Monday, September 22, 2008

An Adventurous Outing

Last week there was a holiday in our country, so everyone had three days off. Our neighbors thought it would be fun to take us on an outing to the countryside, south of our city, to celebrate the holiday and spend some time together. They offered to arrange transportation and since we have been wanting to get to know them more, we gladly agreed.

Now, an outing in this country usually is an all-day affair where you as a foreigner are never quite sure what might happen to you. In past experiences, people that I know have been in various . . . ahem. . . interesting situations where they were served cicadas, had children that fell into a stream, got taken in a rattletrap vehicle deep into the countryside and eventually had to beg a ride home off a stranger, you know, things like that. I myself have been on some interesting "outings." But, for the sake of adventure (and relationships with our neighbors) we were glad to go. I had packed the bag for the day with tons of wipes and plenty of snacks in preparation for any eventualities.

The actual adventure started the night before, when Clara Anne got sick. She had had a cough with excess mucus that was bothering her, and that night (a Sunday) she kept waking up with this terrible deep cough that was causing her to gag on the yucky stuff and want to throw it up. We put her on the chaise lounger in our room to sleep and she was awake probably every 30-45 minutes, all night long until the early morning where she only woke up once an hour or so. I think I can safely say that in my mothering career, that night set the record for the most times I have ever been up in one single night. So by morning, I wasn't feeling rested, to say the least, but Clara Anne seemed better and like she still wanted to go on our special trip.

We got ready and our next big surprise came in the transportation. Our neighbors had intended to get one big car for us to use, but it fell through somehow and so suddenly we found ourselves being escorted in our neighbors' friends' car, with the friend (whom we had never met) driving, and just our family with him. So much for spending time with our neighbors! Oh well!

Clara Anne had several times of needing to cough and "throw up" on the way there, but nothing that I couldn't manage just with a tissue for her to spit into. Not ideal, but not terrible either. But then she started to moan, saying that she had to throw up again, and even as I prepared the tissues in my cupped hand, she lost her whole breakfast all over the seat, the open bag that I had so carefully packed, her clothes, the stuff in the bag, you name it! I think she just got some motion sickness and couldn't fight it. Argh! Not a fun start to the day!

We had to stop the car to clean up a bit, and after using about 20 wipes and as many tissues we were ready to go again. Thankfully, we were almost there. Our neighbors took us to a park, of sorts, set in the mountains south of our city, that was "dedicated" to several minority groups that live in this country. For example, entering a particular area would show you a certain minority group with their handicrafts laid out, some people from that group wearing their traditional dress, and then the people would put on a small show for us. The concept was a bit odd--like a minority group people zoo or something. But we went along with it . . .

Here's a few pictures from the day. In this one my neighbor is filling me in on all the history of what I'm seeing. (Like our matching hats? They were a gift from the driver-friend!) Christin found it all just mildly interesting and decided to take a nap instead.

This picture is of the Wa minority group. They did some pretty vigorous dancing that involved a lot of tossing of their long hair.
This man, from the Miao people group, climbed this pole whose steps were made of swords. He performed some acrobatic stunts along the way.

These men were from a neighboring province and danced in their traditional costumes while beating on the drums at their waists.

We got a beautiful blue-sky day for our outing. Wow, I sure appreciate blue sky much more now than I ever did in the States!

A family picture near the entrance to the park.

Lou with Chloe. All the grandmothers in the crowd kept giving Chloe snacks, which she happily kept eating!

My neighbor, her son, Clara Anne and I (and Christin) enjoying the time together.

We then went to eat lunch at a true "Family Style" restaurant. This place was set way out in the countryside, with a small cement platform literally next to a small lake. People were fishing and then having the fish cooked by the restaurant for their lunches. All of the vegetables and meat served were raised by that family. The food tasted so amazingly fresh--different even from the vegetables that we get fresh daily in the city. We sat on small foldable stools next to low tables and enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Clara Anne and my neighbor. After lunch we headed back home again (I was surprised! Usually an "outing" lasts much longer!) and so we all arrived home about 3:30pm. It was a nice day and I am glad that we had the opportunity. The beautiful scenery was a real highlight!

1 comment:

The Culbertsons said...

You definitely earn a gold star for the night and day that you had! It will definitely be an experience you will never forget and can share with Clara Anne later!