We had had trouble fitting this trip into our schedule, because we are pretty tightly booked. Then, when we could have gone yesterday afternoon, I was too zonked. So I really wanted to go today. I thought it was important that we get this in. It was one of the reasons we had come: see friends, buy shoes, buy bras, buy books.
On our way out, we passed one of the teachers from the school who lives in this building. He was carrying flowers. He smiled and talked to Ping-Ping. She said "Chu mei shu" This delighted me because I actually understood it. "Go to buy books."
The bookstore was a rather long taxi drive away. I think I have spent more money on taxies than almost anything else since I got here. Each ride is not much six to eight dollars, but we have taken a lot of them. I have been in more taxies in the last ten days than the whole rest of my life.
I spent the time in the taxi (when not thinking about what Rachel Griffin should while yelling at Victor Von Doom) looking at the Chinese New Year decorations that are now everywhere. A whole section of trees were hung with what looked like chimes...but then the "chimes" lit up to look like falling snow and blue and yellow lights. Very pretty! I was hoping it would be dark when we came back, so we could see even more lights, but it was not yet dark.
We arrived at the bookstore and found a map right away. I ended up buying two...neither, I think, are exactly what I wantd, which was a street map, but they are close. Already I got Ping-Ping to finally figure out where we are...so I have two points of reference, here and Shamain Island, which--thanks to Google Maps--I can now find on a map.
So, Ping-Ping got to fill a rolling basket--which looked exacty like the red ones they now have at our local supermarket in Virginia--with books. She picked all manga. Picture books. I recommended a few other things, but ultimately, let her get what she wanted. this is for her to read and enjoy. If she wants something more, she can read in English. (She has begun to read a little in English. Like Juss, she likes the Wimpy Kid books. She has the latest with her. Our friend Joy bought it for her before we left. I have recommended that she finish it and give it to Juss for his birthday, as I had been planning to buy it for him.)
So, the basket filled with colorful manga. We had one of her friends with us. (GuangHuangZen chose to stay back at the apartment. Whether to watch the place while the plumber was there, or because he did not want to go, I do not know. It was not made clear to me.) I told the girl to buy some books for herself, too. She was delighted and picked four...a how to draw anime book and three manga. She is sitting beside me reading them at the moment.
One of the books Ping-Ping bought had only one or two pictures per page. She was almost finished with the whole 200 pages of it by the time we got home. I figure this is not the worse thing. Anything she is done with and does not want to keep can be given to other children at the school.
We went with 1100 yuan of book buying mone--gift money from friends and relatives for just this purpose. I told her I wanted her to spend at least half. She spent between 600 and 700..another 100 yuan if you count the taxi both ways. I thought this was perfect. She came away with two big bags of books and there is a little spending money left.
Ping-Ping's friend, whose name keeps escaping me--she is one of the students from the elementary school--insisted on carrying the bags. I tried to take one, but she wanted to do it. I think it may have been her way of saying thank you, so I let her. She seemed very happy.