Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lake Time in Dongguan China

We had heard that there was a lake in Dongguan which is about an hour from our house where you can wakeboard but we didn't know that you could rent the boat and all the equipment. A member of our branch presidency lives near the lake and was a competitive slalom skiier back in the US. He would talk about skiing at this lake but we didn't realize how easy it really was to use. We went with another family from our Branch for a day at the lake. The day started with us hiring two vans to drive us out to the lake. The place is called "California Living" and when you drive up it just looks like a nice park on the lake.
While we were waiting for the boat drivers to load up all the equipment, the kids had fun jumping on the trampoline that they had on the boat dock.
Blair, Rachel, and Jonny anticipating the fun times ahead.
This was a boat tied to the dock. As you can see, they don't spend much time cleaning or taking care of their equipment. Fortunately this wasn't the boat we were to use but it was a little unnerving to see. We were just hoping that this wouldn't be another "Chinese" adventure that would end up in disappointment.
Rachel put on a show for the other Chinese people on the dock.
Finally, one boat was ready and off with the little kids for some tubing.
Saren Westrop, one of Jonny's friends, had to show us his stuff.
Rachel showing that she still has it.
Jonny getting his groove on.
Even Blair gave it a try but couldn't quite get the hang of it.

Vika wasn't afraid at all and jumped right in with the other kids. The water doesn't look the cleanest but what lake water does? We didn't get sick from it so I guess it was ok.
They moved the trampoline right to the edge of the dock so the kids all took turns jumping, flipping, and diving off into the water. Rachel showing her beautiful dive form. She extended out then tucked into a front flip. Pretty cool!!!!!

Even Vika jumped off. She is becoming more and more fearless.

Jonny in the middle of his back layout. Saren and Jonny would pop each other up right before they would go into a flip or layout. They were amazingly high.
Rachel doing a back kick out.

The day ended up being really fun. We spent about 5 hours on the lake wakeboarding, tubing, and playing in the water. We had a little mix up with the cost at the end because they were wanting to charge us per person when we knew that they had charged by families in the past. They were trying to charge us 3000 RMB. Since we didn't know much Chinese, Blair tried to communicate for us but they wouldn't budge on the price until we called our friend, Kevin, who knew the owner. We ended up leaving without paying anything until Kevin could work something out with the owner. They ended up creating a family or group rate and charged us only 800 RMB per family for the day, which is a little over $100.00 US. It was well worth it and we will definitely go again.

Another fun adventure in China.

Jonny's Birthday

Jonny turned 14 on September 4. We had a small party with friends.
The one gift he got was a DVD collection of Laker's games with their history. I can't believe we have a Laker's fan in our house. He also got a Kobe Bryant Laker's Jersey.
Just to show that we aren't totally Laker's fans, the collection also included Celtic games.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rachel's Birthday

Our baby Rachel turned 17 on August 24. She wanted to have a party which started out as just a few of her friends coming over to a house of 20+ teenagers. Her friends were nice enough to bring mocktails for the party. Fortunately she has some great friends here that totally respect her values.
We had plenty of pizza, soda, chips, cookies, all the junk food that teenagers want.
The one thing she really wanted for her birthday was Honey Bunches of Oats. Sounds crazy but they are a treat for us here. Fortunately the local expat store carried it and she ended up with three boxes for her birthday. Quite the easy girl to shop for I guess.

We had to have the traditional cake with candles. Again, not the easiest thing to find here. I had to bake it myself and luckily I remembered to bring back birthday candles from the US this summer.
Most of the cake got eaten but some frosting somehow got misplaced on a few faces.

Nancy even got a little frosting to the face.
Rachel and Blair Bear....It was a fun party for Rachel. I can't believe that next year she will be off in college somewhere celebrating her 18th birthday.

20th Anniversary

Yes, it's been 20 years. August 18, 1990 we were married in Mesa Arizona. We celebrated our anniversary sitting in meetings at school preparing for the new year but the following Saturday we headed off to Hong Kong. Just the two of us. We started the day by going to the Hong Kong temple followed by lunch at an Italian Restaurant. We decided to just spend the rest of the day sight seeing in Hong Kong and went up the tram to the mall at the top of the mountain. The tram is the famous tram that was built in the early 1900's that goes up a very steep hill. The line was long and it was steaming hot waiting but we endured it anyway. It was fun just being together.

At the top of the mountain is a mall and we were dying of thirst so we quickly found McDonald's to get a drink. We were pleasantly surprised at the view. I don't think I have ever been at a McDonald's that has a terrace over looking the bay below. It was rather nice to just sit and enjoy the view....until....some rather obnoxious kids sat down next to us.

By Gavin's expression you can tell that this wasn't a good scene. The boy in the background sitting next to us was the biggest porker we had ever seen. He had a hamburger in one hand, chicken sandwich in the other and still was able to shove hand fulls of french fries in his mouth which drinking two different sodas. What was his mother thinking? Obviously nothing. She was clueless and it was pretty clear that this boy got to do WHATEVER he wanted. No rules, nothing.
We tried to get a picture but didn't want to be rude...
This is the view from the top of the tram. It was a clear beautiful day, just a little hot.

It was hard to get a picture of the tram that showed how steep it had to go coming up the mountain. While riding the tram you literally had to hang on if you were standing or you would slide backwards.

It was a great day just hanging out together in Hong Kong. Wonder where we will be next year to celebrate our anniversary!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beach Day in China

We returned to China on August 11 and were glad to be home. Strange to say that but this has become our home. After a few days of getting over our jetlag, we headed off to the beach with the Galicia's and some of Rachel's friends. It was a very HOT sunny day but the water and scenery made up for it. The Chinese people don't like being out in the sun much so we usually have the beach pretty much to ourselves. At least this beach.

It looks so tropical that you would think this would be a popular vacation spot. They have a few little bungalows you can rent for the night or you can just pitch a tent anywhere. Gavin brings his scout troop here for their campouts. Maybe someday the Chinese will catch on and make this more of a vacation spot but for now we will enjoy this little hideaway.

Since it was so hot, we spent a lot of time in the shade under the umbrella or in the water. Vika of course always seems to make any situation fun.
Mahika and Nancy are ready for a game of football.
Always fun when Frank Galicia is around. These goof balls hijacked Mahika's camera to take these silly pictures.
It was boiling hot and the sand would burn your feet but of course there were Chinese vendors walking all along the beach. This guy is selling fruit, not the fruit we would want to eat, but Chinese fruit. I haven't figured out why they eat some of this stuff. It usually is a pain to eat and not worth the effort. He had these small fuzzy grape looking things that you peel and eat the slimy stuff inside that has a huge seed in the middle. It just is never worth the effort because the amount of fruit you actually eat is really tiny and they have no taste what so ever.
Is that actually a volleyball in his arms and not a basketball? Doesn't matter what the sport is, Gavin is always willing to play.

Blair and Rachel being their cute little selves. Blair has become our other daughter because she fits right in with us, looks and all.