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First things first—Happy Birthday Karyn!

We’re in beautiful Zhanjiang, China.  Well, it’s Zhanjiang anyway.  One thing I’ve really noticed this trip is that Zhanjiang is really dirty with garbage.  Everywhere you step, you’re stepping on garbage.  It really baffles my mind, because it seems such a simple thing, yet the streets are strewn with garbage.

We got up and showered (that’s an experience with a 5 year old who doesn’t usually shower on her own, in a shower stall that leaks, with water temperatures fluctuating madly!!) and quickly ate a little breakfast that I’d thought to buy at Walmart.  We’d no sooner finished that then Danny’s cousin called to say that we were being taken out for lunch nearby our hotel.  We had some time in between though, and Stephy and Emily wanted to buy fancy boots.   Here in China, all the ladies and girls wear these tacky, cheap, nasty plastic boots with sequins and trimmings, so my kids want some.  In case you’re wondering, I won’t be buying any for me!!!!

We ventured into Walmart, as you can see by the photos.  Actually, it’s in a whole shopping complex, much like any mall at home.  Kind of strange, because Walmart is actually on the 3rd and 4th floors of the mall, but it’s really huge and nice and clean. 

We went to the shoe area and Stephanie immediately saw some boots she liked, so on they went.  They fit her perfectly, so I turned to Emily to ask if she wanted the same ones.  Nope, she wanted tacky, nasty, plastic boots WITH HEELS.  Can you say “7 going on 17”??  So we continued the search.  We looked in every store in the mall, not just Walmart, but we found nothing.  By China standards, she has ladies size feet, so she can’t wear any of the kids tacky boots, and I’ll be damned if I’m having my 7-year-old in 3 inch heels.

We met Danny’s cousin and his mother and aunt for lunch.  We were going to a restaurant kitty-corner to our hotel.  Sounds easy right?  Not in the hellish mess that is Zhanjiang traffic.  It’s really something to behold.  There are quite literally NO RULES.  Seriously.  Sometimes you have 4 lanes of traffic that suddenly become 2.  Other places, there are what look like left turn lanes that go nowhere and then just end, so that the traffic in them has no place to go.  And everywhere, you have mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians in the mix trying to get somewhere without ending up dead.  So we crossed.  I think Danny and I both aged about 10 years getting across with our kids, but we did it!

Lunch was nice, and as you can see by the photos, Danny’s cousin’s wife had brought stuffed toys and chocolates for our kids.  Crap, how will those fit in our suitcases?  Maybe they’ll suffer a “mysterious disappearance”?  All through the meal, I just kept thinking that we had to re-cross the roads to get back afterwards.

So, after you’ve had a huge meal, what’s the first thing you want to do?  Discuss another huge meal?  Oh good, you’re noticing the pattern.  Yes, dinner is to be a big deal with Danny’s cousin hosting his entire family to see us.  They’re even bringing his dad out from the hospital, if he’s able, to come see us.

We spent the afternoon shopping in the other large shopping mall near our hotel, but again had no success finding boots that Emily wanted.

Danny did find a leather belt, and there were some nice purses I saw, but I didn’t get anything.  I have my eye on a bag at Coach in Hong Kong and somebody gave me the means to have it (awesome huge thanks) so I’m waiting.

We gave up on the shopping and headed to dinner with everyone.  It was in the restaurant we’d been to last year, and the food is generally good, so we were looking forward to it. We arrived on time, and so did most everybody else, but the old man was missing.  Apparently they went to the hospital and he was all ready to go, then decided he wasn’t up to it.  Last year, he was in good health when we saw him, but he has had strokes and a real decline since then.

The meal was great, with only one really nasty looking dish that I can only describe as white, penis-shaped worms on a plate.  Nope, I didn’t eat them, nor did I let my kids, but Danny ate them.  My apologies if you’re eating while reading this!!

After dinner, Danny’s cousin’s son drove us back to our hotel.  We are in two rooms, since there are just two twin beds per room.  Both kids wanted to stay with me, so Danny has a room to himself, while I got to share a twin bed with Stephy.