We quickly learned that the more we stayed active, the less our son cried. He loved being strapped into the ergo, taken for walks or going for a ride in a car. He especially loved the stop and go traffic and thought sudden jolts were something to be celebrated. I was a little less conformed to that mindset since car-seats are not something that’s used in China.
So, how did we fill our days? With anything and everything we could think of!
We often walked to the underground Walmart and around our hotel. Below are images of the Guizhou province’s oldest temple along the famous Nanming river. A short walk from our hotel, the temple is hundreds of years old and was built in honor of their first scholar.
As we walked by the river, we heard a loud clapping sound. We followed it to find men spinning large metal tops with whips. It’s a game, usually played by men because of the muscle that it takes to keep the top spinning. In the video below, you’ll see a young man being taught.
A local artist painting.
While our son loved the activity, we had a secondary motive in seeing the local sights. This visit was possibly the last time our son would see his birth country and province for many years; we wanted to document as much of it as possible for him.
Traveling to the location our son was found would not be possible this time due to how remote and far away the area was. But, our translator told us she could get us half-way there and explained that although the area we’d travel to was not comparable to his region’s beauty, it would begin to give us an idea of it.
He was from a mountainous region with many caves and rivers. His people group is part of an ethnic minority called the Miao who often built homes along the rivers or mountainous slopes, usually raised on stilts. We’re told the beauty of his region is astounding and comparable to parts of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park just east of his region.
*The image below is of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park from wikipedia. Look familiar? It should if you’ve seen Avatar. It’s where many of the mountainous scenes were filmed.
And, after hours of driving, here’s where we ended. So beautiful.
We walked up and down winding stone steps inside caves that, once inside, we were warned the only way out was to walk it’s entirety (an hour long walk, provided you don’t stop) or to go back to it’s entrance. Not planning for the high humidity in the air, our camera lenses fogged making picture taking a bit more difficult. But here’s a few for you to see…
Some of the water caves were only accessible by boat. So, of course we had to check it out! Unfortunately, this was not to our translator’s pleasure. We didn’t know until after our boat ride that she is afraid of water caves and can’t swim. She was a great sport though!
Boating through the river caves lasted a while, so I’ve selected a couples scenes for the video below… If you aren’t interested in watching all of it, skip to the end. You’re going to want to see the view! (If you listen closely, you can also hear our translator sigh in relief as she says “It’s nice to be outside!” at the end).