Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Grand Excursion

Well, we almost missed our chance to visit the Stone Forest today. Thinking that our outing was to begin at 2:30, we were keeping a leisurely pace getting ready for the day. At 8:30, Li called the room and asked if we were coming. Um... yeah. I wasn't dressed yet. Bao's bag wasn't ready. We hadn't even eaten breakfast.

But we grabbed a bunch of stuff and headed out the door. Thanks to Helen who called and woke us up this morning. If it hadn't been for that, we probably wouldn't have been close enough to being ready.

Stone Forest is one of the famous sites in Yunnan Province, and is not one to be missed. We rode about 1 1/2 hours into the mountainous countryside before arriving there. The country was beautiful. It was exactly like what you'd imagine seeing in the Chinese countryside.

We saw rice paddies. We saw corn too. And they planted it wherever they could find a spot to plant it, even if there wasn't much room. And it was planted on the steepest of slopes. I wondered at how a person could even harvest it from such locations.

I was kicking myself for not bringing the video camera.

We saw huge bunches of bananas on top of a flat roof. We saw goats being herded through steep, narrow walkways. We saw acres and acres of farmland.

And every once in a while, we saw people in wide, flat, straw hats working in the fields - loading things onto old trucks or hauling teepee shaped bundles to a nearby pile. I spotted someone walking up a narrow path, carrying a heavy load that was attached by rope to a wooden pole that he carried over his shoulders.

It was the people that made me wonder. I've read a little about the farmers of China. Mostly poor, and some of them desperately so. They make up something like 80% of the population. I thought about how long they work. And I thought about me driving through and catching a glimpse of them on my way to a tourist attraction. They seemed so insignificant surrounded by the huge mountains. I wondered if they felt that way.

And, of course, I wondered if Bao's mama is one of those workers. Did we pass by her today? Does she know Bao is okay? Oh, my mind was wandering all over the place.

Bao did great today. She fussed for her bottle just before we arrived at the Stone Forest. But she took it and was content for the rest of the trip... provided we kept that stroller moving! We spent a fair amount of time seeing the sites and bargaining with the vendors for good prices on the myriad minority handicrafts that were for sale.

Bao slept across my lap and Paul's on the way home. And she seemed to do well for the rest of the night. I am still not able to predict when she wants a bottle or when she wants solid food, but she lets me know she's hungry, and we try whatever works.

The only bummer news we heard today came from the C family. They said that when they booked their flight out of Guangzhou, they were told that no more bassinettes were available. People who purchase lap seats for their infants can request a bassinette to be used in the bulkhead seats. All four families in our group are flying out on the same flight. Which means we will be in the regular seats, holding Bao, for the 5 hour flight. I am hoping that once we go our separate ways in Tokyo, we will be able to get bulkhead seats for our flight into Minneapolis. Holding Bao for 13 hours will not be so comfy, I am afraid.

Tomorrow we visit the orphanage. It will be emotional for me, I am sure. I need to brace myself. And soon we will be leaving Kunming, which makes me sad. I feel like I haven't seen enough or taken enough notes to pass on the Bao some day.

Ah. The child awakes. I must away.

I have posted some more pictures from our outing today. If you want to see more, I have others posted at www.flickr.com or you can click on one of the photos below and it will take you to my photo collection. If you want to find your own way to flickr, you will need to look for the photos posted by PEZmama (that's me.)

Over and out.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I just tell you how much I love being able to read about everything. Thank you so much for allowing us to be able to be a little part of it all. I got to see L last night at the birthday party, she seemed to have a good time. We'll miss you in bible study. I haven't done one yet... don't tell anyone.I've got a lot of work to do. I am addicted to your posts. I'll say some extra prayers for you, I'm sure it will be an emotional day tomarrow. lots of love!!!!!! Shannon E.

Wed Oct 12, 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried the flickr.com and put in PEZmama and it says no pictures. Am I doing something wrong?? I too am addicted to reading about your adventure. I am sure you are tired of my comments too!!!!!!!
see you soon. Beth

Wed Oct 12, 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

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Wed Oct 12, 04:52:00 PM  

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