Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Buying toys


Sophie sitting on a wooden stool at a mall in Kunming, refusing to budge…

 

Sophie has a fascination for kid sized chairs/stools, any type, plastic ones, wooden ones, bamboo ones….

 

When we were in Matamata, we went to Warehouse(similar to K-Mart) to find a doll for her (coz mummy me forgot to pack in her doll!) and we ended up going home with a S$6 bright pink plastic chair from China that she chose and played constantly throughout the past few months and had friends over fighting over it……

 

… while the dolly we chose got left under the bed next to a stack of other toys.

 

Lesson learnt – buy what she likes, not what I like. Sooooooo hard….. :)

Chopsticks

 

This trip has been a great Chinese immersion trip for Sophie.

 

Other than learning a bit of conversational mandarin, Sophie has taken a liking to using the chopsticks. She’s able to get some food into her mouth while having lotsa fun with it! :)

China’s gone green

 

It’s amazing how China picks up some things so fast…. all the shopping places charge for their paper bags (ya… no more plastic bags!) and also no sign of styrofoam boxes, all paper now.

 

We need to learn.

 

Btw, that’s my fav foldable shopping bag that I bought from HV for $12. It’s ex but it looks great and it’s been one of my fav travelling tools so far. Aus and NZ also charge for shopping bags now.

Dinner with Friends

 

Pa (James’ dad) has many friends in China so we’ve been having meals after meals. Yesterday night we had two dinners! :) One of which was a wonderful home cooked meal. It was typical Chinese style entertaining – check out the number of dishes! 10!

 

This is the home of the son of an old family friend of my father in law. Now we have three generations of friendship. Sophie had so much fun playing with the two kids that she cried when we had to leave. I’m really glad that relationships are very important to her.

 

I feel a bit sad that in China, since the late 70s, each couple is only allowed to have one child. Must be so tough for some and yet most have gotten used to that and enjoy having only one precious child. On Sunday, I could see the fathers happily carrying their kids and holding hands with them, no matter girl or boy, and enjoying the time they had together. Very precious.

 

Too Much Chinese Opera

 

 

We’re back in Kunming.

 

Right after church on Sunday, while waiting for my in laws, Sophie decided to perform on the streets. She started singing Hallelujah Praise Ye the Lord. Watching too much Chinese opera on TV in the hotel… :)

Eliminating church parking problems

 

Right outside the church we attended on Sunday

Sightseeing in Da Li


Erhai Lake, Da Li

 

My parents in law finished teaching at the bible school yesterday morning. So, in the afternoon, we went to do some sightseeing. Erhai Lake is translated as ear lake because it is shaped like an ear. It is the second largest highland lake in China.

 

Sophie absolutely loved being able to run in the open, picking up sticks and eating fresh fruit which we bought from a lady in traditional costume. I think she has had enough shopping. You should see her smile when she saw the open space! She looks like Moses trying to part the red sea except she’s pointing in the wrong direction…… :)

 

See more photos on Facebook.

 

Food and Survival Kit

 

 

In the local restaurants, food is displayed by the roadside and you can choose the ingredients and the style of cooking you want! Food is normally full of salt and oil. We’ll have to ask for less salt and less oil.

 

 

The good thing is that the restaurants outsource their cleaning and we get fresh utensils each time, wrapped nicely and very hygienic. Still, we’re always prepared with our own bottled water and anti-bacterial handwash gel and wet wipes, very essential!

 

Shopping in Da Li

 

Yang Ren Jie aka Foreigner Street, Old Town, Da Li

 

We spent yesterday morning checking out Foreigner Street. It’s a street with restaurants and shops catered for the tourists. We bought a few handicrafts, books and even some 100% pure wool shawls. The design and quality of the goods found on this street are relatively better than those on the other main streets but of course we do pay a little bit more. Still, it’s very affordable, for example, we paid only less than S$50 in total for 2 huge woollen shawls for James and a nice woollen shawl/blanket for myself.

 

We saw quite a few foreigners around. I was wondering to myself, how do foreigners survive here since almost everything is in Mandarin. There are hardly any signs in English, maybe except for the toilets. Even I am struggling and I understand basic Mandarin. How do they order food and ask for directions? How to bargain? Hmmm…. not easy. I’m so glad that James speaks fluent Mandarin and my in laws are amazing. My father in law calls himself a local (because he is originally from China) when he needs to get a better price. :)

 

It’s our third day here and I’m starting to get a feel for the Chinese people. It’s always like that when we travel – first few days go by in a blur and after a while, then we start to observe and understand. I’m really glad we are travelling with my in laws and we eat at all the local restaurants and experiment with all the local dishes. I’d be so lost without them!

Strawberry Rubber Shoes

 

This pair of shoes caught my eye when we were shopping. Sophie chose the colour. :) A girl after my own heart….

Travel Update

Old Town, Da Li, China

 

James reminded me that one of my life ambitions was to be a travel journalist. So here I am, doing what I love!!!!!!! For free!!!! Hahahaha…. Maybe I should have a donate to poor travelling missionary mummy button on my blog.

 

We’ve arrived safe and somewhat sound in Dali, Yunnan, China.

 

We took Thai Airways this time, from Singapore to Kunming, China with a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand. Sophie was not very used to it because we were in the middle row with 4 seats, with a stranger sitting next to us and THERE WASN’T A PERSONAL TV SCREEN! Horror of horrors! The iphones had to make their appearances. Good thing there are two iphones between the 3 of us so we shared our entertainment. She slept thru the second leg of the journey because she was exhausted from waking up too early.

 

Then, we took a 5 hr bus  (like the big ones that we take to Malaysia) from Kunming to Dali. Halfway through, I hit a real low when Sophie once again threw up on me. I think I’m a little tired of travelling and long bus rides are not my kinda thing. Flying is good but car rides, boat rides and bus rides are really testing for me. Looks like Sophie’s taken after me! But still, she handled it really well. She cried for a bit because of the shock coz she threw up after a nap (same as the last time in Tanna) but once she was changed, she fell back asleep on my mum in law. Once again, I had to change on the bus in the middle of nowhere. After that, I went through a moment – "I never want to go on a bus ride again! Am I crazy to go on missions? Lord, I really cannot do this."

 

Ok now that I’m here in Dali in a nice comfy hotel with a personal sitting, not squating, toilet, I’m feel ok again and Sophie seems well. James however is still not feeling well. Anyway, this is a holiday for us and we’ll just take it easy. Meanwhile, I’ve uploaded some pictures on my facebook account while Sophie is napping. I can’t seem to access flickr at the moment so no photos on the blog yet!

 

P/s Seems like China has blocked internet access to sites like Flickr, Hotmail and Blogspot! Goodness! But James figured a way for me to upload our pictures! Hurray!

Kunming and Dali, Yunnan, China

Left: Kunming by night
Right: Dali Old Town

 

We’re on the go again. This time we’re going on a 10 days trip to Kunming and Dali in China with my in laws.

 

My in laws are going to teach at a bible school and we’re just tagging along. It’s really just to spend time with them and also, travelling with them gives James and I the space to hang out on our own because they are great with Sophie!

 

We’ve been to Dali and Kunming before Sophie was born. Dali is a lovely town, esp the old town part of it. Just beautiful! First thing we’ll do is to give the beancurd seller a visit! Old school!

 

Kunming is a typical modern chinese city so we’re planning to go shopping, stock up on Chinese books and toys for Sophie, go for massages and eat, eat, eat!

 

To introduce Sophie to China (She was only 14 mths old when we were last in Shanghai.), I got a book from the library on China and even made a flag! We also made feeble attempts to converse in Mandarin today and she made her first response to me in Mandarin. Guess what she said? "Bu hao" (No good)! I asked her something and said "Hao bu hao?" (Good or no good?) Sigh…… must the first conversational word they learn always be negative?!?! Oh wells, better than nothing…. :)