Saturday, September 28, 2013

Parks & Purees

Since being in China, Mason has started eating solid foods. I have really enjoyed making his baby food! It is a little more complicated in China since every outlet is a different one, the wattage with the appliances we brought don't work without a converter, and the converter we brought only works in our bedroom. So needless to say making baby food on the floor in your bedroom isn't my first choice but it's worth it. The other week when we went to Dali, Kyle and I decided to check out some stores to price check what bottled baby food would be and if it wasn't expensive we thought about buying a few jars to take with us on our trip. I could not believe how expensive a tiny jar of baby food is here in Kunming!! It was $5 a jar! Holy cow! So we pretty much have to make our baby food so it's a good thing that I really enjoy it! I love seeing the starting point where the food is hard and raw and hearing the ending point where Mason says, "Mmm" as the puree enters his mouth! It encourages me to continues doing this complicated process in making his food. Mason has been an amazing eater! We have been very impressed with how much he enjoys eating. One of his favorite things is to eat a banana out of the mesh thing (see pic). He loves sucking the juice and tasting the flavor of the banana. He has also really enjoyed using his sippy cup for the first time. He also really enjoys drinking water, so that's a bonus!

Earlier today we went to a park near by our apartment here in Kunming. It was a really pretty park! There was a lot of grassy areas where people were throwing frisbees and there was even a small amusement park. The amusement park was designed for children but it still was really fun to walk around and hear all of the kids laugh and play.

 We wanted to play in these so bad but the guy said that it's only for kids :( BOO it looked way fun!

 This park reminded me a lot of Lagoon! There was everything from the swings to the pirate boat to roller coasters!

 A lot of babies/young children don't wear diapers, if they need to use the bathroom their parents simply help go to the bathroom in a corner or in the gutter. So we have seen a lot of kids where they have a slit in the bottoms of their pants so they can quickly use the bathroom!

 This is the one and only ride we did! It was.... awesome?? We rented this boat for 30 minutes to ride around this tiny lake and about 20 minutes later we returned it because we got bored! The nice thing was, is the lady refunded us for the 10 minutes we didn't use of it!

Kyle obviously was really excited!!

 Jeff, Maren, and Mason riding in the back (Sorry Maren... this is the only picture I got with you three and it just so happens your eyes are closed!)

 We then went and played frisbee for a little bit. We almost hit this old lady that was digging food out of a trash can! I felt so bad because she honestly looked like she was 90 years old, she had crutches so she could walk and we almost hit her in the head with our frisbee!! Poor thing! Luckily Kyle was super fast in reaching the frisbee first!

 Mason... the best baby ever!

On our way home we stopped by a stand where there were lots of rice, vegetables, fruit, and eggs!
Different kinds of rice

Tons of vegetables!

Tons of eggs... if you look closely some eggs have a tint of blue to them! Kind of cool to see different eggs from different chickens.

A river near our apartment.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dali, China

Last week we went on a trip to Dali, China for about 3 days. We took a bus up to Dali, the bus ride was about a 5 hour trip. Surprisingly the ride up to Dali went really quick! The bus was kind of like a charter or a Greyhound Bus... with no bathrooms. I think I freaked myself out when I was sitting on the bus and we hadn't left the bus station yet and I kept thinking, "Oh man 5 hours with no bathroom, can I make that?... Oh I think I have to pee right now... wait maybe not... UHH I don't know!" Haha I think I freaked myself out by thinking I had to go to the bathroom when I really didn't. So for the first two hours, I kept thinking, "Oh man ya I definitely have to pee... crap we have 3 more hours!" I tried to keep my mind off of it and look at the beautiful scenery out our window! Luckily the bus stopped about 2 1/2 hours in to fill up on gas and give everyone a potty break!! YEAH! So I skipped my way over to the bathroom, which was in the store, and as soon as Maren and I got into the store it REEKED like a porta-potty! Oh my goodness it stunk so bad... I thought, "Oh I'm good, I don't HAVE to go to the bathroom... right?" I made my way back into the bathroom and I can't even explain the smell! Oh gag! I opened a stall and went to sit.... sit on what? Umm where is the toilet... OK PEOPLE WHERE IS THE TOILET? What the heck is this stream running through all the stalls?! Oh my goodness camping has never sounded so blissful right now! I am not... I repeat NOT, going to use the bathroom like this. Ok so after I used the bathroom...... Maren and I practically ran back to the bus! That was a horrifying experience! Ugh gross! Other than that experience the bus ride was actually really fun! We got to see beautiful fields lined with rows and rows of corn and rice! In almost every field was an older person, with one of those triangle hard hat things on, with a straw basket on their back working in the fields! It was such a neat experience to see such dedicated people working. I looked at the size of these fields, and that alone made me too tired. Most of the people working looked like they were about 60 years old! It's crazy how they are still so limber and have the ability to work when they are so old.

We got into Dali around 1:30 p.m. and headed to our hotel. From the pictures online, this hotel that we were staying at looked so nice and really modern! The car ride from the bus station to the hotel was about 20 minutes and I kept thinking, "Ok so if I were a really nice and modern hotel where would I be right now?" Every building that we passed, I swear, had mud walls (ok not really, but they this place wasn't looking like the pictures we saw online). About 20 minutes later we pull up to this old looking building and the driver shuts the car off... "UHH hold on here! Where is this hotel? Oh man I think we are getting robbed!" The driver helps us get all of our baggage out of the trunk and we head into this building. "Oh man I'm totally going to be sleeping in the mud or something.. I know it!!" As soon as we turned the corner and walked into this hotel, it threw me for a loop! "Holy crap this is a really nice place!" Right when you walked in, there was a waterfall with fish in the pond. We walked into our rooms and saw a king-size bed with massive lights hanging from the ceiling. The bathroom had a toilet "Oh blessed day!" And the shower was absolutely gorgeous! Wow this is actually nicer than the pictures!

I couldn't get a very good shot with my camera 

After we got all of our luggage in the rooms and laid down for a bit, we went out and started exploring Dali. We went down the street and rented bikes for $1.50 for the whole day! Jeff, Maren and Kyle all got regular bikes and I got a bike that had a seat on the back for Mason. We could not figure out how to keep Mason in the seat, and I didn't feel comfortable putting him in there and praying that he doesn't fall out. So we switched bikes where now all 4 of our bikes are the same and I had Mason strapped on the front of me, it's not the safest but I felt like it was a lot safer than putting him in the seat.

Photo courtesy from Maren
After we got the seating with Mason worked out, we were off to explore! It was so fun! We headed towards a lake. On the way there were lots and lots of fields to our right and to our left. It was so pretty. As we were riding I put my hand out and touched a lot of the bushed on my left, little did I know what was in them!

Photo courtesy of Maren

 Oh my goodness! These things were EVERYWHERE! It was a wall of web on both sides of the road! And they weren't little either! I mean if one of these were in the road, it wouldn't surprise me if it caused an accident! (Well if I was driving it would cause an accident)

We finally made it to the lake and it was so pretty. You looked across the lake and there was a city up on a hill. There were men on the dock that had about 30 foot fishing poles! I swear they could cast a line across the lake! I have never seen fishing poles that big!


Right outside the dock there were a few stands that had piles and piles of dried fruit and lots of nuts! Since moving to China, I have really started to love dried banana's so we bought a bag at this stand:

Photo courtesy of Jeff
We then went on a hunt to find a restaurant that sat on the lake. It was called 1969 (or something like that). We went through grass and peoples backyards trying to find this place. We finally found it and went and sat on the top of the restaurant and watched about 20 woman dance in costume. It was cool

Our shoulders started getting tired from carrying Mason, so here is a bad parent award, we decided to put him in the front basket... and the funniest part is that Mason LOVED it!! We were all cracking up when Kyle would ride down the road and we would see this sweet little baby just chilling in the front!

That night, since this holiday in China is called "Moon Festival" our hotel provided peanuts, fruit, soda, and moon cake on the roof of the hotel so that we could sit out and watch the moon. It was very pretty on the top of the hotel!

Photo courtesy of Jeff 
 The second day we all headed up to the base of a mountain to ride a gondola to the top! Before we headed up the gondola, there was a little city at the bottom with a lot of neat buildings who looked really old. So we walked around and took a lot of pictures in there and then headed to the gondola. At the bottom of the mountain we were at 3,000 feet and when we got to the top we were around 13,000!! It was a very neat experience! At one point we were going through some really thick fog and all we could see is the cable that we were on, nothing else! It was almost an eerie feeling!

At the front gates

This, apparently, was a game they played

Cool door handle!

I didn't understand why everyone was touching this guys nose, so after we took the picture Kyle asked a guy why he touched his nose and he said, "Oh cause he has a big nose like you American's..." Oh ok thank you!

Oh happy day! I found cotton candy! I was excited and I think Mason was too... or tired :)
Getting on the gondola!

Can't see!

At the very top of the mountain!
When we got to the top, we had to feed Mason and, like usual, everyone was starring at Mason. It is really hard to go throughout your day and do your usual stuff when everyone around you stares and wants to touch this little baby. I feel like everyone is judging me when he cries, cause not only are all eyes on Mason anyway but now he is crying and now all eyes are on me and how I will handle him crying! Anyway so we get to the top and after I feed Mason we walked around. It was funny because they were selling Oxygen up there!
Photo courtesy of Maren

The third and last day that we were there was by far my favorite day! We rented these little motor scooters and drove around the city. Jeff and Maren rented their's from a guy on the road and we borrowed ours from the hotel. I'm not sure what was wrong with our scooter, but it went from 0 to 5 MPH in about 5 minutes! haha oh man there was actually one time we were going through a little tunnel and I was helping Kyle by pushing off the wall with my hand! Kyle kept saying, "Why do we get the slow one! I can't believe that we have to Flintstone our way through Dali!" I was cracking up on the back! We started out by driving up and seeing 3 really old temples called the 3 Pagoda's. It was kind of expensive to go through the gate and look inside of them so we stayed on the outside and took pictures. Then our plan was to drive out of Dali a ways, but since Kyle and I were practically walking, about 20 minutes in this drive we decided to turn down a random road and head towards the lake again. It was the best choice we made this whole trip! It was absolutely beautiful! On both sides of this little dirt road was miles and miles of fields and workers! I kept telling Kyle that I feel like we are driving in a picture and we are controlling the focal point! It was so pretty!! At the end of the dirt road we rode through this really old town. There were so many really old people! There was one guy that we stopped and asked him how old he was and he said, "80 something." And almost every single one of them were still up and being active!! We went down every possible road in this old town just trying to get to the lake, there was one time we went down this little alley that turned into a dead-end and this lady stopped us and said, "No turn around this is my living room!" haha We rode on this dirt road for about 1 hour and Kyle said the funniest quote that made me crack up all day long! After riding on the road for about 45 minutes our legs and butt's were numb but we couldn't get over this view!! So Kyle says, "I don't even care that my tailbone is in my throat right now, this is gorgeous!" haha

I never would have thought that I would ever take my child on a bike without a helmet or on a scooter without a seat-belt, so don't think that I am this parent who puts their child in danger. I swear we made sure that everything was safe before we did things with Mason. And I think that driving a scooter at 5 mph was safer than walking on the side of the road.

The 3 Pagoda's 

Fields on the side of the dirt road we drove down

This was a trip that I will always remember! It was a trip where there was hardly any down-time and with a child, I thought that it was going to be really difficult but Mason did an amazing job! He would sleep when we was tired and when he was hungry he would eat really well! He did an amazing job on the bus ride as well! We are so lucky to have this sweet little person be apart of our family! He is only 6 months old and he is already an amazing person!