Thursday, November 12, 2009

'The Summer Palace'....Covered in Snow???

Tuesday, November 10, 2009:

This post will begin with what happened just after midnight as it was really quite unusual. I was sitting at the computer and noticed the room was getting cooler and cooler. I pulled Hannah's crib further away from the windows and was working on a blog post. About midnight, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bright flash outside the window and then something that sounded like really loud thunder but it lasted for about 15 seconds. Weird! And then....it happened again! It wasn't normal thunderstorm weather but I figured they're just different this side of the world and didn't think too much about it.

Fast forward to 7:30am when we wake to a lot of noise down on the street and we're quite curious. We're on the 7th floor and normally don't hear anything but today was different. As we opened the curtains we were greeted to fresh fallen snow and more coming down quite heavily. The noise we heard were the people across the street attempting to clear the parking lot. I'm guessing they don't have a lot of snow as they were using anything they could find....including fire hoses...to clear the snow. What fun they were having though! You can tell by the wandering tracks that possibly they were not used to clearing so much snow! The big brooms were a hoot but proved to be quite beneficial based on watching them.

The reason I started this post with the 'bang' that happened around midnight is China is shooting things into the clouds that is causing it to rain to help out with the drout. That will work....except we're in Beijing where it's cold and that 'rain' is falling as snow! It was really neat to see people enjoy it though and even adults were acting like kids and throwing snowballs at one another! Ok....that was my dad throwing one at me but hey, it's tradition and he made sure not to hit Miss H who was snuggly strapped to me.

Our first destination of the day was the Summer Palace and in spite of the snowy, cold weather, it was packed!! The main duty for the staff that day was clearing snow but once again they were having a great time doing it!! It was also fun to watch as the beautiful trees that were brimming with snow, became a great place for the locals to throw snowballs as their friends stood underneath and had it snow on them. We also saw men beneath a big old tree and their job for the day was to hold up the branches so that the weight of the snow didn't damage them.

As usual, from the moment our feet stepped out of the bus the vendors were ready for us trying to sell us anything from hats and gloves to post cards, chestnuts and even sweet potatoes baked above coals on a bbq attached to the back of their bike. Surprisingly the sweet potatoes were quite tempting but I'm guessing that was because we were quite cold. Once we got moving we warmed up. The snow had stopped and the sky was a beautiful blue and it was a great day to visit the summer palace. Quite a contrast from the smog of the day before!

Dad hadn't brought his hat with him so he purchased this Beijing Olympics one plus gloves from one of the vendors. The funny thing is that the day before when Mom, Norma and I were at the market I had purchased 6 of these hats but they were all back at the hotel and of no use to dad there. OK - yes, I purchased them while sitting in McDonald's so now we have McHats to go with Dad's McSock's. Wonder what we'll buy there next time?

We entered the Summer Palace and it was beautiful. I'm not a history buff (as you may already have guessed) so I don't remember what we were told about the palace but I do know it was beautiful covered in freshly fallen snow.

Adam enjoying the tour while perched safely on Daddy's shoulders.

This picture makes me laugh as Toronto took quite a ribbing a number of years ago when they called in the army to help cover show. It's not exactly the same thing but this pic reminds me of that!

As per usual the tour took place during XiaoFen's nap time so she spent the majority of the morning sleeping peacefully in her snuggly, close to mommy. She loves her snuggly and I am so thankful for this as I plan on continuing to 'wear' her a lot when we get home and I'm also hoping to be able to keep up the walking. Exercise for me and napping for her. It's a win-win situation!

Once again we ended up being part of the tourist attraction and as we shared my note saying that this is my daughter that I have adopted and am taking home to Canada, it was thumbs up and bowing all round. The people truly seem happy that these beautiful little girls now have families and that they will be going to Canada. I am humbled by their response time and time again.

After a l-o-n-g 2 hour walk through the Summer Palace and it's gardens we returned to the bus where we went to a local restaurant for lunch. The food was once again very good and they even had ice cream for dessert!

From the restaurant we headed to the Silk Factory which was fascinating! We learned about single and double cocoons and what each is used for and also how they spin the threads for maximum strength. After watching them pull some pieces for silk duvets we did some shopping. I treated Hannah and I to new silk duvets. Really quite reasonable and perfect weight for summer or winter. Norma is teasing me that I am trying single handedly to have a positive affect on the Chinese eonomy by the time we leave and she's not that far off. :o) Not sure when we'll be back so I want to bring home items that hold special meaning to us.

Once back at the hotel Norma went for a well deserved massage and Hannah and I went to work on some paperwork with our guide Sara. What a cute pic of them together!!

Today for the first time, XiaoFen decided that tummy time was ok if only for a few minutes. Before this she would just scream and at the beginning didn't have much strength in her little neck. Now it's much stronger and she doesn't mind a bit of tummy time but before long lets me know she's ready to sit up again. The funny thing is that she rolls all over when sleeping but when awake has not yet discovered that she can roll over. It's kinda funny but I'm taking full advantage of it as it allows me to leave her in the middle of the bed while I quickly run and grab a diaper or something else we might need. I'm sure these days are numbered so I'm enjoying them while they're here!

One final bottle and snuggle before bed. I cannot describe to you what that little hand wrapped around my thumb feels like! Bliss.....pure bliss!!!


















Three videos:

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16 comments:

  1. Sounds like another wonderful day! Love all the pictures!!

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  2. Really wierd to see the Summer Palace covered in snow! Having been there once in August and once in September, that is not how we saw it...

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  3. Catherine I just realized your guide Sara is the same one we had while in China in 2002 with my daughter Meisi. Isn't she wonderful! If you see this before you leave, please tell her we said hello. I'm sure she'll remember us - we're the ones that lost our plane tickets home and had roughly 3 hours to get new ones made before the plane took off - it was quite an adventure! Hope your trip home is much more peaceful. :-)

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  4. Love the look of the city in snow. I have only traveled in the summer but it looks just lovely. What a sweet baby and we hope someday to meet you in person.

    Enjoy!

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  5. The Summer Palace snow scene is like a pic out of National Geographic.

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  6. Love the pictures. Fascinating to see people holding up the branches. So interesting to see how similar and yet different everyones trip can be! Thank you for all the wonderful updates!

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  7. And here in Canada...no snow! How crazy is that. You might have brought the snow cooties with you to China and that is why there is snow in Beijing!

    How weird that days ago you were wearing capris?

    Seeing the palace like that is a rare treat and to me, make it even more special.

    Enjoy!

    Keep smilin!

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  8. We had a list of places we wanted to visit. The Summer Palace was my "must see". It was beautiful. I couldn't imagine it any prettier until now. Thank you so much for sharing!

    How interesting to hear about the weather first hand. I had read just yesterday that the clouds over Beijing were seeded once again. And you got that beautiful blue sky too! NICE!

    Hannah.... wow... what a little beauty. Still loving all the pics of the two of you together.

    Enjoy your time in China... safe travels home! :)

    Hugs,
    Lisa

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  9. Can't believe you guys are getting snow! SO very cool!!! Even with the snow, it looks like you guys had a great day!!

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  10. Wait
    what?! China is shooting things into the clouds to make it rain?
    hun>>?

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  11. Great pics Cathy and love the daily journal!!!! Thanks for sharing so much with us.

    Dad was over-the-top excited to receive your phone call last night and talk to you and Hannah!!!! Ok..so I'm jealous! Funny thing is, mom didn't believe him at first. I think she thought his meds were taking effect. LOL!!!! Thanks for making his day!!!

    See you soon.
    Love & prayers,
    Joy

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  12. Yes, continue to use the snugly when you are home. It brings consistency/stability and so much better bonding with Mommy!
    Love he pictures. Snow! Wow, what a contrast to our typhoon!

    Alyzabeth's Mommy

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  13. Can't wait till you buy some McUnderwear. Hee!

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  14. It does look pretty with the snow.
    I am so glad you are sharing this trip with family and friend. They are so much a part of this adoption story now. I loved having my mother with me.

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  15. Cool story about the snow. Great pictures!

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