Saturday, November 14, 2009

Where are we, exactly?

We've been treated in the last week to some true winter weather . . . making me believe that perhaps we suddenly got teleported back to Minnesota or something! We woke up last Wednesday to steely gray skies and the threat of snow. It began to rain/sleet later in the afternoon and continued overnight, so that we woke up to a magically transformed winter wonderland on Thursday. SNOW DAY! The snow was supposed to keep on falling so we decided to cancel our day's regular activities and stay home, cuddle up in jammies and blankets, and drink hot drinks. This was only the third accumulating snowfall that has come to this city in the six years that we've lived here! Truly a rare occurance. We enjoyed it for all its worth! The girls and John went out to play and were joined by some other friends in the neighborhood; they had a great time making a snowman, throwing snowballs, and of course came in soaking wet with bright red cheeks. FUN times! I don't think I realized how much I miss the Minnesota snows until we experienced a bit of it this week!

But the pictures I wanted to share today came from a few weeks ago, when we were also wondering if we were still in a large, populous country in Asia. As a part of the national games, we went to see a baseball game. Yes, baseball. Largely unknown in this country, we were almost the only fans at the game, the others present were either volunteers or security people. The teams were very unequal; the capital city's team was playing the second string team of a much smaller province. The score reflected it--the capital city won in 6 innings, 15-1. (There must have been a mercy rule.) But we enjoyed our outing to a baseball game, despite feeling a little silly cheering loudly when no one else was saying a word. At one point, while we were cheering (for the underdog, of course!), the security guy next to me said (literally translated): "I see but I can't understand." I was going to try to explain the rules of baseball to him but didn't think I could manage the specialized vocabulary!

Here's the park, on an unusually beautiful, clear-sky fall day! We so rarely see this kind of clarity--smog is a constant issue where we live. But that makes us enjoy the clear days all the more!
Batter up!
Enjoying some Jelly Belly's (left over from our Hong Kong trip) while watching the game. Let's face it, my girls enjoyed the snacks much more than the game!

Chloe and I take a moment for a picture.

After a delicious lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant, we made our way to an equestrian event that afternoon. I don't know anything about this sport! But after watching about 20 horses compete, we learned! This was a hush-hush event, they even requested that everyone stay seated while the horses were competing. The event was called "horse dancing" and the riders led their horses through a series of paces that included a special kicking up of the heels that looked like the horse was dancing. It was interesting, and the horses were so beautiful! My girls were fascinated at first, but then, let's face it, it was the snacks that got them through!

Again, very few specatators. But the surrounding scenery was amazing! This arena was set up in the mountains and with the sky so clear, we could see for miles! Beautiful! Just got a little chilly, though, as the afternoon advanced and the wind picked up.

What a great experience, so very unlike anything we've ever done before in this country! It made us wonder a bit if we were really still here . . .but indeed, after a long day out, home was waiting for us just 30 minutes away by taxi. It was a fun and interesting day!

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