Today is officially a free day, but we decided to take a tour to the Chen Academy Museum and to Six Banyan temple. We've been to the Chen Academy before, but we felt it would be something to keep us busy and give us an opportunity to spend some time with the other families and especially their babies.
The Chen Academy was a private house which was owned by the Chen family and used for educational purposes among other things. The architecture of its buildings is very ornate and impressive. It is now a museum with gift shops scattered about inside.
Babies Waiting for a Blessing at Six Banyan Temple
Six Banyan Temple is a temple where many of the parents bring their new babies for a blessing from a buddhist monk. It is named after the 6 banyan trees that formerly grew there, but no longer exist. Being Christians, we decided not to participate in the blessings, choosing instead to stroll around the compound admiring the architecture and art. However, a Chinese lady saw Mark sitting with Tamlyn and handed him a laminated triangle of paper. Later we found out that it contained a blessing and well wishes for the baby. Although we don't believe in these types of blessings, we were grateful for well wishes.
Today is Tamlyn's birthday. It is too bad that we could not spend her first birthday with family and friends back home, but it is nice that she can have a celebration of some sorts in her native land. Next to the White Swan hotel is a nice little bakery and deli shop where we were able to purchase a couple of small pastries for our private celebration. Thinking ahead, we brought candles and birthday hats from the States just for this occasion. In our room, we popped out the pastries, lit a single candle, wore party hats, and sang "Happy Birthday" to Tamlyn. I think she enjoyed the cake much more than our singing.
Time to go out for some more shopping then to bed.