Yesterday we spent some time with our generous guide Catherine. She plans tours for us to see the city whenever we have down time. They are always optional, but we all get on the bus with our babies bundled in snugglies. One of my apprehensions has always been about taking Tessa out in public in . If I get a lot of attention as a Westerner, what will the attention be like as a Westerner with a Chinese baby? Sometimes I feel as if I am stealing something precious. I am taking away the most beautiful little person, and I kind of want to sneak her out. I am afraid they will see what I am doing and demand I give her back. I want to be as inconspicuous as possible.
We went out to the Tengwang Pavillion to look around and see a little music show. As we were watching the music the ladies in gold found us. They began pointing and staring at all of us in turn, first Rana and her daughter Josie, then Julie and Joe and Madeline. They were dressed in gold and had nice cameras, and they absolutely could not stop talking to us or taking our pictures. Catherine came over and told us they were very excited and happy and said over and over again how we had changed these little girls lives and gave them a better future. This was a really beautiful thing to hear, but they seemed to be stalking us. Every corner I turned there were the ladies in gold. I finally gave in and told Geoff to take their picture with us. I will never forget them.
Later that day Catherine booked a cab and Rana and Geoff and Grayson and Tessa and I went out to see a village on the outskirts of . Rana thoughtfully brought some candy, and we became like pied pipers through the Tao Village. Everywhere people came out of their homes to stare at us and the children began to follow us everywhere. Catherine explained who we were and that Geoff and I were adopting Tessa. They scolded us with smiles on their faces for not bundling her up better. Tessa was all eyes for them and the chickens in the street and the children following us. It felt a little like being in a parade at the fourth of July except we were the only people in the parade. I'll let the pictures tell the story. It was an amazing visit on a cold chilly day. We will never forget.