About the farm...
Jeff was the one blogging in his heat blinded anger last night, so I felt that perhaps I should give you all more information about our dis-enchanted evening.
The farm is about an hour from Gunagzhou, and while I think the temperature is a little cooler the humidity is still very very high. The first thing we saw upon entering was a wide open space with a windmill of sorts and a small flock of Guinea Fowl trotting around. They have lovely plumage- dark gray with white speckles and the make a soothing cooing noise like a dove. I took Tenley over and showed them to her and then explained the various methods for roasting Guinea Fowl and the traditional sauces and side dishes with which they are served. Chris remarked that I might not be in the proper agrarian spirit.
Then we were treated to the duck and pig diving races/ show. First, a Chinese man with a bull horn attempted to whip our crowd into an excited frenzy, and possibly solicit bets, but we have no way of knowing because he was speaking Chinese. We were dazed and unmoved. Then he went and tapped on a large box and there was alot of quacking to be heard. Then this small flock of ducks toddled up a steep ramp until one of them took flight and landed happily in the water below. He was the winner. His friends decided it was a good idea, and then they all jumped in, got themselves thoroughly moistened, and paddled to shore where they waddled back to their box and their naps. Then another larger box was tapped and the next thing we knew there was a clacking of hooves and squeeling as the herd of small farm pigs headed cheefully up the ramp and then came to a screeching halt at the precipice and tried to back up only to find a solid wall of bamboo and other pigs behind them. Finally one of the pigs in the back, mistakenly thinking there was food involved, climbed over his buddies and fell head first into the water. He was none too happy about it.The nice Chinese man with the bull horn declared him the winner and then pushed the rest of the herd in. Thus ended the "show". Then it was time for the cock fight.
Yes, you read that correctly: cock fight. Yep, the kind where 2 of Colonel Sander's finest kick and peck to the death. I refused. I personally think cock fighting is cruel and disgusting and I was not going to be party to it or subject my 9 month old (who would have no idea what was going on) to such a spectacle. (*Note: Jeff who did watch informs me that they don't fight to the death here, and they only allow the birds to kick. Whatever) I did take her over to view the future combatants still in their coops; but we stayed outside of the cock fighting area and saw the ponies, avoided the biting ostrich, and met a sweet cow. The cow was my favourite part of the whole farm. We walked over and found her standing in her water trough, and when I cheerfully said "hi cow!" she mooed and lumbered right over to the fence. It's quite hard to pet the animals because the "corrals" are made of rough hewn wood that is strapped together and more closely resembles a cavalry fort that an corral. But, I found a wider than avarage opening to get my hand in and help Tenly pet her head and her rough nose, and then I lingered for a moment to scratch behind her ears and rub her muzzle.
We then wandered down a brick path past mini fields of crops grown in China which were also the front yard of guest houses, so apparently you can stay on the farm. Then we got to the part that as a new parent, horrified me. The "Water Paradise". It was this really fun looking obstacle course where children could climb ropes, go hand over hand, swing across gaps, etc....built over a rice paddy. So if you fall off, you fall in the rice paddy. In theroy, this sounds great, but God only knows what is in that water (besides the rice plants)!! I said the only way my kid would do it was if Dr. Ng was standing by with a hypodermic loaded with an amoxicillin/zithromax cocktail in case she hit the water. Water Paradise...I think the water might send you to paradise.
Eventually we made it to the restaurant which was a round room with windows built over this small lake. Sort-of scenic, but the room was hot and stuffy as the sun was still streaming in the windows (no shades or drapes) and the air conditioners hadn't been turned on prior to our arrival. They also had no highchairs. Dinner was pretty tasty, but it was a good thing Tenley was drained and that Jeff eats well with chopsticks. We finished dinner around 7:15. The acrobatic show was beginning at 7:30 and we were informed that we would leave in the middle at 8:30.
The acrobatic show involved various kids and adults forming human pyramids, spinning giant flower pots on their feet, juggling from a swining trapeze, and the requisite magican. Somewhere after the female emcee finished her second ballad (which she tossed glow sticks into the audience for us to wave in the air and sway with like people did with lighters in the 70's & 80's), we finally got the signal and we left.
The things that made it horrible were:
1. The oppressive humidity, and the bugs.
2. 6-14 month olds don't care. ...and neither did their non-Chinese speaking parents.
3. Most of our kids go to bed somewhere between 7-8pm, so not leaving our outing until 8:30 was not the best plan.
The things which made it Jeff & I's private hell were some classic new parent blunders, and sheer bad luck and stupidity:
1. The opressive humidity, coupled with the fact that Jeff lives in his own personal summer anyway.
2. Tenley apparently also lives in that same summer, and is hot and sweats profusely.
3. Jeff felt that bringing the stroller might be a mistake because who knew the terrain? Turns out that NOT bringing the stroller was a huge mistake. Tenley and I were both soaked and limp after I carried her in the Bjorn for an hour and a half.
4. Nobody- me, Jeff, or Tenley- had a nap. Tenley had nodded off for an hour in her stroller at Shaiman Island, and had been asleep for 20 minutes when we had to get ready to leave. We managed to change her and creep from the room, but she woke up still tired and cranky when we hit the lobby. She cried the entire way to the farm. She settled down in the Bjorn. She was stunned all through dinner. She was bitter during the show because she wanted to get down and crawl and lick the filthy disgusting moldy ground and we wouldn't let her. And she screamed half way home, and then nodded off but woke right up in the lobby. We gave her a bath, and then she screamed in anger for the next hour until she finally wore herself out and went to sleep.
All in all- it sucked. I would not recommend that future adoptive parents join the group on this one unless it's April or October and you woun't die of heat and humidity, and unless your kids have had a really good nap or you've doped them with Benadryl. But if you do go, kiss the cow for me.