Chillin’ like Fidel.
Clinton's, Castro's, Odell's.  Pretty much the same.

Clinton’s, Castro’s, Odell’s. Pretty much the same.

Yesterday was full of adventures on our last day in Shanghai. Our day began at the Yu Gardens and Bazaar- a beautiful, authentically old Chinese garden.

A formerly private garden from up to 600 years ago.

A formerly private garden from up to 600 years ago.

Today we had two guides- apparently we are too much to handle for one! This new guide spent much more time relaying the history of the sites and explaining in detail about all the places we went. The neatest experience we had at the Yu Gardens was participating in a traditional tea ceremony.

Culture!

Culture!

We also got to eat lunch at a famous restaurant here that served both Clinton and Fidel Castro (we lost our appetite just a bit).

Communist food tastes great!

Communist food tastes great!

Next we headed to the Bund area- a historic walking/shopping district that mixes old British colonial style buildings with new skyscrapers on the East side. We rode the tourist-y “Sightseeing tunnel” ride under the Huangpo River to get to the business district (which the kids thought was great- it was a quirky, psychedelic neon light show that you ride a cable car through- China good!) where we then rode the elevator to the top (88th floor) of the JingMao Tower (equivalent of our Empire State Building)¬†at the lightning speed of 45 seconds from bottom to top where if it weren’t for the fog, we would have had an excellent view of the whole city.

The "new" side of Shanghai to our rear.  The contrast between each side of the river is really cool (the other side is colonial).

The “new” side of Shanghai to our rear. The contrast between each side of the river is really cool (the other side is colonial).

From the 88th floor! Jing Mao!

From the 88th floor! Jing Mao!

Despite our assumption that because Shanghai is more diverse therefore we might not be such a sight here, we have again been mobbed by eager throngs of Chinese men and women seeking a photograph with us. Grace has been picked up by random strangers, the baby has been taken from our arms for pictures, and a group of men even wanted pictures with Joey today (crazy white man with baby on his back). We’ve taken many pictures of people taking our pictures- so weird. It’s been out of control. Our guides have interpreted for us that people are just fascinated with us having 5 children, how “lovely” Grace is, why we are adopting two Chinese children (they also get a kick out of Charlotte speaking perfect English), how we have a healthy-looking boy, how we can afford all these children, if our government requires a payment for us having so many children, etc, etc. It’s been nice to have someone tell us what is being said about us. People have been very kind and friendly and just genuinely interested in something they don’t understand and just haven’t seen, maybe ever. We don’t even attempt to tell people that we have 4 more at home anymore, because after the first couple of times, we realize they don’t believe us anyway (5 is incomprehensible enough) and it requires way too much explaining.

Grace is getting an early jump on her super-stardom.

Grace is getting an early jump on her super-stardom.

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The paparazzi just don’t stop.

 

 

Take that!  Garrick is tired of being passed around for photos.

Take that! Garrick is tired of being passed around for photos.

Our guide convinced us that we should not leave Shanghai without seeing an acrobatics show, so she booked us tickets and set up a ride for us to see the show later that evening (something Carrigan gladly sat through for a change!) and tour around the Bund area again at night to see all the lights. It was an amazing grand finale to our time here.

Carrigan continues to make progress, though we realize the Lord will be using him to humble us in our parenting abilities. He is all over the place wanting to grab everything he sees (we’ve wisely avoided toy and candy stores), and throws himself down in a fit when he doesn’t get it. He whines and whimpers at the slightest irritation and doesn’t cope well with being re-directed to something else when he sets his sights on what he wants (everything in sight he thinks might be edible or fun to play with). We’ve had plenty of “Elf” elevator experiences where we’ve stopped on each floor due to no one being able to stop him in time from hitting all the buttons, had people staring at us at the breakfast here not due to how “cute” or “well-behaved” our children are, but now probably wondering why we aren’t doing more to control our crazy kid. Keeping up with him is exhausting. Little by little each day we’re trying to teach him acceptable behavior, but it’s slow-going. He’s called our bus driver “Baba” each time we’ve gotten in the van to go somewhere, and a random lady in line for the bathroom at the acrobatics show, “Mama”. We’ve got a long way to go!