I suppose any day following a fairytale wedding is anticlimactic, especially one as beautiful as we just had the honor to attend. (http://kaijabeishline.com/2016/06/18/4766/) How could it not be? All the excitement and rush and fuss is over. But we don’t have a reason for post wedding blues! We are just going to kind of take it easy today. We have no mad rush anywhere. This morning we are dedicating some time to lounging about in the hotsprings here at Guoyo Hotsprings Hotel.
The funny thing is that last night when we were lounging around in the hotsprings we never realized that the tubs had random colored water in them. This morning when we go out to the spa we notice some interesting colors in the water.
Oh, I get it…..this tub is full of green tea!
I am not quite sure what to think about purple and bright green water, but it feels good to soak for a while. It is interesting because the workers here intermittently bring us some hot tea to drink. They make you wear these hard plastic slippers that they provide. You take them off when you go into the hotspring pool, but invariably as soon as you hop into the pool a woman sneaks up and straightens out your shoes, making the toes face away from the pool. These workers must be hiding behind some bushes or something watching our every move. After a while we learn to save them the effort and we place our shoes in a perfectly orderly fashion as we enter the pool.
Soon we venture over towards the big pool. Baby Jules goes skinny dipping, as is the baby swimming culture here in China. What the heck, if the kids run around on the streets with bare butts then why not in the pools? If you don’t absolutely adore this little boy, Jules, by now I don’t know what’s wrong. He is so stinkin’ cute!!
You may remember from my previous posting that in China you are required to wear a swim cap when you are in a public pool. Katja sports her cap beautifully.
I think I have told you that everywhere we go people admire little Jules. He is like the life of the party. Everyone wants their child to be photographed with him. Katja in turn gushes over the little Chinese babies and compliments the parents on their darling littles. Sometimes the moms seem surprised that a Caucasian woman thinks that their baby is cute.
We don’t leave the spa until we have these fish eat dead skin off our feet. The problem is that our feet are as smooth as a baby’s butt from the cuppings and massages and body scrubs and hot tubs of various colored concoctions from the day before, so there’s not much dead skin for the fish to eat. I find out if I spread my toes a bit the fish get really hungry……eeeek! I am just kidding! I don’t have disgusting stuff between my toes…..no toe jam…..ouch…..a stupid fish just bit me! Just when the fish start having a great toe jam dinner a lady comes up to us. She is pointing at us and telling us to leave. I am not sure what she wants. After a few minutes we realize that we are supposed to pay money for the fish frenzy. Oops, sorry! We were not able to read the sign!
Speaking about getting out of Dodge! You may remember that we came to Shijiazhuang by fast train from Beijing in about an hour and fifteen minutes. This time we are driving that distance back to Beijing! Our driver seems to have taken on a new tactic today. It’s called “dodge the trucks” on the highway. You see, rather than sit in the slow traffic on the correct side of the highway, our driver decides to take the shortcut in the oncoming traffic lane. You may remember that earlier this week we nearly got killed in a head on collision with an overloaded truck on a mountain road. Well, this time we might get creamed by a dozen or so trucks. Charles gives us the peace sign when we start wigging out about this new game.
We had this same thing happen to us when we were in Egypt some years ago. David and I had gone to Cairo and on one occasion the bus driver decided to go that wrong way on a one way rather than loop around the correct way. When it seemed imminent that we were going to have a head on collision one of the passengers in our minibus screamed. Well, we had an armed guard on this trip with us whom we had nicknamed Bulldog. He wore a big UZI tucked under his trench coat, and whenever we drove through checkpoints he would flash his badge at the guards, and they would wave us on without a question. Well, when this passenger screamed, Bulldog turned around with fire in his black eyes as he peered under his hat. He pointed his pudgy forefinger that had thick dirt caked under the nail at the offending passenger, and barked, “Shut up!” Those were the only words we had heard him utter on the entire trip. Trust me, the passenger shut up and the rest of us all remained shut up, too, no matter how frightening the ride may have been.
Charles tells us that in China they have villages (cities in most countries) that are built around a certain industry. For instance, you might have a city that manufactures a certain product like say soaps and detergents. Or a city that manufactures cyanide. Just kidding, I just made that up. This particular city is quite interesting to some of the passengers in this minibus. We go to a ginormous stone quarry. There’s some pretty cool stuff here. The problem is that I can’t fit anything more in my little suitcase, and especially not large stone slabs.
I think Andrea wants this slab made into kitchen counter tops for their new house project.
I think that the vehicles here are pretty interesting. I like how this woman is holding her child in the seat. He is soooo cute! I will tell you that most of the cars in Shijiazhuang and Beijing are nice and new. I have been hard pressed to get good photo ops like this.
When we break for lunch Katja and I go into a supermarket of some sort. Jules is a celebrity superstar again, as you may well imagine. People gather around the stroller and take pictures of him. Virtually every person that passes him snaps a photo of him on their cellphone.
I love the fake Adidas…..just switch one letter around and you got yourself a pair of awesome shoes!
I found this awesome cake counter. Now you may know that I like to make cakes and kind of get into the whole decorating thing. The Chinese make these cakes with fresh fruit that look incredibley delicious. I love the fruit designs. Who knows if the cakes taste good, but they sure look good! I snap a few photos, but then an angry woman appears out of nowhere and tells me in some kind of aggressive sign language that I am not allowed to take pictures. Maybe she is worried that I will copy their designs. For all she knows I may be a government spy.
When we arrive in Beijing it is late. It took us 9 hours to get here from Shijiazhuang by car. On the contrary going by fast train was one hour and 15 minutes. I will say though that having everyone in the same vehicle allows for the trip to be much more entertaining. Our hotel is right near the airport. Well, let me rephrase that, our hotel is so close to the airport that the planes practically buzz the roof off the hotel. There is literally inches to spare. If you were a WWII survivor you would have PTSD and flashbacks laying here on this bed as the planes roar overhead every few minutes.
Baby Jules is melting my heart. You may be aware that on this trip Katja and I have been sharing rooms, and baby Jules is with us. It has worked out really well, because I can help take care of him while Katja is in the shower or getting ready. Holding him and listening to his baby noises brings back my days of caring for my babies in a most vivid way. The adorable smiles and giggles, the silly antics, the cuteness overload, the baby noises, the pudgy little fingers and toes, the hand gripped tight on my hair and yanking with vigor. Sometimes this little babe would get a hold of my bat wings….you know what I mean…..and pinch me a good one. I think I may have permanent bruises on the back of my flabby arms.
Now I might tell you something that kind of goes against common practice, at least in the United States, although I think maybe it is becoming more acceptable. I remember when I had my first two children I believed adamantly that babies should have their own room or nursery. At night when the child would fuss I would have to literally drag myself out of bed, stumble in the dark to their room, all the while shivering from the cool air that assaulted me as I came out from under my warm covers. Sometimes I would want to just ignore the child, I would pull my covers over my head and I would fall asleep again, only to be jarred awake again from the increasingly frantic wails. I would pick up the child in their own room, and I would nurse them in a chair. I would be falling asleep in the middle of feeding the baby, my neck flopping to the left or the right. Fortunately I never dropped the baby as I was falling asleep sitting up. Then when I had nursed the child I would place them back into their cold crib, and invariably they would wake up and fuss some more. My patience would wear thin. It was miserable.
Fast forward a few years and a few babies, I discovered co-sleeping. My baby would be in a bassinet or pram right next to my bed. As they got a bit bigger there was a crib next to my bed. When they would fuss I would simply reach over and take care of their needs right then and there. No stumbling in the dark, no freezing my buns off, no neck aches from falling asleep in a chair. Sometimes both baby and I would fall asleep in my bed as I nursed him/her, and we would snuggle long into the night.
I almost can’t describe how it feels to have a sleeping baby next to you. Sometimes if the baby was really fussy I would lay them on top of my abdomen and chest, and the baby would fall asleep to my heart beat. I could feel little wisps of breath on my chin as my angel slept soundly, the gentle breaths easing me back to sleep. We would both lay there unmoving for many hours. It seemed during these times that the love in my heart for my baby burned deeper in my chest than ever.
When I would awaken I would have an irresistible urge to admire my baby. My eyes would trace their features, the shape of their little nose, the darling little baby lips, the perfect little ears, the angle of their jaw, the pudgy baby cheeks. My hand would spontaneously reach out as though on its own volition and stroke the baby’s head, brushing their smooth hair aside. I would draw them a little closer. I would admire the babe so much that my heart would ache. I would wonder about their future. How will their life be when they are grown? What will they look like? Will they ever know how much I have loved them, how my heart ached with love when I gazed upon them? Quietly, oh so quietly I would cherish the moment, ever so peaceful…..a moment in time shared by mother and child…..a time of bonding and nurturing before the start of another busy day. Those days have slipped away into distant history.
I don’t think I can even begin to relate with words how much I loved my babies, each one of them. There is no way to describe the incredible surge of passion that flows in a mother’s heart when she holds her baby. I can feel that same intensity of love that Katja has for this little one. I have to say that she is far more consicientious of a baby mama than I ever was. She tends to his every need with diligence and skill that few moms possess, never tiring, never complaining, never losing her patience. She is kind and gentle, always putting him first. Never a moment goes by that she is not aware of him and alert for his needs. As for baby Jules he is such a little angelic child. He rarely fusses. Perhaps that’s partially because his mother takes such good care of him he scarcely has a chance to fuss.
This little heartbreaker….he knows how to melt your heart! I am going to miss him when this trip is over, and I am so glad that he has been such an integral part of my visit to China.
I lay quietly on my bed. I can hear baby Jules breathing softly. He is sleeping soundly, so peacefully. He isn’t aware of it, but he is warming my heart and soul. Sleep tight, little munchkin, for tomorrow is another busy day. We are going to the Great Wall of China! (http://kaijabeishline.com/2016/06/20/4929/)
The gentle breaths of the celebrity baby lull me to sleep.