Happy Independence Day, everybody! TongJie wore his USA shirt today to celebrate. Also we let him have a donut at the breakfast buffet :) There are people from all over the world here at the Garden Hotel, it's a very diverse place. We've sort of made friends with a German guy who works here named Martin. He is an intern at the Garden Hotel and he greets people and holds the door so we see him whenever we pass through the lobby. He always asks TongJie to help him hold the door and of course TongJie loves that! He saw TongJie in his USA shirt this morning and said "USA? Oh yes, today is your special day." Jeff took a picture of me with TongJie and Ezekiel in the garden after breakfast. Never mind that Ezekiel is crying. He was kind of grumpy this morning and was just starting to fall asleep for a morning nap when it was time for us to meet downstairs to go to a park. So we decided that Jeff would stay in the room with Ezekiel (he wouldn't have had fun at a park anyway) and I would go with TongJie. When we got down to the lobby, we met Elsie and she told us that the other family decided not to go because yesterday they were afraid their daughter was getting too overheated and they're worried about her getting dehydrated. So it was just Elsie, TongJie, and me who went. We went to a new park that had a new playground for kids and also a large number of fitness machines for adults. It was a really neat park! There weren't many people using the exercise machines probably because it was so hot. Most people probably go earlier in the morning or later in the evening. TongJie enjoyed checking out the exercise equipment. You can see in the photo how the kids' playground is right next to the exercise park. Elsie showed us around the park a little more after TongJie was done playing, so we walked around quite a bit. TongJie has been a great sport with walking around in all this heat. I even forgot to pack a snack for him this morning and he still did a good job. When we got back to our room, we got some lunch ready. We brought a lot of packaged meals from home so we could save money by eating in our hotel. We're starting to get a little sick of them by now, but TongJie is still enjoying the rice (I'm glad we only have one more package of it!) - he even decided to take a picture of his rice today. I guess he's seen us taking pictures of some of our food so he wanted to do it too.
Yesterday evening we were going to try a different noodle place that Sarah told us about. When we got there, we realized it was more of a fancier sit-down restaurant and we decided not to stay because Ezekiel isn't very easy to have in restaurants and we were worried we'd get partway into ordering and he'd become a huge annoyance to everyone there. So we ended up going to McDonalds! It tasted just like our McDonald's at home. We were able to sit outside and we let Ezekiel crawl around and it ended up being much more enjoyable for all involved I'm sure. We walked around for awhile afterwards until it was getting dark.
Right now, both of the boys are napping. We'll probably go swimming again after they get up - it seems to be a good way to get some exercise and pass the time. Tomorrow is the day we go over all our paperwork with the guides in preparation for the consulate appointment next week. They only need one parent, so I'll probably be the one to go over the paperwork since I've kind of been the one keeping track of it. We got Ezekiel's passport today (yay!) and I promptly put it in the safe box here in our room along with all the other paperwork, so everything should be ready to go.