The Merry Go Round!

Our 2nd day in Nanchang was absolutely fantastic! Our time was our own. After another fun breakfast with other adopting families and Skyping in good friends, we ventured out with a map and some directions to the Peace Park. It was beautiful, warm day and the sun was shining. It was SO good to get some air and get out on our feet.

Our walk was long but adventurous! We made it to the big square outside Walmart without too much trouble. It’s a huge memorial square dedicated to the Revolutionary Uprising on Aug 1st, 1927.

On the way, Cindy spotted a man on the street selling bubbles so we bought some and showed Katie her first bubbles…she loved it! We walked on the special pathways in and out of the square that are made of smooth stones set in a decorative pattern and raised up slightly in the earth. You are supposed to remove your shoes so you get a stimulating foot massage as you enter and leave.

The two most difficult parts of our walk to the park were…crossing the street and crossing the street. If you actually crossed a street the way we do at home, even with a “light”, you have to say a small prayer and be as brave you can be. We were shocked at the complete disregard for a woman with stroller (me)!! Honestly, the drivers speed up just when we would expect them to slow down, and they honk so there is no anticipating what anyone is thinking and in the moment you have no idea whether to stop or go. It’s terrifying. Our only hope was to try to cross with other locals and hope for the best but I feel like I aged a few years 🙂 Some of the streets are so big that they have an over-pass or under-pass. We used both…with a stroller. That meant that Cindy and I carried each end of the stroller (with Katie in it) up about 30 steep steps, walked across a bridge and the carried it down the other side. Or, down a bunch of steps, through the tunnel (which was actually a small market) and up the other side. We did it at least twice, maybe three times because Cindy wanted to hit Starbucks and that was on the other side of the road…oy!

We, of course, thought we were pretty awesome for muscling through it until we got to our last set of stairs going down. As we approached we saw an older man setting up a wheelchair at the top of the flight of stairs. In the moment I couldn’t comprehend why he’d have lugged it up there. Then he turned around and lifted a severely disabled, very elderly man up the last step and into the wheel chair. He had carried this man all the way up…and he was not a small man. We were stunned. This is the only option if you need to get across the street. No lifts, no ramps…nothing. I wondered if today was an exception or if he does this all the time. We also saw a severely disabled man in the centre of the over-pass begging for money. This is nothing like we would ever see in North America but i had witnessed it many years ago in Hong Kong . The level of deformity was so upsetting. I don’t know how he got up there but to see him lying flat in the middle of the walkway as people went about their day was so distressing. I didn’t have the heart to take a photo of him or the man with the wheel chair but wished so much that others could see this level of humanity.

Starbucks was fun. Katie was all over my mango passionfruit slushy…sucked through the straw and everything. She is interested in eating anything and everything that we are eating! And she is determined to get it…oh the fussing!! Don’t even think of crinkling a plastic wrapper if you’re not prepared to share the contents of the snack. Fortunately, she’s eating a variety of foods and eating very well.

We’ve discovered that her happiest time is the morning. She is so content to sit in her crib and play or lie quietly and watch us. She is so clear about what she wants and doesn’t want that if she wanted to be out with us, we would definitely know about it. Tyler would come in each morning and gives her some water while she’s still in her crib…it’s so sweet! We feed her some rice cereal in the room and play for a while, then head up for breakfast…she’s all for it! She loves to be outside and see all the action. Anytime after 5pm is melt down time. Last night we’d had such a full day that I put her to bed early again. She had a lot of trouble settling but then she slept about 12 hours!

So, our walk led us through beautiful tree lined streets to the Peace Park (sort of like Central Park). We discovered a huge amusement park inside! It was very quiet and we thought most things were closed but even if it was just us, they would run a ride. Tyler and Cindy did these cool motorized boats that you could steer down the large river and Tyler went on a climbing agility course that was much older than we would have liked but he had a fantastic time…and an audience, as we did when I attempted a diaper change on a bench. Still very new at this so having an audience didn’t help my confidence….bizarre.

We are an oddity here. People stare, take photos, especially of Tyler, and want to touch him…he hates it as would I. People look at Katie with such curiosity and many people don’t seem happy. We have met some lovely people who want to chat but often we get scolded for not bundling Katie up in enough layer or for letting her foot stick out from the blanket. I honestly don’t know how the Chinese people feel about us adopting their babies. I am curious.

Katie and I found a Merry-Go-Round! We didn’t think it was working so we just went up and had a look at the horses but the woman knitting off to the side was happy to run it for us. How fun, taking her for a ride! I think Katie liked it too 🙂 Can’t believe I didn’t sing our Music Together Merry-Go-Round song!!! I did sing the See the Pony song though. Today is the first day that Katie held my hand…well, my finger. She is paying more attention to me specifically, which is great…we’re on the road to attachment. She was so happy in the stroller, taking in the sights. We thought for sure she would sleep but no…too much to see!

We strolled through some gorgeous trees and over pretty bridges (with ramps). We found a pond full of huge goldfish which Tyler fed. The air smelled like the Eucalyptus leaves the gardeners were cutting down. I hope we go back, there was so much we didn’t see. It was quiet and green 🙂

It was very calm when we entered the park but when we left, the scene had changed in the neighbourhood connected to it. Vendors were out in full force. Cindy & Tyler had Sugar cane juice and bought these yummy sweet potato fried pastry sticks which Katie loved… There were a large number of people with chairs set up, cutting hair for elderly people, right there in the parking lot. There were vegetables for sale spread out right on the sidewalk. We were so happy to be seeing the “real” Nanchang. I was able to finally break out the good camera on this trip but unfortunately can’t post the photos until I get home.

We walked all the way back, took a slightly different route and only had to cross a couple of streets. Ended up at a great restaurant we’d been told about. Very casual, yummy authentic Chinese food…finally! Cindy did a great job of ordering with her Apps and we had a friendly waiter with a few words of English. Full and happy we walked back to the hotel but as we got withing a couple of blocks, Tyler managed to walk head first into a badly placed phone booth. It was a hard hit and there is no where on the street to find ice. We got some at the hotel…what a shame afater such a grLong day, very physical but we had SO much fun exploring together. Just me, Mom, Cindy, Tyler and Katie taking the city by storm!

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