Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More from Winnipeg

I thought we had put this up last week, but apparently that only occurred in a parallel universe. So here is the latest guest update - my mom and her sister are visiting! They arrived last Friday and then we immediately whisked them out of town on Saturday and Sunday for a trip to LuoYang. We have pictures that we need to put up, but until then, here is the info on the trip the four of us took. The trip was organized by the Community Liaison Office of the Embassy.

Luoyang, in Henan province of China, was the starting point of the famous Silk Road during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). This city is one of China's seven ancient capital cities and is noted for its places of historical interest such as the Longmen Caves, the White Horse Temple and the Shaolin Monastery.

The first day, we are going to visit Shaolin Si (Shaolin Temple) where we will have chance to appreciate the famous Shaolin Gongfu (Shaolin Martial Arts).we are also going to visit Ta Lin, the cemetery where famous monks in the history were buried.

The second day, we will visit Longmen Shiku (Longmen Caves). The caves are shallow recesses in the cliffs south of Luoyang where the Yi River cuts through a cleft called the Dragon Gate. Legend has it that this was formed when the Great Yu, Tamer of Floods, split the mountain to release an imprisoned dragon which was causing havoc. Man has since added 1350 caves, 750 niches and 40 pagodas containing 97306 statues carved out of the sheer limestone cliffs bordering the river. Most of the carvings, which stretch over some 800m, are on the west bank. In the afternoon, we are going to visit Baima Si (White Horse Temple). Founded in 68 AD, the Baima Si has some claim to be the first Buddhist temple in China. Legend says that the Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han dreamed of a golden figure with the sun and moon behind its head. Two monks sent to search for the origin of the dream reached India and returned riding white horses with two Indian monks in tow, and a bundle of sutras. Finally, we will see peonies in Shenzhou MudanYuan (Peony Garden).Luo Yang is famous for peony flowers and April is the peony season in a year. You will be intoxicated with these lovely blossoms.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Just passing through

Tis the season to come visit Beijing.
Just a day after Seth left us for the fresh air of California (some people just don't know how to appreciate a low smog day) some cousins from Winnipeg arrived in the city a few days ahead of their tour group. While they didn't stay with us, I was able to meet up with them and some of their friends who had also come into Beijing early. We had two lovely dinners out together (at restaurants that Michael and I had never visited - new experience all around!) before their tour started. Then we saw the whole tour group at services Friday night and shared a third dinner with Kehillat Beijing - the congregation that Michael and I regularly attend. Quite a lovely visit.
Those Winnipegians sure do get around.
The group has now taken off for the next city on their Jewish Heritage tour, so we will just have to patiently wait a whole week for our next guests to arrive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Baby Belly and Bikes

The picture in the last post was from a few weeks ago, so we thought a more recent one would be nice for our dedicated viewers.

Also wanted to let everyone know that I have given into peer pressure and stopped riding my bicycle. Apparently some people have gotten the impression that riding bikes in Beijing may not be the safest endevaour. Not sure why they have might think that… :)
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hair and (semi) belly pics

While in Winnipeg last month I got a small hair cut. It had been coming for a while but I figured it was best to wait until I was pretty sure I would be able to directly communicate clearly with the person holding the scissors. As an ironic twist, the hairdresser turned out to be from Hong Kong.

The adorable child with her very first salon haircut would be Hannah, one of my little cousins - doesn't she look stylish?

I am also sporting some of my brand new, stylish maternity wear which meant that I was wearing pants that fit for the first time in over 2 months :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Let's go fly a kite

Last weekend we finally partake of a very Chinese activity – kite flying! But since any ol’ kite would not do, we decided to go with an embassy group to a place outside of town where we could actually make our own kites. The little Chinese home all 30 of us squeezed into was the home of an old kite maker who had examples of his work throughout the main room.

It turned out that they were only entrusting us to make a pretty straightforward single-string kite. There were pre-made frog patterns that we painted with watercolors. (Seth and I shared one and Michael got a kite of his very own.)
After the paint had dried we glued on the balsa wood supports and then finally tied on the strings. (This was also our chance to learn some cool new knots from Seth - now if we could only remember what they were....)
Then we headed out to a near by cornfield and tried out our new creations.