Friday, August 16, 2013

Native Music & Food

This morning, John picked us up at 9:00 to go get Hallie's passport. Thankfully, it was done and ready for us, and we were finished with our errand before 10:00. So, he took us to the tea shop that he and a couple of his friends own.

It was closed when we arrived, so he unlocked the door—and believe me, it was very well secured—and took us inside. He treated us to several different kinds of tea: red tea, a locally-grown green tea, a green tea from southern China, and an oolong tea. We also spied one of the traditional musical instruments (a guqin) that he makes lying on a table in the other room. It turns out that this was a factory-made model, not one of his handmade creations, but he treated us to a couple of traditional songs. The video that I got is of a traditional song from right here in Jinan. Amazing stuff.
Then, just as we thought that our time there was just about over, he asked if we wanted to have some roast lamb for lunch. We'd been kind of sad that we hadn't really had any local food this week, so we eagerly said yes, and boy, are we ever glad that we did! He ordered it from a street vendor just a couple of shops over, and about fifteen or twenty minutes later, the vendor came over with a plethora of lamb skewers, along with some deliciously-seasoned bread that had also been toasted. This is without a doubt the best food that we've had since we left home, and it's also the best food that we've had in recent memory. And, he wouldn't let us pay him for this, either.
After stuffing ourselves with lamb, bread, and some more tea, we sat and talked for quite a while. We can't say how much we've enjoyed his company this week, and we wish that we had more time to spend with him. He has made our time here in Jinan wonderful, and I don't know what we would have done without him. If he ever comes to the States, he had better look us up.
This is our last night here in Jinan. Tomorrow, we'll check out of our hotel at 2:00 pm and then head straight to the airport to catch our flight down to Guiyang. We suspect that it will be about a three-hour flight, so as much as we'd love to see Isabelle right away, in some ways it would be better if they would wait until Sunday to bring her to us, if they're going to bring her to us early at all. Hallie would probably do better with a night to get used to a new environment. Several times today she started to melt down, but Kristie was able to calm her down each time. She really relies on us and our hotel room for stability, and we're hoping that one night in the hotel in Guiyang will be enough for her to regain that sense of stability in a new place before her sister joins her. But, of course, if they do meet us at the hotel with Isabelle, we will be delighted to see her. I can't believe that we're already done here in Jinan. We're going to miss this place, but we are more than ready to meet our other little girl and start bonding with her, too.

Hallie, smiling at breakfast when I tickled her
John's tea shop

John, serving us some tea

Best food of the trip!

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