I decided to separate today's two major experiences.
As Bart said we did tour 'Old Beijing' today. The rickshaw ride was really neat. I felt overwhelmed by the living conditions in this area. Cindy kept telling me that this was the wealthy area. Loren and I rode together. We saw things that made us think extreme poverty. I think that owning anything in this area puts you in a higher class. There was trash everywhere. The homes look like brick huts and very rundown. Many had businesses in the front but they too were rundown and quite dirty. People had laundry hanging out everywhere. We could see into the alleys and living areas and every once in a while we saw something nice, but mostly pieced together and rundown. Not at all like the wealthy areas in America.
I cannot imagine living in a place where people can see into your house and yard (tourists) and that is okay. I felt bad taking pictures of the one home we toured and it was 'fixed up' for tourists. As Bart mentioned, it was supposedly worth 40 million Yuan (6 million American.) I say supposedly because the area was so small and rundown I can't imagine paying anything for it much less such an outlandish price. I felt like giving them money, that's how bad it looked to me...and they were the wealthy ones sitting on a 6 million dollar asset. I do not have 6 pennies to rub together right now and I wanted to give them money...things are different here, that is for sure.
Cindy told me that they make their children's (especially babies) clothes with a split in the seam of the pants so that they do not have to use diapers, they can go to the bathroom whenever they need to, wherever they are. I saw a child like that today, in fact because of the way he was sitting, I can tell you he was definitely a boy. Around the house can understand but last night I saw a little boy dressed like that in the Pizza Hut. Again, I knew he was a boy...So, how does that work? Is he free to go wherever he wants?
Or does he know when to go and when not to?
On a lighter note, I have finally solved the puzzle of the grocery store. It is crazy and loud. They have a clerk for every aisle...no kidding and they make commission...so they are always trying to get you to buy and don't take no for an answer. Before when I didn't know where anything was, I ended up walking the place 2-3 times to find the waters, cokes, etc. Today I walked in, knew where to go and was out in 5 mins. Whoever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Just don't ask me where anything else is...
Little Miss did daddy's hair today with pink and purple barrettes. He looked so beautiful. She is still engaging us both but will not hold my hand. She wants to hold Cindy's hand and be with her whenever we are together, which makes perfect sense to me because when I see an American on the street around here, I want to run up and hug them, maybe even hold their hand...because they understand me. ~Angie