Last night's moment of wow this is China involved happily falling into a lovely looking bed to find that it is actually only a box spring--as in harder than a futon. And as it turns out a solid concrete floor underneath that gorgeous fake marble is not super for a foot plagued by post-suv arthritis. And it is clear that we will need a kind of zen about transportation that is not natural to those of us who had babies during the era of the five point car seat. Concerns about booster seats and seat belts went out the proverbial window when I watched Rebecca hop onto an electric bike. She was on the bike with one very tiny woman, another 8 year old and an 18 month old—yes that’s four people on one bike—no helmets, flip-flops for everyone. The best part of that particular adventure is that it seems to have inspired both kids to want to ride a bike. They have borrowed one from their friend and are taking turns practicing.
I’ve now been on two runs during which I’ve neither gotten lost nor been swallowed by a banana tree. It’s crazy muggy here—like running through soup.
The route passes some roosters, chickens, a tea garden, banana trees, rubber plants, a tropical rain forest, and a giant lab complex that has the same slightly surreal ultra modern in the jungle feel as our house. We are in the middle of a botanical garden that is half public garden with tourists riding through it on stretch golf carts that look like the Catskills in the 1950’s and half scientific institute. The scientists all live “on grounds” which means, for example, one of Manuel’s Chinese collaborators popped over this morning as I was walking around with my sweaty and skimpy running outfit on and the kids were playing a rather loud fantasy game of some sort. It kind of felt like having the Dean stop by while you’re in your pj’s.
The technological accomplishment for the day was the acquisition of a hot plate that can accommodate the espresso maker, which releases us from the jungle latte of Folgers and boxed milk. And we successfully rode the electric bus to town, ate a lunch of excellent tropical juices, very good fried rice dishes (the vegetarian dish only had small pieces of pork, and the ‘acid and spicy Thailand flavor’ dish was acid, spicy, and delicious, and NO tantrums. We then wandered through town, admired the cosmetics stores, went to the supermarket, purchased a few more odds and ends, and lost no children. We caught the bus home, re-started the A.C., and deposited the children separately into rooms for quiet time. So far, so good.