This past week has been so busy.
Nana Banana has been in town.
So what have we been up to?
Picked mom (Nana Cris) up at the airport on Friday evening. The fog was so thick I was worried her plane wouldn't land. On our way to pick up hubs, I tried to show her around a little but the fog was too thick; we could barely see the buildings on the side of the road.
From the airport we drove to Hub's office, picked him up, and returned home. We ate a lovely dinner (c/o Pung) and played with Chase until she couldn't keep her eyes open.
We awoke early. I showed my mom around the complex. We then went to Starbucks, and then explored the nearby shopping malls (grocery store, children's store, among other stores). We then went to the flower market and paid a quick visit to Eddie the Baker (to pick up the Chasecake). From the flower market, we made a mad dash for home, so that Nana Cris could take her painting lesson. She painted the most beautiful peonies. Following the painting lesson, Nana Cris relaxed with a massage. We then ate Chasecake and sang Happy Birthday one last time to our littlest lady.
Saturday morning I had to make a quick trip to a lady doctor. Just one of those "woman issues" that I had been in denial about because I SO didn't want to go to a hospital here. I was pleasantly surprised that the doctor spoke English. The exam and hospital experience was quite long and complicated, as you have to do everything yourself, and there are three people for every kind of transaction. So, for example, when I went to pick up my perscription (which I swear is a yellow herb and black tea), I had to first get my perscription priced, then pay for it, then pick it up - every time I had to go to a different desk and talk to a different person. And then I had to go back to the doctor to figure out what to do with the stuff.
We then went to lunch at the Spa. Mom enjoyed a lovely sea cucumber and tofu lunch. We then went to a big market, hubs opted out, and it is a good thing he did. Then we went to the art supply store, to buy Nana Cris art supplies.
Next, we picked up Hubs and went to the Dalian Museum of History, where we all learned a lot about Dalian. From there, Hubs went home and mom and I went to the expo center, which happened to have an antiques fair. I bought a lovely jade flower.
That night, Chase learned how to let go (when throwing a ball), and had her first experience drawing with crayons and paper. She enjoyed a bath with colored tablets. She got scared of mom's black sock (because it said "baaaa"), and then she saw her reflection in the glass door - and wondered how she could be outside and inside at the same time.
First up - mom and I took a little stroll by the Yellow Sea. Then off to Dim Sum. Enjoyed a lovely meal at the Shangri-La. Then mom and I hit the underground maze of shops in downtown Dalian, while hubs hit the local bath house. We met up back at the apartment.
Mom talked to our friend, Craig, about teaching and Hubs and I enjoyed a lovely stroll along the Yellow Sea.
Mom was kind enough to do a little baby sitting. Hubs and I enjoyed a nice dinner out. Meanwhile, back at home, our little lady put both her hands into her pasta.
Mom woke up early (before we got up) and explored the great outdoors. She met a Chinese woman and went running with her.
We then explored the mall where Gymboree is located. Nana took Chase to her Gymboree lesson. We rushed home, Chase had a nap. She then had her French lesson. From there, we went swimming and saw a woman with hair down to her ankles. Amazing.
We came home and Chase passed out from exhaustion.
Mom woke up early (again). This time she went to where the Chinese practice Tai Chi.
We set off upon her return to the Temple of the Big Black Mountain. We wove through Dahai Village, and up to Xiangshui Temple (a famous Taoist temple built in the Tang Dynasty - about 618 AD). From there, we went to Shigu Temple (Palace of the Tang Emperor), which was built in at the beginning of the Sui Dynasty (580-618 A.D.).
On our way to the temple, we bought ghost papers (to burn for ancestors), incense (to burn for ourselves) and a bag of goldfish (to release). The fish were blessed before we let them go. Qin, our driver, guided us through the process.
One could also buy birds and turtles to release ...
We burned a lot of incense and lit a lot of candles...
Burned ghost paper...
Drank from the mountain spring...
And then we were off to the next temple ...
For those who are looking for spiritual cleansing, there is a path that winds up the mountain, near the top is an almost 70 degree row of 200 steps. Visitor are supposed to arrive at the temple gates in a state of inner peace. (Don't let this picture fool you, Qin drove us right up to the front door of the temple - I don't think he wanted to walk, and I certainly couldn't have carried Chase all the way up. A big apology to Nana Banana, because she wanted to walk the steps and I didn't let her.)
From there, we drove into the nearest town and enjoyed a big bowl of noodles. Next on the list, Russian Street, which is pretty tacky and garish, but worth a quick stop.
The morning seemed to speed by. We managed to get out of the house with enough time to do a quick lap around the mall, before heading to Gymboree. Nana Banana took the Gymboree class with Chase. We went to the tailor to pick up a lovely wool jacket for mom, and then we were off to a Chinese doctor - so mom could enjoy cupping and acupucture.
So, what will we do tomorrow?