Jul 31, 2012

Half a Tale and a Beautiful Town.

There are so many things I wish I could tell you, little blog of mine. 

But alas, sometimes the most heart-wrenching, uplifting, glorious, or harrowing tales go untold or half-told because of security reasons, censorship necessities, personal privacy (not that I have much concern of this), not wanting to cause unnecessary concern for my family, or in the interest of friends whose lives shouldn't be spelt out on the internet (even in a small corner such as my own).

Censoring is hard for me, still, after years of blogging. I want to write everything. Lay it all out there in New Times Roman 12 font so that my grandkids know that I was once-upon-a-time in Chi.na rocking out the best I knew how. 

Alas, I have stumbled upon yet another life experience that prob shouldn't be google-able. But oh man is this story good. I have to document. So, dear blog, you get half a tale. A statement without a story. Meant only to spur on your imagination and remind me of my own memory. 

Here goes: 

Yesterday, I drove a Mercedes on the highway in Chi.na. 

I don't have a Chinese drivers license and I don't know how to drive stick.

It was not a "joy-ride" it was a "safe-your-life" ride. (And I refuse to drive with a Chin.ese person in the afternoon if they have not had a nap ever again. Because this was the second time in a few months that I have thought I was going to die at the hand of a sleeping Chine.se driver.)

Ok, now that I have told my half a tale, let's get on with the real reason for this post! Yesterday's day trip to the beautiful water town of Xitang.

There are a few American girls visiting from the hospital in Cali that works with my hospital here in HZ, so the hospital has organized a million activities to keep them occupied during their stay. One of the girls' mom has a high-up position in the hospital, so the Chi.nese hospital is bending over backwards to impress/accomodate her. Mostly unbenownst to the girls. 

It is funny to see both sides of "culture exchange" and business practice. The girls expressed to me that they feel smothered and that a lot of the interaction is contrived, while my Chine.se peeps have expressed to me that they are stressed and feel nervous about handling the girls' visit. It's funny to council both sides. I tell the Americans that the C.hinese only want them to be safe and only have positive experiences and I tell the Chin.ese to chill out and add some free time to the schedule. It's like I have to go between the two sides and explain how the other side thinks. haha. 

Anyways, as part of the "yay Chi.na" show, Michael was told to drive the girls to a nearby town for sightseeing. He asked me to go along to speak English to the girls and keep everyone company/entertained. I was happy to be included. 


It's about a two hour drive to Xitang from Hangzhou. I visited there 4 years ago (my first year in Chi.na) and loved it, so it was fun to go back and recognize sights. Parts of Mission Impossible 3 were filmed there, so there are signs with Tom Cruise's face all over and some restaurants have signs that say, "Tom Cruise ate here." 

They call Xitang an "ancient town" because the building structure is from Chin.a's past. It has all been rebuilt as a tourist site, and you have to pay to enter the "town." It feels very Disney World-esque, but is still very beautiful. 

We had the perfect day to go, blue-ish skies and a high of 99 degrees. Don't worry mom, I brought my sunbrella. :)

love the greenery

We wandered around, had lunch, went inside a postcard shop where you can send postcards from days in the future (super cool!) and then took a boat back to the front entrance.

Duck head on a stick (bottom left)

This man was fishing using birds! He would smack the water and the birds would dive into the water to catch fish then bring them to him. They were trained! It was so cool.


All in all, we had a great day. The girls were super nice and Michael got to practice his English and be a tour guide! It was also fun to have a secret language with Michael since the girls don't speak Chi.nese. haha. 

I was reminded how many gorgeous places there are around HZ and I was happy to get out and explore a little! Especially on the hospitals dime...haha. 

our little group

I hope that the girls can take back with them stories of their time here to teach others about the orphan work that is going on in the hospital and the goodness of the people.

When they aren't asleep at the wheel, of course.


walk slow. xoxo. 

No comments: