I'm going to break it into parts because there's just so much to talk about.
Mark and I arrived in China on Thursday. The wedding was held in ChungPing's fairly small hometown. (I've asked hundreds of times, but can never remember the name. Sorry.) We were met at the airport by ChungPing's sisters, and brought to the hotel. It was really nice, and also happened to be where the wedding would take place.
So then, we went out with ChungPing's family, SangKwun, and some others to a Chinese hot pot dinner. We ate it about 4 or 5 times while we were there, and it never got old. Every hot pot restaurant we went to had a big revolving center for all the food. Then we each had our own individual hot pots. And the sesame sauce with cilantro... amazing.
Not surprisingly, Mark also dived right into the Chinese liquor. This little bottle is cheap (like $1.50) but the liquor is potent. As in, I took one sip and could feel my mouth and throat burning. So Mark drank the entire bottle one-shot by one-shot.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and spent some time drinking beer with SangKwun and a couple of his friends.
The next day was when things got a little weird. Birth Father was due to arrive later that day, so we met a few of his work colleagues for lunch. After lunch, they told us that they wanted to go to the Shaolin Temple, which was the birthplace of Kung Fu. Awesome, we were in.
But then, after going out and talking to various drivers, we found out that the temple was too far. So the driver offered to take us somewhere nearby.
He drove us to a place and rapped on the gate where we were greeted by a one-armed man. Then, we were led to a run-down looking building with pictures of animals on the outside. So, we paid the entrance fee and went in. Walking through these dingy, run-down rooms it became apparent that we were in a zoo. But there really weren't any animals, only a huge tortoise in a small aquarium. But then we got outside and were handed a huge block of animal food and saw this.
Yep, that would be a huge bear in a very tiny cage. It was actually pretty sad since it literally had no room to walk around and it was just like a concrete box.
After listening to the bear roar and attempting to feed it, we were directed outside to look at various fenced in areas with animals listed, but no animals. This place was making the St. Louis zoo look like animal paradise!
As we were walking around, we were kind of confused because this park was really crowded and there were quite a few people walking around. Surely they weren't all here to see this "zoo"?!?!
We walked up the hill and saw another run-down area with tons of men standing around outside. There were also a surprising number of dogs hanging out... all of a sudden, Mark leaned over to me and said, "I think this is a dog fight." Excuse me?!?!? [In case any of you wanted to see what a Chinese dog fight looked like, I apologize because at this point I completely forgot I was carrying a camera and didn't take any pictures.]
So in our broken Korean, we confirmed with Birth Father's colleagues that this was, indeed, a dog fight. One of his colleagues (holding his year old son) wanted to get closer to the action. We resisted, so we all continued walking up the hill. But then we found ourselves at a dead end behind the dog fighting building. The guy (still holding his son) walked right into the building and motioned for us to follow. Um, scariest place I've ever been in my life. Apparently this is where they keep the dogs before/after they fight. So as we walked through this darkened dungeon, pit bulls chained in various rooms lunged, snarled, and snapped at us. Horrible. I refused to watch an actual fight, so after we made it through that place, we headed out.
After we got back to the hotel, we met Birth Father, where he had a good laugh about our afternoon's "sight-seeing." What a weird day.
Later that evening we went to dinner. Mark and I had to laugh because the menu looked like this, but we were asked multiple times if we'd like to order.
Here's a cute one of Birth Father and I at dinner.
Birth Father was really cute with his colleague's son. He was constantly trying to play with him and carried him on the walk home. Cute.
After dinner, we all headed to the noraebang. Here's the group.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by this sign in front of the hotel. Yes, that would be a billboard size picture of SangKwun and ChunPing.
To get an idea of scale, here's a shot of the front of the hotel with the sign lit up to the right. It was huge!
After seeing this huge billboard, we could only wonder what was in store for the wedding the next day... The wedding day will be my next blog post. Coming soon...