Well, this morning we did some sightseeing in Guangzhou. The other families that went were Carsten and Nicole, and Carey. Sarah was our guide. We went to the Sun Yat-sen memorial hall, which is a memorial to the first president and founding father of the People's Republic of China. Sarah said it was kind of like George Washington in the US. We went into a theater that is also there in memory of him. We walked around outside a lot and it's really hot and humid here. Everybody was all sweaty from the humidity. It really wasn't even that fun to be outside today - just think if we would have been here in the summer! It also rained a few times and the sky has been dark and cloudy a lot of the day today. Anyway, the memorial was pretty neat, and the park-like area around it was beautiful.
Next we went to a Buddhist temple, the Six Banyan Temple. It was named Six Banyan because there used to be six huge old banyan trees there, but now there are only four because two of them have died. Some of the buildings were pretty spectacular and there was one that is now closed for renovation that you used to be able to walk up to the very top floor on the narrow winding staircase. Like a lot of places around here, it was like an island of lush green plants and old, traditional buildings right in the middle of a sea of modern skyscrapers and busy intersections. I was not highly impressed with the Buddhist temple, other than the architecture of the buildings. There were a lot of practicing Buddhists there offering incense and prayers to the Buddhas and several different shrines with fruit, nuts, and money left as offerings. There was a place where you could go in and be blessed by a monk, and both Carey and Nicole went in there and the monk blessed their babies. Sarah had told us all that we could go in there and do that, but she quickly added, to me and Jeff specifically, that we didn't have to if we didn't want to, and we didn't. We waited outside, but we could see what was going on and the people had to take their shoes off and then the monk played on a drum and chanted some things and sprinkled something on their heads, maybe water or something. It was an interesting place, but it made me sad to be there. TongJie fell asleep in the front pack, but unfortunately he only slept for about 30 minutes and he was awake by the time we got back to our hotel a little after 11:00. We fed him some lunch and have been trying unsuccessfully ever since to get him to sleep some more. He's tired and grumpy but doesn't want to sleep.
This morning at the breakfast restaurant TongJie pulled a placemat and plate off of the table and the plate broke. We felt bad, but at least they looked like cheap plates. And that's probably why they seat us in the back of the restaurant. We were there early for breakfast this morning so there were no other families around in our area. Right now Jeff has TongJie in the stroller and they're going out for a walk. Just before that, I had him in the front pack and we went for a walk around and around the hotel lobby. We couldn't go out in the garden because it was closed for cleaning. I think we're all getting a little stir-crazy being here in our hotel room so much, but the weather is not good for going outside. This afternoon it got really stormy, but it's still hot and humid outside, so either you get soaked with rain, or you put on a raincoat and get soaked with sweat. I don't even want to think about putting on the rain jacket that I brought - it would be way too hot!
At 4:00 we have to do more paperwork with our guides here at the hotel, in preparation for everybody's visa appointments this week. We're lucky because our visa appointment is tomorrow, while some of the other families weren't able to get theirs scheduled 'til later in the week. That means we get to leave sooner for home! For the paperwork today, they only need one parent and not the child, so I'm going to go do the paperwork since Jeff says I have better handwriting. After I get done with the paperwork, the three of us are going to go eat dinner out somewhere. Since there's not an organized outing with the guides tonight, we're thinking of going to Pizza Hut or KFC, since those restaurants are close to the hotel, cheap, and it's easy to figure out what to order. We really like the Chinese food, but it's hard for us to know what is a good Chinese restaurant without a guide (and to know how to get there!), and also what food to order.
For the pictures, you'll notice that Ron has made another apPEARance. He came with us to the Sun Yat-sen memorial, and even Sarah got to be in a picture with him. There's also a photo of Ron hanging out with some new friends in the hotel room. The friends are actually real, though, and now there's only one left. Good thing Ron is plastic, or he might get eaten too!