Seriously, you cannot cut out any more middle men than this...unless you are going to go the cotton fields and bargian prices for the materials to make the fabrics. The ties are not just constructed here, the material is made here....and on that note...let me just say that safety standards in China are not quite up to par with those of America...we walked right into the giant factory floor where the fabric was being made. Huge machines making fabric with gigantic moving parts...all which could gobble you up an spit you out as a beautiful necktie if you got too close...but guess what? the door was wide open, and as we walked right in to walk around and look at the machines and what fabrics they were spitting out, we were greeted by several smiling faces and sweeping gestures as if to say, "please, make yourself at home with this monsterous, man-eating machines!" Which of course...we did!
Hard at work... (see those blue books...just a few of the many swatch sample books...)
Some ties left over from the last group/company that came to haggle...
A sneak peak of a few of our selections... (these we were still deciding over, so some are a go, and some went the way of the Dodo...)
Ties ready to be shipped somewhere in the world..
Shrimp with eyeballs... a favorite of my parents
Mom and I...
Chicken...always a safe bet, right? WRONG! On top, the foot...inside... EVERYTHING ELSE!!!
I forgot to include this yesterday. Sometimes the pearls grow into the oyster shell, so it looks like this. They are not salvagable as pearls. But some of the prettiest jewelry I saw came from Mother of Pearl...which is the shell. I was looking at some jewelry in one of the shops and the Chinese lady said..."Uh...that is made from Pearl's Mommy"
This statue was in our hotel lobby. And everywhere we went had something like this. Every single one had a plate of fruit at Buddha's feet. Now, I am certainly not trying to be disrespectful with this question, but I really don't know... Obviously, a Buddha statue does not actually eat the fruit...so is it someones job to go around each night when no one is looking and take the fruit, to make it look like he ate it? Or do they just replace it each day, hoping that one day he will be hungry enough to eat it...and on that fateful day...there better be fruit at his feet!!?!?!
Can anyone help me with what this possibly could have been mis-translated from? seriously??
You see this all the time...
This is hard to read but it was the sign in the all the taxi's...my favorite part is "No Psychotics or Heavy Drinkers allowed in this taxi."
One last tidbit...you saw people selling baskets of these fruits EVERYWHERE in China. I found out from the nice Isreali woman that I shared a plane ride (and a good cry) with, that it is only grown in this part of China, and only is harvested during June. They look like they have been rolled in little seed-beads, but they tasted delicious. Kind-of like a cross between an orange and a strawberry!
Bags 0f pearls...this is just one teeny tiny little shop among thousands mind you...
Crayfish I think...shrimpish
And a Chinese favorite...EELS!!!
Sorry to say...I was going to try to be adventurous on this trip...but turns out I'm just a wuss. Turns out my parents are too...so here is what we actually ate...
From the picture these looked like Eggroll type things...they were actually stuff with something very long and stiff...not sure if it was animal, vegetable, or mineral. The outside wrapper was also quite tough... and VERY spicy!
Extremely soggy green beans that were actually quite good if you drank a gallon of water after every bite...5 ALARM SPICY!!!
Oh, I forgot to mention, after he took us to lunch, he got us seated...and left! I guess it is tradition to by someones lunch, but rude to eat with them! Strange! We called his cell phone when we were done and he picked us back up.
No, I am not lying.
Let me start by saying that this trip was extremely awesome! Not "awesome" as in "WOW! That was some Awesome sightseeing and historical touring that I did while in China!" More like, "I am full of Awe of many things after that trip to China!" There are at least 100 things I want to blog about, all of which are "awesome" but first I have to tell about my last 3 and a half days!
On Wed. midday we headed to the airport in Huang-Zho. I was flying to Beijing to catch a flight to LA, and my parents were flying to Tianjin, where they live, to pack up and get ready to head back to the states also. So, I was seriously NOT worried at all when we said our goodbyes and went to separate terminals in the airport....here is an exerpt from the first email I sent Dave about this day...
All around, this day has been pretty sucky. Rode a bus for two hours from Iy'Wu to Huang- Zho, said goodbye to my parents and boarded my plane. Sat on the tarmac for an hour before having to unload and wait in the airport. Beijing was having a dust storm so we couldn't fly there. I'm not going to lie...I shed a few tears. I wasn't even trying to cry...the tears just kept rolling down my cheeks. I knew I was going to miss my flight in Beijing to LA...which means another day away. I cried with a nice Israeli women, because NO ONE from Air China spoke English, and EVERYONE from Air China was doing their very best to ignore us, and our tears. Then some Isreali guys who spoke Hebrew, English and Chinese finally got someone to help me. He first got the story in Hebrew from the Isreali women, who told him my whoas of missing my flight out of Beijing as well. He then preceeded to yell at any and all of the AC staff in Chinese until someone finally helped us (with his translations) Of course I missed my flight to LA...
Once in Beijing, 4 hours late, I was jerked around for 2 hours before finding someone at Air China that helped me re-arrange my ticket (couldn't get out until the next day at 9pm) and get me set up in a hotel. Let's just say this hotel is for people who are stuck at the Beijing airport, and they are not trying to do anyone any favors as far as customer service is concerned ...because none of us will ever be staying there again if we can help it. By the time I got into my hotel room it was 2:30 am.
Here is an exerpt from my next email to Dave...
I slept till 9 this morning...since I didn't get to bed till 2:30. At least I am feeling well rested. I don't think I am going to leave the hotel. Does that make me a major loser? My parents are staying in Tianjin to finish up packing... Im sure it would not be a big deal to take a taxi downtown to the pearl market and buy some cool stuff, but I just worry (you know me...) in a city of 15 million, a girl who speaks no Chinese could get pretty lost. Plus I don't have a ton of money...and I worry about getting stuck or some other unforseen expense again! My experience in Haung- Zho of total lack of understanding and no one giving a rats rear end scared me a little...
I got downstairs to ask about Breakfast just as it was closing, so they let me in, but there wasn't much left. I had shrimp fried rice, two dinner rolls, and a some watermelon. I think there is complimentary lunch, but who knows? My luggage had to stay at the airport unless I wanted to wait a few hours for someone to try to find it (since it was supposed to be checked all the way to LA) so I have no toiletries, toothbrush, make up, hairbrush etc. I do have a chance of clothes though, so that's good. There is a complimentary toothbrush and comb here, so I guess I will be okay.
Why in the world this crappy hotel had a computer in every room, I will never know, but it is how I kept myself occupied for the next 10 hours, since the television didn't work, and no one could understand what I was trying to tell them when I explained it. Here is an experpt from my next email to Dave...
Wow. The longer I am here, the stranger my experiences get... I went down to see if they had complimentary lunch. The conversation I had with the front desk is a funny story itself, but remind me to tell you later. Anyway, I was taken to a tiny room (smaller than Jaxon's bedroom I think) with 3 small tables...one against each wall. Both were occupied, one by an older chinese guy, and one by an older chiense guy and a monk. They sat me down, and then totally ignored me for 10 minutes (I watched my watch). The Chinese guys were all talking and staring at me...and I had nothing to do but look at my hands. It was very uncomfortable! finally I started asking, "Can you help me?" they would smile and bow and run away. Well, the two other tables of guys left (they had been eating MOUNTAINS of food) and they brought a young (20-30 yr old) Chinese guy into this small room (mind you, there is a very large restuarant room where I ate breakfast) and sat him at my table! There are two empty tables in this tiny room, but we are sitting together-across from each other at a tiny table...! They ignore him too. then a European group of 3 comes in, they are sat, given menus brought drinks, and totally attended to. WHAT THE CRAP?! So 15 minutes has gone by and I am getting a little frusterated. I say, "Excuse me!" And I spread my hands and open my eyes wide like, where is mine???" She looks scared and runs away. So I try the same thing with the next girl that comes in (bringing food to the Europeans) and she too runs away. About 4 minutes later, they bring in the tiniest plates to me and the Chinese guy. It is boiled cabbage on one, and stirfried cauliflower on the other, and a bowl of rice. Then they leave. Now I get it...those other people are paying for their meals....and let's just say Air china doesn't fork out the big bucks to accomodate it's clients! Ah well, I ate my rice and cauliflower, skipped the cabbage, and just had a granola bar in the room. In his defense, I think the young Chinese guy at my table was even more uncomfortable than me. So we left about the same time, and get in the same elevator. I go to the 5th floor and him to the 6th- of course, total, uncomfortable silence. I went to my room, and of course, now my key card doesn't work! So I go back to the elevator, and catch it on the way down..guess who is back on? Even he had to smile a little at this. Guess his key card didn't work either!
Okay, I'll try to keep it short from here. I went to the Beijing airport 3 hours early just to be safe. Got my boarding pass, had a "Coke Light" and a good book, and settled in. After 3 hours I realized we were no where near boarding, and came to find out our flight was delayed. Two hours later we were in the air. Flight- not bad. Arrived in LA at 8:00pm on Friday night...wouldn't cha know...the exact time my SW flight was taking off for Phoenix. After retrieving luggage, going through customs, and security, and a bus ride to a new terminal, I was at the SW ticket counter. No more flights out to Phoenix...on ANY AIRLINE. Dejected, I took a tram to the nearest Airport hotel and checked in for yet ANOTHER night away from home. Ate dinner alone at the hotel bar, and watched TV in my room until 2:00am (which in my defense was 5pm China time, and I had slept about 9 hours through "The night" (China's night) on the plane. My wake up call came bright and early at 4 am, and I was back at the airport. Caught my SW flight no problem., and Dave picked me up at the Phoenix airport at 9:15 am...just 4 hours later, we went back to pick up my parents who had left China 2 days after me! As a final note, I did make $200 dollars on the SW flight home, but that my friends, is a story for another day!
And one last tidbit...today Jaxon and I met Dave for Lunch at Crackers (YUM!) Jaxon fell out of, or with, his chair 4 TIMES! Yes, that's right, 4 TIMES!
The first time, the chair fell over backwards and he fell with it. He landed on his belly and cried because he was scared/embarrassed. EVERYONE in the restuarant was concerned for us.
The second time this exact same thing happened, he jumped right up, laughed and said, "OOPS!" through a very red face. EVERYONE in the restuarant was concerned about our parenting skills.
The third time Jaxon was sitting on his feet and tried to hop off his chair- so he fell right over the side and splatted on his belly. The two men next to us said, "You really outta get that kid a safety net!" EVERYONE in the restuarant was concerned about Jaxon's equalibrium.
The Fourth time he was sitting on his knees, and when he went to get off his chair, his foot got stuck in the back, so he fell out onto his head/face, with his foot still stuck in the chair. This time the guys next to us said, "What on earth is that kid drinking?" EVERYONE in the restuarant was hoping we were leaving, and that we weren't going to be sueing over any damages done to Jaxon during lunch!
NEVER a dull moment!
M: "Do you understand???"
J: "YES! I understand! I'm THE BOSS of understanding!"
M: "What am I the boss of?"
J: "You're the boss of putting me in time out!"
..."Oh yeah, and I'm the boss of spilling EVERYTHING...and your the boss of making cookies with me....but I still get to help stir!"
And I got stung by a bee this morning, right on the big toe. I was actually kind of excited, because my sister is petrified of bees, and is ingraining the terror in her children, so I was excited to show her that I only got a little welt, and didn't die...even a little.
Today Jaxon and I were playing in his room. He picked up his "Daddy" (regular) Book of Mormon and started "reading"
"Henny Faddur loved his family. Then he found Nephi, then they got the brass plates, then they left. Nephi was a baby but then he grew up. His brothers tried to kill Nephi and then he ran away."
( I need like baby baby...0-12 months, not the 2-4T Children's place...)
A few recent cuties:
helping mom make cupcakes...
Helping me grind wheat for bread...(I know, I'm a real suzy homemaker)
Trying to watch Television with his new Spider Man Sunglasses on...