Where We Be
Our kid-fest begins when this teacher asks if the kids can have their picture taken with us
Guilin Kid-Fest
We have the afternoon at leisure so we decide
to go for a walk in Guilin's Seven Star Park. We
pay our admission (it's fairly common to pay a
small fee to get into most parks in China). Near
the park entrance, we meet a group of twenty
or so boisterous school kids. Their teacher
approaches and asks if the kids could have
their picture taken with us. We say yes, of
course, and so begins our Guilin kid-fest!

The kids swarm all over us with smiles and
hellos. We pose for the official photo taken by
the teacher, then we take a bunch of our own
photos of the kids. They cram in front of the
camera and adopt all sorts of kung-fu-like and
V-for-victory poses. They love to see the
results of each picture in the LCD screen. To
say these kids are cute and full of life is an
understatement.

Before we came to China, we had something of
a misconception about the Chinese people,
who we thought would be reserved and a bit
distant, but that is very far from the case. They
are wonderfully warm, open, and friendly -- and
surprisingly outgoing. While they are invariably
polite, they welcome the chance to talk with you
and interact. Even if they speak no English at
all (which is rare), their smiles speak volumes.
We love this kid-drawn map of the USA, Canada, and Mexico, complete with Chinese symbols
Let the poses begin! The following photos don't really require captions -- just enjoy all the cuteness and boisterous energy!
This is one of my favorite pictures from China. This fellow from our group happens to be a big guy with a handlebar mustache and
a round Santa-Claus face. The Chinese absolutely love him. Girls want to have their picture taken with him. More than once he has
his belly patted, as you can see in the photo above. Several call him “laughing Buddha” in reference to the fat, jolly Buddha statues
you see in Buddhist temples. Thankfully he is the kind of guy who laughs at all this and gets as much pleasure from it as they do.
Robin and two other members of our group hold up the hand-drawn pictures given to them by the kindergarten students
Guilin Kindergarten
Our kid-fest continues the next morning when
we visit a local kindergarten. We're ushered
into two classrooms. The first is full of slightly
older children busily drawing and coloring in
pictures for us, which they eventually hand to
us, shyly but proudly. The younger kids in the
next classroom even more shyly ask us to
dance. One fellow in our group is an instant hit
when he hoists the kid he's dancing with up
into the air above his head. Soon all the kids
want him to do the same. Their shyness quickly
vanishes.

We head outside and watch as a hundred or so  
kids happily play in a large courtyard, doing
calisthenics and generally being rowdy. It's
interesting to note that virtually none of these
children has siblings. Most are only children
due to China's One Child Policy. Their shared
time at school and in the playground is thus
doubly important because it gives them time to
play and be around other kids.

Once again, the following pictures require no
captions -- just enjoy!