Saturday, August 26, 2006

6 Banyan Tree Tour

Today we toured an ancient Buddhist Temple. It was over 1000 years old. We took a short bus ride and arrived in an the most poverty stricken/run down place I've seen yet. When we exited the bus there were beggers everywhere. Most where handicapped, missing limbs. We entered a court yard and it was very beautiful. There were many people there to worship. In the entrance there was a huge golden statue of Buddha. The tour guide was describing to us why The Buddha's belly was so big. She said it is there that he holds the weight/burdens of the world. He carries the burdens so that others can feel happiness. I liked that. We went inside the temple and we were all blessed by a Buddhist Monk. It was a beautiful ceremony. The Monk began by chanting and tapping a small wooden instrument. He finished by dipping a leaf in water and sprinkling the water on the children. The amazing thing is that Thomas and Madeline sat quietly through the whole thing. After we left we went to a jade and porcelain market. Everywhere we went today Madeline was a celebrity. All the Chinese women wanted to touch her and talk to her. She was a good sport about it. She must have passed out about ten hugs to complete strangers today. Thomas carried around 2 wooden snakes and was scaring everyone.
This afternoon I had the chance to go shopping, alone. I am on a mission to find 18 small gifts that I can give to Bliss on each of her birthdays. I am amazed at how the area around the hotel has capitalized on the adoption industry. Everywhere you look there are small shops that cater to the adopting families. The women that run the shops will literally come out on the street and try to convince you to come in. Most of them speak English fairly well. I took this opportunity to ask them questions about how they felt about all the Chinese girls being adopted by Americans. I don't think that this culture permits women to speak freely about how they really feel, in fact I don't think they even know how they really feel. Both women that I spoke to gave me answers that they think I wanted to hear. For example... "We think Americans are wonderful and very caring people". When I questioned her further about how she felt about women having to abandon babies, she said "that's just the way it is here. The men want boys and at least the babies are safe and going to have a better life". The women here just don't know anything different. When I imagine bringing Bliss back here in 10 years I feel sad for her. I wonder if she will feel proud of where she came from or if she will feel shame.

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