However, none of that...none of what we saw or anticipated in those places and times could prepare us for perhaps the freakiest, weirdest and spooky piece of art we've ever seen.
No. For indeed, when Diane and I were on our REI Adventures tour of China last year, we encountered a picture so mind-warping that, well, see for yourself...
That's right. This disturbing image hung over our bed in the motel - more of a roadhouse - that our group stayed in near the Great Wall. Look at this thing. There's so much going on. What's with the grapes? How about the matching Snoopy outfits? How random is that?! What's with the Astro-Turf and the superimposed all-American Midwest house as the background? And most importantly, just what the "F" are those babies smiling about? What could this all mean?
Needless to say, we quickly took the picture down, turned it around and set it against the wall on the floor. There was absolutely no way we were going to let these little Chuckies jump down in the middle of the night and murder us in our sleep...for that was the only rational explanation either of us could come up with for the existence of this picture.
Safely locked in the picture frame up against the wall, these two never did give us any trouble and we returned them to their perch on the wall just before we left for our next destination.
OK, weird enough, right? Dodged that bloodfest. Well, flash forward to today. I get an e-mail from one of our friends from the REI trip who also saw this picture in our room (and who was freaked out by it too may I add). He says he just watched a TV program about Iraq the other day and lo-and-behold, in the background of some footage inside an Iraqi's home is...you guessed it...evil baby art!
Here it is...
See that calendar behind the guy. Look familiar? Could those be grapes the baby is holding? Is the baby not sitting on Astro-Turf grass? What. The. F.
So now we know that this baby art is not just a China thing. At minimum it's a China/Iraq thing and probably more like an Asia/Mideast thing all together. But still...what does it mean? What does it symbolize?
I invite anyone to check into this and let us all know. Seriously. I want to know. Is it a fertility thing? A "happy home" thing? Something else?
In the meantime, until we know more, I can still only conclude as I did in the back forty of China that there is evil intent in this...the spookiest picture we've ever seen.