Saturday, August 17, 2013

Out and about!

The moment Audrey and I stepped outside this morning we could tell a good day was in store for us. The air was light - a reprieve from the sticky humidity - and my lungs easily breathed air in and out. Air quality numbers hung out below 50! Woo-hoo!

At the same time, our morning's agenda did not scream excitement. A long bus ride to a government building was first up. The three week mark just passed and our new teacher group headed to the government affairs building to request, in-person - a recent change - our resident permits. Without daycare this weekend, the girls also boarded the bus for a nice ride and quality time in lines and waiting for others to finish the processing.

Sage creating entertainment while waiting around. Running between seating areas.

Finally, everyone made it through the system and we got out of the building to wait for the bus.

 The girls outside of the government affairs building.

The bus ride home was fairly uneventful as Sage napped and XO protested. Later that afternoon, we took advantage of the clear skies, low pollution counts and humidity to walk with Audrey to the park.

Tigger helping Xian walk Audrey

Currently, we live in a housing area known as Dragon's Bay. It's in a nice setting with peaceful roads, places for the kids to play, and a big lake. Here, XO walks along the lake.

A tiny kids' park holds a few swings and teeter-totters that the girls enjoy romping around on. Sage works on climbing up and down by herself. When she's up, she gets the thing going back and forth and back and forth and...

Still addicted to the rush of swings, Xian typically makes a beeline to the swing set and yelps until she gets a pusher.

As the day settled down, the girls quickly moved into the zone of over-tiredness and dinner was a not-so-pleasant affair as Sage discovered the wonders of throwing food and Xian let us know her level of fatigue. Mango for dessert helped out and the girls recently decided that baths are fun so all ended well. After the nightly book read, they got tucked in and I was soon heading out the door hoping to find a hardware store for a wrench. While purchasing bikes a couple of weeks ago, we spotted a place that might sell one so I hoped to find my way back.

Many of the major roads out here have separate sections for bikes, pedestrians and some scooters. 
Cruising down the bike lane with a view over the basket
The Shunyi area is actually quite rural. Small farm plots are tucked away in many corners and beautiful, tree-lined roads wander off to who knows where. Tonight, two flocks of sheep crossed my path as I pedaled towards the store.

The way back provided a bit more adventure. Leaving the store, I decided to follow a road that appeared to go through a bustling little market. Vegetables were everywhere! The road continued after the market on a heading parallel to the road I rode in on. I hoped for a connection but eventually gave up as darkness set in and (1) I wished that the 3G advertised for my phone's SIM card was actually working so that I could use a map, (2) I had a light for my bike and (3) I was not dressed in dark clothing. The ride turned out OK though it's a bit crazy seeing massive trucks blaze through intersections as horns blow. Might is right and if you blow your horn first then actions are justified...

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