Today started with a tour of Guangzhou. It is such an amazing city..rated the 2nd most beautiful in China. Our first stop was The Temple of Six Banyan Trees. It is a Buddhist temple originally built about 1,400 years ago. The pagoda is stunning and I enjoyed photographing the architecture. We were invited to the alter to receive a blessing from the monk. Dennis and I felt very comfortable as Christians to receive this specific blessing knowing that the act is a cultural custom for babies. We respect Kate and the Chinese people and humbly chose to participate. We were asked to send our prayers as the ceremony was preformed and we did...as we normally do. For the blessing, I switched Kate from the front carrier position to my back as this is the typical fashion Chinese babies are carried in both ancient and modern times, as explained by our guide. Feeling blessed to be her mama, I was moved by the experience.
Our second stop was the Chen Clan Academy. Once an academic institution, it now houses the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. The building was lovely and we enjoyed watching masters and students perform their talents in painting, paper cutting, and calligraphy. We came away with calligraphy pieces for both Kate and Nola. We are still looking for the perfect treasure for Jack.
The final destination of the day was a shopping area that specializes in jade and porcelain. Kate's provence is well know for these items and we wanted to make sure to purchase heirloom quality pieces for her that were not counterfeit. For that mission, we did accept the help of our guide Jocelyn who is skilled in this area. For Kate we chose a jade circle pendant that represents health and longevity. The circle is representative of family and the jade itself is believed to have protective qualities, making it a very special piece for her. Chinese people value jade much like westerners value diamonds or gold. In fact, they often say, "more precious then jade" as you may hear at home "more precious than gold." We also purchased two hand painted tea sets. One is very small and for display, as it is paper thin and almost translucent. It is a special type of porcelain from this region. The second set is yellow with dragons. The yellow represents royalty, fitting for our princess don't ya think? And the dragon....Kate's zodiac sign.
The highlight of the day: A banana! Look at the reaction we got from Kate as she played a game of keep away from mama. She was smashing it in her hands as I was trying to take it from her before it ended up in her hair!
The Six Banyan Tree Temple
Chen Clan Academy