork to bring our girl home!

(Jamie typing now)
Today's prayer request:

Sam's tummy is a little off today. He's taking it like a champ, but this is a great reminder of how blessed our health has been throughout this trip. Please join us in prayer that we all keep our food down for the remainder of the trip and that God will continue to bless our bodies and hearts throughout this adventure with good health, great rest, and a continual reliance on Him.


manuela said...




Misty said...

Praying for Sam and I love the pic of Ben hanging with his crocs on the floor! Love that kid! I am so happy for you all!

Laura García said...

Nice pictures!
Continue to enjoy the ride!

Tracy said...

OH MY GOSH.. just checking in and BAM.. you all are in China with your little girl.

Smith Fam said...

What a fun day! And I'm anxious to hear Sam's theory about the source of his stomach bug, because I KNOW he has one. And I'm thinking he's somehow tied it to the "food" he's been forced to sample.

Thanks for all the pics and stories -- this is just way fun for us back here in Normalville!

Susan said...

i am loving these stories. I want to go to China now!!! how cool to have the outdoor excercise things-then the majong smoke things in the same place. :)
That woman in the picture was GORGEOUS. wow.

I hope Sam's tummy is better.
and the tea story was really intesting. I like tea ok but i'm with the coffee man.


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