Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Pet Alley and Chinese Lizards, I mean Medicine

Breakfasts of porridge (Phoebe’s new fav), eggs, pastries, and fried rice and we were off to shop! Rosa (our guide) helped us walk back to the “island” to shop. The journey there (about 15 minute walk) was AMAZING! Right outside our hotel (on the other side of all the shops) is CHINA in its most real form! We kept saying WE ARE AT CHINA (Johnny’s letter) as we walked down dirty crowded streets FULL of interesting things. The first street was full of pets! Bowls and bowls and tanks and cages full of turtles, cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, hamsters, birds, and such. Rosa warned us NOT TO TOUCH anything. Adri and I were laughing thinking it must be pretty bad because it seemed like Johnny was making Rosa so nervous getting SO close to things. All the streets look very old and there is nothing modern looking about anything. Only an occasional truck would venture down the street. About the storefronts are two more stories of the old buildings where all the people live who own and work in the stores.

The next street was the famous Chinese medicine ingredient street. The smells were a bit more friendly than the pet street but still very CHINAish.
Again, it reminds us of tea, spices and sewage. There were bags and bags and bags and bags of TONS of unrecognizable dried things. Mushrooms, berries, shark fins, dried lizards, starfish, dried seahorses, dried snakes, etc. All used in ancient Chinese medicine.

At one point we passed some people who had things like real giant bear claws and animal horns on a blanket. When I took their picture they got mad. I asked Rosa why. She said because those are illegal. No kidding I thought! Tiger claws! LOL! It was fun and crazy. NOWHERE IN AMERICA IS LIKE THIS STREET!!!!! WE ARE AT CHINA.

We try to come back each afternoon so Hope gets a good nap. For dinner we ventured out to a place called The Greenery which served “authentic AMERICAN food.” Not. Even the steaks Daniel and Adri said taste “Chinese.” Lily ate her chicken wings AND finished off the leftover steak on the kids’ plates! The girl loves meat! When the waitress comes to the table she smiles and frantically points to the picture of meat on the menu she wants. I don’t think she got much meat in the big O!

We are in China. There is no getting away from it! We all smell like China. When someone pulls out a piece of clothing that hasn’t been worn yet and smells like America we love it! Don’t get me wrong. I love China! I love the culture, the people, the land and cities. It’s just there are things that are a bit disturbing (like the sanitary restaurant conditions and the bathrooms and sewage systems) that make you miss America big time.

From our hotel window you look out and see many old dirty buildings that look like they are falling down. Then you go downstairs and walk down the same street you were looking at and you see new looking storefronts. It’s a façade. They have come in and remodeled the bottom floors and the entire face of the building but what’s left underneath you can still see from the top. It’s not done right from the inside out….just what you can see. That’s a trend I’ve noticed in China. : ( And it’s something that goes against the way I live and Christianity. It’s not on the outside but what’s inside that counts. China needs God. China needs Jesus. China needs the Truth.

When we pray Lily just giggles and watches us all with heads bowed. I can’t wait to teach her about God and how He rescued her from the orphanage and spoke to us to come get her. She has no idea of His great love for her. This is only the beginning.

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