It's here! Our 100th day on the road. We left October 16th, and now it's January 23rd.
That said, it's been nuts. We've been all over the place (so far: Japan, China, Tibet, Nepal, and India), heard all sorts of languages, and walked probably more than is healthy.
Just joking. You can never walk too much.
So, what am I doing to celebrate our 100th day? Writing this blog post, full of small snippets of our life over the past hundred days.
Before I begin, though, something Melly, a friend from the Write Write And Write group, said before we left:
"The number one thing to remember, mino, if anything ever goes wrong, it will make a hilarious story later on."
And she was right.
Japan is one of the most organized countries I've ever seen.
While waiting to enter (or exit?) one of the any gardens (which are stunning, by the way), I spotted a black and white dog that looked decidedly out of place.
I nudged Ileana.
Look at that dog. I said, I think that's the first out-of-place thing I've seen here.
Unfortunately for my very interesting quote, even the dog was in-place— he went up to a security guard and started eating the scraps of his sandwich as if he was very used to such royal treatment.
While in another garden, hurrying because the closing time was approaching, a gardener walked up to Dad. The rest of us kept walking, because we wanted to see as much as possible of the garden before it closed.
When Dad caught up to us, he said
Știi ce mi-a zis omul ăla? "Sloowly, sloowly, hurry-hurry-hurry!" Adică, bucură-te de grădină, dar grăbește-te.
[And in English!]
You know what that man told me? "Sloowly, sloowly, hurry-hurry-hurry!" Which means, enjoy the garden, but hurry up.
That about sums it up.
Dad has a compass on his iPhone. He pulls it out regularly, makes bee-dance motions with his hand, and then checks the direction we're supposedly going in.
While pulling out his iPhone to do exactly that, he says,
Stai să ne busolim puțin… Ăsta este un cuvânt nou.
Let's compass ourselves a bit… this is a new word.
Near our hotel room in Beijing, there were a few restaurants.
One of these was a 'hot-pot' restaurant. You order raw food and the waitress brings over a bronze pot and fills it with boiling water.
You then use chopsticks to throw your food into the pot.
That's the easy part.
The hard part is getting it out.
As Dad said while we were 'bobbing for apples with sticks,'
Mi-a căzut și mi-a scăpat bucata cea mai mare de carne de la inventarea "mutonului."
I just dropped and lost the biggest piece of meat since the invention of mutton.
We found it…
Usually when we go places it's because our parents are pushing from the back for us to go there.
Not so to this random place we went to in Beijing. Dad unexpectedly said, as we were looking about…
Visul meu, speranța mea, este să nu mai venim pe aici. Uitați-vă bine.
My dream, my hope, is that we don't come here again. Look well.
Upon meeting Bunica and Bunicu and Nasha in Beijing, Bunica remembered she wanted to bring out the brushes she'd brought for us.
Am făcut bagajul foarte organizat, ca urmare acum nu găsesc nimic.
I made the bags very organized, so now I can't find anything.
You all remember that the real name of the Great Wall of China is the Great Steps of China.
This unprecedented find was helped by Ioan.
Peking duck is also known as the duck from paradise, as dubbed by Ileana.
I try to get a quote from each city we go to, but we'd been in Lhasa for almost a week and I still had no quote.
Someone say something funny for our Lhasa quote!
I exclaimed, and Ileana burst out laughing.
We were in a restaurant other than our beloved Alchemy, and we'd just ordered what looked to be very red and green food.
Red, of course means spices. Green often means the same thing.
Ia să vedem ce e aici, Mama a zis, luând niste carne dintr-o farfurie, Uite, Tata.
Let's see what this is, Mom said, taking some meat from a plate, Here, Dad.
The food looked to be spicy.
This looked like a blatant attempt at poisonization! We all stared at Mom.
Dad dies, Ileana says, and Mom says, "Free at last!"
Dad grins and says, "Ah. Guess I shouldn't have let him cancel the life insurance."
(Referring, of course, to the fact that we are every American's worst nightmare: Jobless, Homeless, and Uninsured.)
When we'd finished eating, I looked at my plate with a frown and said,
Okay. I ate one piece of chicken, one of those, and a fourth of the macaroni. That's it. So why am I so full?
You're full of yourself. He said.
Of course, with such bantering going on around me, I had my iPod Touch out almost constantly. When I drew it out again, Ioan said,
Are you sure you want to take that risk?
Prompting, of course, another quote.
What risk? It was a calculated mistake.
And when I put it away, Ioan said,
Are you sure you want to do that? A funny quote WILL come.
The next morning, at breakfast on the terrace, we looked up because a strange noise was coming from the water tank.
"Oh," said Mom, "it just filled up."
"How much water do you think is in that?" Ioan asked,
"About 1000 liters."
"What happens when it runs out?"
"No more hot water." Mom said, "And then you get rusty water."
Ioan looked over toward Ileana, a mischievous smile on his face. Ileana is well-known for her long stays in the bathroom when there is access to a shower and/or mirror.
Hear that, Ileana? He asked, If you use more than 1000 liters…
The next night, at dinner, while confronted with some of the spiciest food we've encountered, Dad said,
Mananc ceapa ca sa-mi scot iuteala.
I'm eating onions to take away the spiciness.
Yeah, the food was that spicy.
But we had not yet arrived in India… where 'not spicy' means 'two little chiles.'
One night, after a movie, Ioan, Dad and I decided to start playing FAZAN.
The basic rules of the game are this—
1. Have someone say the alphabet. Someone else must then say STOP.
2. The person saying the alphabet must say a word starting with that letter.
3. The person to the right or left of the first person must then say a word that begins with the last two letters of the previous word. (Which is why this game is very hard in English.)
4. Repeat step 3 until someone cannot find a word, at which point play starts again from Step 1, and the 'loser' receives a letter from the word FAZAN.
When Dad started winning too easily, we changed to a derivative of the game "we're going on a picnic…"
That of naming gods and goddesses. When we couldn't find anything for a C We called down Ileana.
And spent another hour trying to figure out gods and goddesses name. Apparently, according to Dad, Christ doesn't count for the game, because:
Real gods don't count.
When we got to K and couldn't find anything, it was Dad's turn. He said,
"I don't know anything for K… there's a psychiatric medication for that, but I don't know any deities."
I asked Dad if he really knew 26 medications from A to Z… and he knew about 20 of them. (There are not many medications for J, W, etc.) He knew them, side effects, use… etc.
I think I want to be a psychiatrist when I grow up!
The first day, we all went up to see a temple walking distance from our hotel. However, when we finished sightseeing the temple, Ioan, Mom, and Dad wanted to climb up some huge rocks and see from up there, but Ileana and I just wanted to walk home.
Because Ileana gets lost coming back from the bathroom in an airport, I took the lead.
And led us into a thicket of brambles that didn't quite look like the path we'd come back by.
HOWEVER. The bramble path was right in front of us, and the correct path was out of the way and to the right.
While we were trying to push through the bramble path, Ileana stepped on a bramble.
This is painful— proven by Ileana's loud exclamation.
"This is all your fault!"
"I didn't make you step on a bramble." I said, laughing, "You should have looked where you were going."
For the sake of humor, it's YOUR fault! Ileana exclaimed,
And that was that. XD
Dacă mănânc tot ce e aici, pot să dorm eu în camera din mijloc și țânțari o să leșine.
If I eat everything that's here, I can sleep in the middle room and the mosquitos will faint.
No explanation is needed for this quote besides the fact that spicy food deters mosquitoes.
As we were climbing 800 steps to reach the Moon Palace (a round, circular HOLE in the middle of a mountain in Guilin, China, that looks like a 'full moom' in some places and a 'full moon' in others), Ileana and I spotted a white person.
At the beginning of the trip, says Ileana as we climb, everyone was looking at us like 'oh look a white person!' And now I've turned into them!
It is true. It's soooo amazing to see a Caucasian (or African, or anything besides Indian/Asian) that we sometimes stare.
NO ONE tells you about this when you head off to Asia.
I ordered a spaghetti bolognese at the Luna restaurant.
The waitress as she was reading it back, said:
So you wanted a spaghetti broken eggs, green beans and pork, … etc etc.
It is cold in China. When I am miserable, everyone must be miserable as well. Hopping around is not an acceptable behavior for freezing people.
BUT… that is exactly what Ioan was doing.
Ioan! It's cold! HIBERNATE!
IT'S COLD! I'M COLD! I'M COLD! I'M COLD!
There was no heating, you see, in our rooms.
Our washing machine (how awesome are washing machines!) makes strange sounds. Something like an airplane taking off.
Mom's reaction was something like this:
Cine își ia zborul?
Who's taking flight?
We are! Except we're taking the ferry out of Hong Kong, not an airplane. ^_^
As a side note, Chinese New Year Parade was amazing, long, and somewhat tiring— we were squashed against the fence in one position for about an hour. Moving meant losing part of the parade. NO WAY.
It was… amazing. But more on that (and hopefully pictures) later!