Monday, August 30, 2010

Introducing her to Mao Ye Ye...

On Saturday, we were greeted with bright sunny skies – perfect for our girl’s first visit to Tiananmen Square! So off we went as I briefly oriented Rosabelle about what Tiananmen is, and how she will very soon pass by a portrait of a Ye Ye, and this Ye Ye’s name is Mao Zedong, or Mao Zhu Xi. As Wayne drove by to get a carpark space, she called out excitedly, ‘Ye Ye!’. And that marked the start of her getting-to-know-you with Chairman Mao.

Wayne dropped us off at the junction first as he parked a distance away (RMB30 for 2 hours! I sure miss communism!), so it was just us two ‘laowais’ crossing the road to the square opposite Tiananmen. There were loads of people, it being a weekend, so I think Rosabelle felt slightly intimidated and wanted me to continue carrying her after we had crossed the road. There were security checkpoints going into the Square, and I crossed my fingers they would not question me on why I had a huge pair of scissors in my bag (for cutting Rosabelle’s food up during lunch later). Either they missed it, or we both looked decent enough for them to wave us on.

Luckily Rosabelle was her usual self after awhile, and despite it being a sweltering day, and there having no shade/trees around (i.e. we were getting UV-burnt from the reflection on the ground as well), she started walking and running around in front of me. I told her prior that there were a lot of people and to stick close to me, and to stay in one place and call out for me if she suddenly does not see me. Thankfully nothing traumatic of this nature happened as I was keeping an eye on her at all times.
Daddy came by soon enough and we slowly made our way to the underpass to get to Tiananmen. Along the way, we saw many huge lamp posts as people were hiding in the little shade it provided. Our girl decided she wanted to also take a rest and set her little bum down, jumping up quickly with a '烫!' as she sat on the sun-scorched part, haha! That taught her well as she would use her fingers to gently test the areas first before she sat down after that.
I made sure she stored up well on her water, and also cut up a fragrant pear for her that morning as we made the short walk.
Whenever she got tired, she would ask for either of us to carry her and I simply love this series of photos where she is tenderly caressing Papa on the cheek… so sweet!
Only when you come to China, or perhaps Beijing Tiananmen, will you understand the full meaning of 人山人海 (just like I made the mistake of visiting Tiananmen during the October National Day holidays in my first year here). There were just too many people around that it wasn’t very safe (nor clean) for our girl to continue walking and smelling the knees/butts of people, so we carried her mostly when we reached the area outside Tiananmen Square.
It’s mostly photos of father and daughter as I was carrying the bag and in charge of feeding her the pear, but you can see them in front of this boulder called a 华表. According to Wayne, in olden times, this was just about as tall as a man, and citizens could post their comments (i.e. a traditional suggestion/feedback box) in a book. However, as time went on, this structure became bigger and taller, and like I said, it’s a way of saying that ‘your views don’t matter’, and became quite useless. Interesting…
We didn’t pay to go inside Tiananmen – not sure if it’s relevant nor interesting for her at this age, so we just milled around at the entrance, where she had more fun playing around and at the entrance of the photo and souvenir shops…
And so that marked her brief encounter with the Chairman (as she went home to tell Nainai, she could recall her Tiananmen trip and say that she saw毛主席, heh!). Just nice that Nainai has been singing to her a rather Cheena-sounding song窗前一朵大红花, as she suddenly blurted out the whole song (all four lines of it) yesterday – we didn’t see that coming as she had never even sang a single word of it before. Clap clap! Mao Ye Ye would be proud of her!
After that, we again walked the same way back to have lunch at Sun Dong An Plaza at Wang Fu Jing. I’d wanted to try having lunch at Banana Leaf in the shopping centre since Pizza Hut said there was a wait of 20 minutes. However, after getting a seat in the former and looking through the menu, I realized that there wasn’t much that Rosabelle could eat, so I had to make a detour back to Pizza Hut and get a queue number again. Drat. Luckily throughout the wait for our table and the food, Wayne kept Rosabelle occupied with the many life-sized structures of Ge Ge and Jie Jie around the complex…
We had a quick-enough lunch where our girl was thankfully cooperative and finished off the spaghetti with chicken/mushroom/spinach, some potato waffles, and soup puff, so that we could walk around a bit as I ran some errands to get some stuff. Wayne warned her not to touch the bags at this display of soldiers (by the clothing label TOUGH), and she remarked that ’叔叔放好了,不可以动。'Good girl!
When we got home and put her to bed, it was already about 4:30pm, and when she woke up at 6:15pm for a feed, I thought that it was just nice for us to head out for an early dinner. However, she rolled over and went back into deep slumber… and woke up only at 8pm! Goodness… we speedily got ready to go out after letting her drink some fresh apple juice, and went to Charme, a Hong Kong-like restaurant, near The Place. That’s her looking at the menu and deciding she wants to 吃肉...
Although there were quite a few items that were already off the menu (maybe we were too late…), the food came quite quickly enough, and this was a restaurant that actually served food with portions larger than that depicted in their menus. Amazing! By the time she ate dinner, it was close to 9:30pm and we cleared out by 10-nish to take a quick walk around the area and The Place – needed for her to work the dinner (and long nap) all off so that she can be tired-out for bedtime. I was really tired that day as I did not sleep in the afternoon, so I was already almost half-asleep as I sang ‘My Bonnie lies over the ocean’ (she will cheekily change the lyrics of the second line to ‘seahorse’ instead of ‘sea’, haha!) to her. Thank goodness she still managed to sleep close to 1am that day, bringing with her sweet dreams of 毛爷爷, heh!

To detract slightly from this post, since we’re on the topic of sleep, yesterday, she woke up after only 1h 20m of nap, as there was constant knocking and drilling coming from our upstairs neighbor. When I went into the room after hearing her call out for me, she was lying there and asking ‘叔叔敲什么?', heh. I took out the ear plugs I had originally bought for her to use during swimming (did not use at all), and wanted to see if she could go back to sleep after I nursed her, trying to put in the ear plugs. Obviously, she got so distracted and excited by this new squishy, spongy toy (she called it蘑菇at first), that she did not want to sleep again. She was, however, very cooperative and wanted me to place the ear plugs into her ears for her, but they seemed too big and kept popping out. Oh well… thank goodness I did not have to use them today.

This morning, she woke up and called me again. When I opened the room door, I saw her lying there, scratching her belly and saying ‘itchy’. I saw a much-dreaded mosquito bite. Shucks! Thankfully both Rosabelle and I aren’t the kinds who attract mosquitos, i.e. other folks around us can paste/spray insect repellant and get stung, but we remain unscathed, touch wood! Guess with Wayne and I out of the room, the bloody bitch (literally) stung her and woke her from her sound slumber. Idiotic. Hopefully we smack it to death before we go to sleep tonight, or I can only be grateful that Wayne’s around (as he’s the kind that mozzies love), haha!

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