Travel 06/27/2011

Keith reporting:
A Better Understanding of the Cat, A Tribute to My Dad

It has really been bugging me not being able to get the cats and dogs to warm up to me. All animals at home like me, even stranger dogs and cats. It is a gift I inherited from my dad. He was a postman in Manchester for nearly 30 years, walking his 13-mile route for many years during and after the gas crisis of the 70s. My dad was friends with all the dogs on his route, even those furry friends who would not have anything to do with any other strangers. As he walked his route each day, dogs would start following him from the beginning of his route, and by the end of the day there would be over a dozen dogs following along with him. There was even a popular picture of him in the local paper with this huge pack of dogs following him on his route. I am saddened by the fact that he nor these two beautiful children never had a chance to meet one another.

So as I said, my love for and by animals comes from him. That is why it has been difficult for me to deal with their animosity towards me here. I discussed the language gap in an earlier post (I do not speak Chinese, they do not understand English), and over the past couple of days I have uncovered another clue. The cats do not SPEAK cat English either. As I listened closely, I discovered that they do not say meow. They say mao! Wink, wink, look it up.

On with another day with the girls in Guangzhou. We had an early tour planned. Actually it was at 9:00am, but with our recent schedule, that was early. We were headed to the Baomo Gardens, at beautiful botanical garden with fabulous rock formations (all man made) lakes, bridges, pagodas and museums of some rich guy who kept his enormous antique collection there. Some of the pieces were 4000 years old. The place was gorgeous, and I am sure the pictures will not do it justice. It was an hour ride there, and Miss Karis screamed almost the whole way there. She does not like car rides. This does not bode well for our 30 plus hour trip home on Friday. You know it has gotten unbearable for all when the guide offers to take your child, which he did. He finally calmed her by putting headphones on her. I do not know what she was listening to, but we have to get us some of that. She went to sleep in his arms.

Karis did great with big sis Kasen pushing her all over the park. You will see how hard Kasen was working by how hot she appears in some of the pictures. Karis did great in the stroller for the two hour tour there. We saw more of the colorful koi carp goldfish climbing on top of one another that I have ever seen in one place.

Once we got in the car to head back, the screamfest started again. Kasen managed to distract her sister until she fell asleep. Kasen followed her slumber shortly.

We got back to the hotel, and went back to the Swan Room for another playfest. It has been fun meeting lots of other Americans there, comparing war stories of traveling, eating and sleeping (those darned beds) in China.

We went out looking for a specific restaurant recommended by someone we met from Oklahoma, but never could find it. We finally made our way back to Lucys for the second time today (we went there for lunch after the tour). We stopped and did some more shopping, and finally have everyone winding down for the evening. We have our appointment with the U.S. Consulate tomorrow where they evaluate our ability to fill out their infinite number of mind numbing, confusing forms. If we pass that test, they will issue Karis her visa to enter the U.S. on her Chinese passport on Wednesday. She will become a U.S. citizen the minute she touches U.S. soil. New Yorkers would have something smart to say about the fact that that first soil is in Newark, New Jersey.

Karis is laughing and playing more and more, and is really starting to physically play with Kasen. It is funny to see her at bedtime (once the crying stops) . She will raise up to see if anyone is looking, and will duck back down with eyes squeezed tightly when she sees me look at her. It is evident that there was some form of regiment where she once lived. Maybe it will give us a leg up once the sleeping in her own room for the first time begins Friday night.

We leave out of here at 5:30am Friday morning, and after nearly 32 hours of travel will arrive home around midnight on Friday (talk about messing up your internal clock!).

Thanks again for following us. We will talk to you again soon.