It didn't look too far on the map, but we had no idea of scale so set off right after breakfast. The walk didn't take nearly as long as we expected, nor was it terribly difficult to find where we were going. The whole walk was fairly uneventful... as long as we kept moving. We did have to stop once so I could convince TM that really we all wanted him to eat the protein bar I had in my bag. (Like a large dog, when TM takes walks with us, he covers at least twice the amount of ground as anyone else. It is extraordinary to imagine how much energy he actually uses.) As soon as the walking sideshow (AKA us) stopped, it was as if we had given tacit permission to approach. A woman on a scooter immediately stopped and wanted to talk with J., and a crowd then gathered to see what was going on. Her first question to us was to find out if we were Christian. After hearing we were, she then wanted to talk more. The whole exchange was made a bit more difficult by the fact she spoke very little English and we speak about 5 words of Mandarin. Her solution was to call a friend on her cell phone to translate, though the friend spoke not a whole lot more English. J. took care of the conversing while I hung back with TM and convinced him that everything was fine, no we didn't know who these people were, but that was OK, and no, we weren't going to get lost.
Eventually we were on our way again and found the cafe (Cafe Alayna) with little difficulty. The owner of the cafe was very nice and allowed us to use his key card into the park next door since he had only just opened and nothing was ready yet. We spent some time walking in the park and I took some more pictures since I realized I have been rather lax in that department.
These next two are shots of what the area looks like. You can see the vaguely yellow, pollution-y haze that covers the city. Today was particularly bad as the sun never actually broke through it.
But back to our walk around the park.
This was one of the walkways... I liked the heart.
We had a lovely time chatting with the cafe owner, enjoying some good food which included some French fries and onion rings (which H. loved) and TM and A. played more than a couple of games of Uno with the owner's daughter. It was a nice relaxing time. (If you happen to be in Zhengzhou and would like to visit, I'll write out walking instructions at the end of the post.)
We swung by Walmart (which is not like the ones in the US) to pick-up some things that friends of our wanted back home and then headed back to the hotel. Poor H. was dragging a bit by the end. I think we wear her out a bit with all of our walking and going places.
We spent the next few hours relaxing in the room. TM and H. are becoming much more friendly with each other and have actually talked to each other now. (As opposed to just pretending the other doesn't really exist.) It's one reason why I think these two pictures are so cute. All three children snuggled together relaxing after a long morning.
Later on TM, J. and A. went swimming in the hotel pool. H. didn't want to go, but this time she was willing to sit with me and watch. (She didn't even want to go watch the first time they went.) And that brings us to dinner which we'll head out to get in just a moment.
Life continues to be pleasant and easy. H. seeks out both J. and I and wants to hold our hands or sit on our laps. She is using some more English words, too. Life is good.
Directions to Cafe Alayna (71 Wei Lai Lu). From the Crowne Plaze, head toward the Walmart. When you arrive at the corner where the Walmart is, this is Wei Lai Lu. Cross the street as if you were going to Walmart, but instead of turning right, turn left and cross the street one more time. This will put you on the far corner. Continue along Wei Lai Lu in the direction away from Walmart for several blocks. Eventually you will see a big coffee shop on your right called Dio Coffee. There is walkway between the park and Dio Coffee which you will walk along. Cafe Alayna is down this little walkway. You'll see the awning with the name and a small porch with outside seating. The owner's large dog was tied out on the patio when we were there this morning... the dog is very friendly and H. and TM were rather taken with him. Open 10 to 10.