Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Morning in the Countryside

When Evelyn talked about going to the countryside to see farm animals and rice paddies for some reason I expected to go to a farm, like you see in America. Maybe more rural than Mayberry RFD, more like the farm on the movie Babe, perhaps.

Wrong.

So far nothing in China is anything like the US and agricultural areas are no different.

We all hopped on the bus at 10:00 for a 40 minute ride into the countryside. When our bus stopped and unloaded this was our fist sight.





This corner on the street is strewn with trash in front of the tree. This is in front of a grocery store. Notice what's hanging on the pole behind the tree:

Yes, that would be freshly butchered pig parts, otherwise known as pork. Apparently they buy all of their food fresh every day so this pig is just waiting for someone's dinner.

This is the view the opposite direction. Notice all the trash on the ground. They really don't have trash cans here. I think people just throw their trash on the ground. In fact, yesterday on the way back to the hotel after the park we were stopped in traffic and a taxi driver got out of his taxi, threw a bottle of Pepsi towards the curb and got back in his car.

The grocery store selling the fresh pig. And a few other items as well. Definitely not Kroger.

We started walking down the street/alley next to the grocery and we stopped to check out the rice. What looks like sand behind Evelyn is actually rice. They have it lying all over the street here.

This is the view as we started walking down the street. Notice the striped tarp to the left. It had been raining so they covered the rice to keep it dry. The rain also prevented us from bringing the strollers. I'm used to carrying around a 20+ pound child, but my mom and Julia are not so they kept passing Emma back and forth. I was holding Ryan.

Another view of the street farther down. The houses are older here. Julia and Ashley in the background

One of the houses. Evelyn said this house was probably about 70 years old. We did notice a refrigerator in the window. Julia, Jenna and Evelyn in the background.

Another house. Notice the stairs on the side that are supported by absolutely NOTHING! And they are made out of concrete. They are just sticking out of the side of the house.

We saw this man making a broom. If Darrell had been there he would have asked to buy it!

So its pretty obvious that this is not Old McDonald's Farm. But we did see some livestock.

Chickens were running around everywhere.

This pig pen was pretty close to the grocery. These pigs seem a bit depressed. I wonder if their buddy was the one for sale?

Ducks down an alley. Today's pet. Tomorrow's dinner. I almost showed you a picture of some dogs. Same caption would have applied.



We soon made our way to the end of the street and came upon some buildings surrounding some ponds.


Notice all the rice that has been harvested. We saw a man and some boys to the left down by the water and this is what we saw:

This boy is bathing in the pond. How refreshing.

We continued on down the road and started coming upon some newer buildings. These are built for the younger generation. Evelyn said for a man to get married he had to have a house.

That's the benefit of living in the countryside. Instead of living in a 300-900 sq foot apartment you get a house.



A view of the rice paddies from the road. Different pond than the one with the bathing boy.

Another view of the rice paddies.




More rice paddies.




Some workers out in the paddies.


We then turned around to go back the way we came.


Along the way we had drew the attention of the children around. First a few started to follow us and then quite a few.


Mom holding Emma and walking by Ashley. I felt like the Pied Piper.

These children were interested in Emma. Looks like Emma is checking them out too.


We decided to get a picture with some of the children.


Here are Ashley, Brooke, Jim (holding a sleeping Grace) and Shannon.

Penny and Shannon with their baby Norah.

Mom with Emma, Me with Ryan, Jenna and Julia. Notice the boy holding Emma's hand. You'll see him again.


I guess Evelyn had told Jim that we could bring candy to hand out to the children, but I hadn't heard this. Jim and Shannon hadn't gotten anything yet so Evelyn said we could go into a grocery store and get some. Unfortunately, I had left my backpack in the bus so the only thing I had was my camera. Mom said she had money so she got something for them from us.


Standing outside the grocery. There aren't many kids around yet. I'm sitting down on the step holding Ryan. Julia is holding Emma.

The kids began to gather around when they realized something was going on.

It seemed like sharks in a shark tank! Penny and Shannon got them stuff too. They passed out candy, notebooks to practice Chinese characters and pencils.


Ryan seemed to know that this place was a grocery store. He pointed to it excitedly and wanted to go in. I put him down and he wanted in so badly that he didn't protest and tried to go in but it was too crowded. Mom had gotten some candy for the kids and when he saw it he got very excited and wanted some too. Mom gave him one and it turned out to be a sucker.


I wonder if he lived somewhere similar to this. He was very quiet and clingy as we walked down the street but after we turned around and we got closer to the van he actually started talking again.


This man showed up in the crowd with this baby. The people were bringing their babies out so we could take their pictures. I have several I haven't included here. This baby is a girl. If wonder how I know, look closer.

The man held the baby out to Ashley to hold. He was very happy when she took her. I didn't realize until later that this baby had no back to her outfit.


Remember the little boy I told you would be mentioned earlier?


He was one of the original children following us and I took his picture and showed him. He was VERY happy to see himself. He really liked having his picture taken and wanted it taken again. Hold that thought.

As we walked away from the grocery I noticed the baby from before in the doorway being held by this little girl. This was the first time I really noticed she was completely naked on the backside.

The boy from above came up to the girl to take the baby from her. The girl put up quite a protest but he eventually got her, and then almost dropped her. The then came up to our group. He wanted his picture taken and he had gotten a prop.

After I took this picture and one other, he returned the baby to the girl.


We left the countryside and went back to Nanchang. We decided to eat at the Chinese restaurant next to the hotel. This place is so authentic that it's name is in Chinese characters and no English at all.


We had drank a lot of water on the bus ride back because it was so hot and Jenna had to go to the bathroom. She went with Evelyn and came back saying that she no longer had to go. I asked her why and this was the reason:



The dreaded squatty potty. (Sorry the photo is turned. I tried to fix it but Blogger is not cooperating) Feared by many, conquered by a few of the brave.


Add Jenna to the list of the brave. You haven't been to China until you've squatted.














4 comments:

Nicole said...

Oh my goodness... the restaurant next to the hotel is the best!!! Did you try the pancake things that taste like banana... yum! We loved our days in Nanchang...

Nicole
(CCAI WCP yahoo group)

Allison said...

What wonderful pictures! It looks like you're having a great trip. :)

Julie said...

I had forgoten how gray and hazy the air is and you were in the country!

I am so loving following your journey! Your family is so precious!

Julie

Kellyann said...

Squatty potties are an adventure for the toddlers. Our daughter who was 2 1/2 had that adventure when we picked up her brother in China. Quite an adventure.