Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 5: Amusement in the morning and then not so much

Our last day in Zhengzhou was spent packing, and then since the weather had warmed up a bit we took a walk to investigate the small amusement park which was near our hotel.  It was a cute little park with a small collection of rides.  It was also pretty laid back.  If a ride was going and a new person wanted to get on, the operator would stop the ride, let the new person on, and set it going again.  The length of ride seemed purely arbitrary.  It wasn't a bad deal for 10 rmb (or about $1.50 a ride).



By far, the most popular ride with my crew was the bumper cars.  The riders also gathered quite a crowd, who evidently were curious to watch a bunch of white people drive into each other.



Can you tell that H. really enjoyed it?


TM and H. also went on one of those rides that goes around and around in circles and you can control its movement up and down.  By this time, H. felt confident enough to ride in her own car.


TM really enjoyed the toy machine guns which were mounted on it and made appropriate machine gun noises when you pushed a button.


The amusement park was located in a much larger city park which was very enjoyable.  We had a nice walk around it and enjoyed seeing the trees and flowers budding out.  It would have been nice to be able to see Zhengzhou later in the spring.  March is not a kind month to any city in a northern climate.  The other thing I enjoyed was reading the English translations on many of the signs. While this is a fun pastime in general in China, this park has some particularly quirky ones.  I was sad to discover that the "Island to practice English" was under construction and we couldn't visit it, and somehow we managed to miss the "Area for erecting makeshift tents". 

Here we are on our walk around the park.


I have to say this was the best part of the day.  On our way home from the park, TM had a brief plunge of the edge into the abyss.  I hadn't fully realized how much energy he had expended and that combined with the approaching plane ride proved to be too much for him.  If I had been thinking, I would have given him a protein bar before the plunge.  We somehow managed to make it home and he (and I) eventually recovered and had some lunch.

At about 2:30, we were to meet everyone for the bus ride to the airport.  Sitting in the lobby, I noticed H. becoming a bit more subdued than we had seen her.  We called our guide over to explain what was happening and H. replied that she, "Didn't want to leave this place."  She became more and more quiet and eventually fell asleep on the bus to the airport.  Waiting at the gate, she was starting to act as though her stomach was upset and J. and I were wondering if we should grab one of the airsick bags which we now travel with.  We managed to find out that her head hurt so I gave her a little pain reliever.  Once on the plane she perked up, though both she and TM fell asleep on J. for the last third of the flight.

We arrived in Guangzhou at about 8:30pm and by the time we got everyone and everything collected and to the hotel, it was at least 10pm.  We were tired and hungry (though we were served a small dinner on the plane... emphasis on small.) and I have to admit I was not feeling particularly generous toward the world.  This was not helped by the rest of the evening. 

When we entered our room, we discovered that we had thoughtfully been provided with a crib.  We briefly joked that perhaps TM would fit in it, but decided to call housekeeping to request the roll-away that should have been there.  A simple mistake wouldn't normally bother me; it was actually kind of funny.  But I cease to be amused when at 11:30, I still don't have a bed for my son to sleep in and it has been a long day. I admit to making a not-quite-happy phone call to ask about it. At midnight the bed finally arrived and J. took the sleeping boy from our bed and moved him into his own.

And to add insult to injury, we couldn't get the internet to connect.  The only reason this was tragic was because I had neglected to write down Ann's (from Crazy for Kids) room number and needed to get into my email so I could find it.  (No, the hotel wouldn't help.)  Our great plan of meeting in China never happened because though we were in the same hotel, we had no way of finding each other.  My brief hope of meeting at breakfast the next morning was also shot because she left at 6am... before we were even awake. 

All of this made for a very grumpy wife/mother.  I have to say, I have the world's most patient and understanding husband.  And just to let you know exactly how dire the evening had become, J. went out and brought food back from that restaurant with the golden arches... somewhere we rarely eat... and we ate it and didn't hate it. 

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