Sunday, January 04, 2009

I forgot to mention! and today!

Additions to yesterday:
Joe reminded me to mention some of the amenities at our hotel in Beijing. In our bathroom, there was a lovely assortment of personal items, including vibrating condoms and special private parts lotion and special private parts cleansing towels. Boy, did I have some explaining to do to E and C.
We did do a little shopping. First at the hotel, "Sweet" waited on us at the hotel gift shop. Her name was aptly chosen. She was kind and attempted English at every turn. It was my first time spending Chinese money. The jade pieces were 100 yuan each. I was concerned about the amount we were spending. I bought 3 pieces, one for each of my girls, to return to the room to discover that I had spent a hopping $45! Next, at the Friendship store I continued the shopping spree. I did buy 4 pieces of cloisonne, all christmas ornaments. I purchased a scarf, and many calligraphy cards for the girls friends' names. At the friendship store we ate lunch. It was amazing how much food was placed on our lazy susan. Claire was happy to partake in lunch, just to get and opportunity to spin the wheel! Lunch was great. Joe and I tried absolutely everything. Only one thing "put-off" some people, the sweet and sour fish. It was basically a whole fish sectioned into pieces and fried. It was served standing up on a plate. We really enjoyed it, and only one other person tried it. We are feeling no residual effects from the Great Wall. What I didn't get in the previous blogs was how steep the steps are! So far it was my favorite moment of the trip (quickly to be replaced tomorrow). Last night we converted our American dollars to yuan for the upcoming adoption fees. We discovered that the largest denomination of yuan is 100. We are now toting around a five inch stack of bills. I feel like some kind of drug dealer!

Good evening from Nanning. We left Beijing at "0" dark hundred for the airport. The hotel was nice enough to send us off with a box breakfast (hard boiled egg, turkey and cheese sandwich (no crust), cookies, salad, and a banana). It was nice for them to do it, even if it was more like lunch. Our flight out of Beijing was easy. The guides are great, and we really do not have to worry about much, thankfully! Interesting as the airport scanner personnel are a bit more bold than American airport scanners. Joe and I were both "felt-up" by the same woman. Also they seem to not worry so much about men scanning men and women scanning women. We had a bit of a laugh. After a three hour flight, we arrived in Nanning. the Nanning airport brought on my first encounter with squatty potties. Needless to say it wasn't as bad as I suspected, but I wasn't too thrilled about the unusually "wet" floor. Our bus was 20 minutes late (translate to about an hour). I did notice a difference in the pollution here versus Beijing. Surprisingly, it is worse here. Apparently, today was the 90th Anniversary of Nanning's autonomy, and the there was horrendous traffic due to the celebration. The wait was no big deal really. I enjoyed talking to all of our families. We have really great people in our group (13 families, in all). We headed to the hotel We came into our hotel room, all of the families are on the same floor.....imagine that, the hotel doesn't want to disturb other guests with crying babies!!!!! Our hotel room hadn't been clean yet, so we left to give housekeeping the opportunity to finish. We wandered downstairs to xerox our visas at the business center, I some how missed that on the millions of checklists! It was about 2:00 and the girls were hungry. We searched for a quick restaurant nearby. We asked the front desk and they recommended the restaurant downstairs. It was a nice little place with 200 pictures on the wall with the prices. We were all brave and pointed and ordered our food. Claire had fried rice, Emily and I had rice noodles with meat, and Joe had some spicy beef, dumplings, and steamed buns. We were one of two tables in there. The wait staff was so very kind, as they all have been so far. We all liked our food and Joe was so impressed by the final price 89 yuan! That is about $13.84. He kept saying it must be wrong! Those numbers could not have been prices, perhaps they were order numbers. Joe could just not fathom the total bill. Of course, he was further impressed by massage prices of 45 yuan for 45 minutes. (about $7). He is proclaiming that he should get a massage everyday! Joe headed to the supermarket to buy water while I unpacked. He said that he feels like a giant among all the people. He is just so much bigger than the people here (wide and tall).
So the word is tomorrow at 2:00 we leave for the Civil Affairs office which in located inside a hotel. The babies should be arriving around 3:00. Flora has her last night in the orphanage tonight, and about a 2.5 hour train ride from the Yulin orphanage tomorrow. I am guessing that she left her foster home a week or so ago to return to the orphanage.
Dinner is still up for grabs tonight. We are still feeling the effects of the time change. We drag around 5:00pm.
Everything is unpacked, the clothes are laid out, and the crib is in our room. We have less than 20 hours! Not that we are counting or even paying attention!
Here are a few photos of our trip. I will post more later!!!


Rebecca said...

Sounds like a wonderful day in Beijing! I especially like the pic of C, she looks like Cat Woman!

I'm sure the crib in your room made your heart skip a's really happening my friend!

Love, R :)

Tiffany said...

I am so glad the girls are with you to share this...I can't wait for tomorrow...don't forget the pics tomorrow!!!!!

Alyson and Ford said...

Loved reading about your adventures. Reminds us of our trip. Yes, the Great Wall steps are very uneven and steep. We about died climbing the two levels (we are old and out of shape!).
Looking forward to your Forever Family pics!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

FinsUp said...

Thanks for the big update... and the assurance you can post pics! I guess the big Nanning celebration answers the question of why not Sunday. And the 20 minute late bus being an hour late, is that because time converts like money?

I can't wait to see pictures of Flora. No, correction, pictures of you all WITH Flora. Hands of time, swing faster!

Shannon said...

Sounds like a great trip (with some very interesting parts!) so far! I really wish we had been routed through Beijing. Good to have a mini tour with you! Can't wait for your Flora though-probably have her at this point! =)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you all hit some of the same tourist spots and restaurants as we did in November. We had 4 different guides (Michelle was not one of them). Only a few hours until you meet Flora, it will be a LONG morning of waiting for you. We met Savannah at 10:30 am. She and the nanny were already waiting for us at the Civil Affairs when we arrived. We were both nervous and anxious hanging around the hotel waiting for 10 am to roll around. I remember it well. Can't wait for the pictures!

Lisa Libby