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2.13.2007

A walk in the park

Figuratively or literally... I'm not sure ;) Kristi had the chance to go purse shopping with some of the other mothers on the trip and I guess they figured that the deals would be so good that they would need both arms to bring them all back. So, I got a great chance to take my favorite little girl on an outing. So, I strapped on the carrier, buckled up Kylie (the way daddy walks sometimes it's a good thing that the carrier is a 5-point harness!), and headed out.

I wandered down to the lobby to pick up a map of the area around the hotel (I figured that if nothing else I'd walk around a block or two) and wouldn't you know it... I happened to pass by the Starbucks. Now, mind you, Starbucks IS in our hotel, but not exactly close to the lobby. So, frappacino in hand, a stir stick for Kylie and the map of Guangzhou in my back pocket and we were off. I noticed that there was a park with a very large lake just a couple blocks away and headed in that direction. Along the way there was one major street to cross, which means navigating a pedestrian underpass. Unfortunately, the stairs I went down doubled back on themselves and had a slight bend. That means that by the time I was in the underpass I was already turned around and wasn't sure which of the other 3 exits was the right one! So, I picked one... and was wrong. I popped up on the diagonal corner from where I wanted to be... oops! Back down through and I found the right one. Not that Kylie minded (or knew for that matter). So long as you keep walking she's thrilled! This is one girl who LOVES to be on the move.

Another half block and I found the entrance to Liuhua Lake Garden (a 5 Yuan entry fee ~ 60 cents). This lake is quite big for being in the middle of a city of 10 million people, but they have done a great job of landscaping and decorating for Chinese new year. Kylie was already drifting off to sleep so I slowed down the walking pace and just strolled the bank and bridges. At first I would smile and nod to the many people we passed who took quite the notice of the two of us. Then I figured that perhaps to make all of us more comfortable I would wander in semi-obliviousness and let them stare at the two of us. We passed by flowers, and old Banyan trees, gazebo's, bridges, and many little peaceful resting spots on our walk. Some tree-lined walks, some sunny. At one point we passed an area for 'fitness' and saw folks playing badminton, ping-pong, and a variety of 'playground' type equipment for stretching and limbering up (mostly used by grown-ups!).

It was a wonderful and quite serene walk. When the breeze started to pick up I was quite glad since the 22 pound furnace on my chest had us both sweating profusely! Of course, in addition to her long sleeved onesie, t-shirt and long pants, I had opted to wrap a blanket around her for fear of the baby fashion police. Once the breeze picked up I gently draped the blanket over her head to help her stay asleep. As we continued the walk I started to pass this elderly woman who was walking on her own and she walked right up to me and started talking. I had not a clue what she was saying, but I could see her motioning to Kylie and looked down. Kylie was completely covered (including her head and feet) except for about 3 inches of one forearm and her hand. I pulled a corner of the blanket up over her hand which seemed to satisfy this woman who walked on slightly shaking her head. I can only imagine what was going through her mind. You can guess what went through my mind as I walked on... dripping in sweat and yet afraid to uncover the now-thoroughly-soaked child on my chest.

As I neared the entrance that I came in I heard the familiar calliope tunes of "London Bridge", "Happy Birthday", "Lullaby", "Yankee Doodle" and a few others that were familiar but that I couldn't put a name to. It was neat to think that they have ice-cream trucks here too that badly play the same cheesy tunes.... until I noticed it wasn't an ice-cream truck.... I wish that I had had the video camera to show the municipal plant watering truck driving by playing children's toons while hosing down all the plants in the median... odd....

Apparently the park is a favorite spot for folks to have their wedding pictures done as I saw one photographer with 2 couples on the banks! He was alternating between the two, taking wedding photos. The couples were both dressed in all white, and with all the flowers and the new-years decorations it was a beautiful sight.

As we headed back towards the hotel to find Mommy, Kylie asked to stop by McDonalds (Mi-Dong-Lao in Chinese) so that Daddy could have a cheeseburger (she is a VERY thoughtful child). As we headed up the stairs I was tickling her face with her blanket and she laughed and giggled the whole time we were there. She was quite the star of McDonalds!

We stopped in the hotel garden for a few pictures before heading back up to the room. Marissa's Mom and sister passed by and we may go out and play with them at the playground in a few minutes.
Who can resist that cheeser... not me!

4 comments:

Aunt Traci said...

Awe! Sounds like Kylie is so sweet! She encourages daddy to indulge in every American way possible! Coffee, cheeseburgers... I am just suprised she didn't ask you to get ice cream too! :) Sounds like you had a nice little walk. Hope Kristi had a successful shopping trip! :)

Allison said...

We, too, were deceived by the underground passageways!
Glad to see everything is continuing to go so well! I love those smiley pictures of Kylie.

Anonymous said...

Hey Yall,
All three look so Happy!
Thanks for posting all these pictures. That pretty young girl makes you older folks look good too.
Be well and be Blessed with a safe trip home,
Mike and Ant Nannard

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for you guys! I've been following your journey from so far away. Can't wait to see Kylie in person. Enjoy the rest of your trip. OH-I finally sent my square and wish to your house!
Keep taking all those great close-ups so all of us back in the states can enjoy the memories too!
Leticia Warren