Hi Friends and Family!
Correction: I wrote about the homeless men who sleep on the street each night. I found out a couple days ago that they are not homeless after all. They are migrant construction workers that live in the "shanti" area down the street. I guess their little cement block houses are so hot to sleep in that they prefer to sleep on the sidewalk. That makes sense now...they gather and talk on their mats, smoke a cig, some read with a flashlight and are gone early in the AM - off to work to one of the many construction sites.
OK, on to our River Rafting Adventure...Last Saturday we woke up early, got on a big bus (with no bathroom) for a three hour ride to Hangzhou with a bunch of other teachers and their kids. (150 people from all three campuses) We stopped once at some squattie potties along the way. We also bought some Chinese snacks - Pringles and sweet potato chips. Yum! It was fun looking out the window and talking with teachers near our seats. Hangzhou is beautifully green - countryside with lots of trees. As pretty as it is; I'm really glad we live in Shanghai. I'm more of a city girl than I realized. I LOVE walking everywhere -kind of like Kirkland x 1,000 (with no water and a lot more urine). Once we arrived at the river (don't remember the name)we jumped on some bamboo carts pulled by water oxen (or buffalo??) which took us down to the river. Everyone got a life jacket - made in China - with a few broken straps and one size fits all. (I was surprised they had life jackets at all...quote from Hailey "I love this place (China), there are no rules anywhere." Yikes.) Since it was another nice hot day we we happily walked onto our bamboo raft and took a seat on the bench. From this point on it was one big water gun fight. So strange and funny...the Chinese LOVE to play and play silly! Yes, there were 150 of us, but lots of other Chinese families and friends floating down this lazy river (hoping not to get Guardia) all spraying water at each other with cheap water guns. It was a hoot! Our raft rocked! With Joey and Hailey at the head - we were a force to be reckoned with! I was laughing so hard and trying to keep my mouth closed the whole time so I wouldn't get water in my mouth and get sick, all while being super spayed in the face. Got lots of river water everywhere else...so far, so good - no sickness. (Joey does have a cold...or maybe it's not a cold after all. Just joking - it's a cold, Mom. He's fine. :)) We went down a couple little "waterfalls" all guided by our Chinese gondolier with a bamboo pole. Once we arrive at the end of the ride; we were greeted by big hamster balls that you can go inside and try to run around on the river. We bargained and both kids got a try for a couple bucks. After that we had a BBQ, went up in a hot air balloon ride (well, Joey did) and Hailey and I rode horses...all for a couple bucks. It was like some sort of Chinese amusement park - haunted house, carnival atmosphere...all in the middle of the trees - very commercial and silly - but fun. We were soaked the whole time and did not bring any cameras/phones due to the wet river ride, so we don't have any pictures to prove our crazy day is fact. We just used some soggy money to play. Long bus ride home - all fell asleep, stopped at the squatties again - and back home to scrub, shower, sanitize every part of our body. What a fun day!
****Question of the day: Why do many Chinese men, especially taxi drivers, have a super long thumb nail and pinky nail...they all do. What's up with that? I will find out and let you know.
*****Another question of the day: Can we just take the "apartment cat" from outside and will no one care? (We'd take it to the vet first...he/she is a real lover kitter!?!?)
OK - off to bed. Work is crazy busy and I don't want to talk about it. We love our principal and all is well - we just feel "behind the eight ball" since we could only get into our room a couple days before school started...having to make up for lost time in the classroom, but would rather just play all day. xo Prayer Request: Healing for Joey and hope that no one else gets his nasty cold. Thanks!