Entering China by train there is much green country side with few people, the city of Hengyang is a completely different story. There are people everywhere, all the time! I sometimes wonder if anyone works. There are always lines at the local supermarket and no such thing as self check out or express lines.
Our hotel is study in contrasts. The modern glass doors, marble stairs and brass handrails create the illusion of elegance. The rooms however are anything but elegant. The room doors open with a dog tag style “key” that slides into a slot. The electricity can only be operated by a credit card type key inserted into the wall. The rooms are designed for double occupancy, but only one key is issued so roommates better plan well. The hot water heater is mounted to the wall inside the shower and there is no tub, or even wall to catch water thus, the bathroom floor is soaking wet most of the time. The toilet is western style but cannot accommodate toilet paper so that must be discarded in a trash can. The beds look inviting with their plush down comforter and soft pillows, but the “mattress” is only slightly firmer than a table top.
The fifteen of us cause quite a stir walking around town. Lauren, who is 5″11″ really gets stares as the average Chinese person is only about 5″ tall. Yesterday as I walked back to my hotel from the internet cafe a group of little girls, about 8 or 9 years old saw me and started giggling, chasing after me and saying, “hello” “hello”. It was cute. Our brightly colored t-shirts and Bermuda shorts stand out amongst darkly clad Chinese wearing pants. Matching quilted pajama sets worn with high heels are quite the rage now. Many of us are curious as to whether or not that fad will make its way to the states.
Rain. It rains here almost daily. We all pray for the sunshine to come out because we enjoy taking our kids outside. The happy expressions and smiles we receive in return are such a reward. Speaking of kids, toddler age children don’t wear “nappies” or diapers. Instead they are clothed in “split pants” with bare bottoms for ease in squatting wherever is convenient. Interesting concept. Today, the children in the Welfare Centre were wild. I don’t know if it was due to the rain, or the fact that it is Saturday and the routine is different, but several of us got peed on and also cleaned up about four or five puddles off of the floor. We all just smile, do what it whatever needs to be done and scrub down afterwards.
The hotel staff has kindly permitted us to use their washing machine. There are directions posted in English, but they serve little purpose as the washer buttons are all in Chinese. The translation of the directions is hysterical. Apparently this particular machine “moos” after the cycle is complete as opposed to buzzes??? I for one have NEVER heard a washing machine moo. I suppose there is a first time for everything. There are no clothes dryers but instead a “drying room” which is strewn with rope. With the wet climate my blue jeans are sure to take several days to dry completely.
On a random note, one of my babies, Dow Dow who is about six months old cannot hold her head up well. This morning I awoke with her on my heart. The Lord reminded me that babies need tummy time and these babies are always on their back. After a morning of tummy time precious Dow Dow had her little head just a movin’. That made my heart so happy.
Tonight our team leader is taking us further into the city for some “western” food. There is a McDonalds, KFC and pizza buffet. We are quite excited. The Chinese food is very good but some of the team members (Lacey) really miss American food. Tomorrow the team has a day off from the orphanage. The plan is to travel by bus to a sacred mountain about 1.5 hours from here. After that we hope to do some shopping in the local market.
Until tomorrow. . .