Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
May 24, 2010 In the morning we went back to the medical clinic to get Abbey's TB test read. She is fine. In the afternoon we went to the pearl market. We got a few things. I waited to hear from GG to see if she had changed her mind about us getting her some pearls. Still can't believe we were in a whole mall devoted to just jewelry. It was several stories tall. We took a bus with the group to go to the pearl market. We were supposed to get a cab back to the White Swan when we were done. Some of us got taxis back and some of us had to walk. Guess what we did. Walk. It wasn't that far but Meigan was tired. I carried her most of the way. She may be heavier than Abbey but at least she hangs on. Abbey will not hang on so it's actually harder to carry her a long distance. I wanted to go back and do some more shopping in the area that we were in but David didn't want to fight the crowds. Crowds was what was there. I don't remember it being quite so congested with people last time we shopped there. They were wall to wall, well it felt wall to wall. We have yet to eat at McDonald's or KFC. Don't think we will at this point, unless we get delivery. Both KFC and McDonald's will deliver to the White Swan. I took some pics of the delivery bikes for McDonald's and Papa Johns. Don't think we loaded them on the blog, maybe later. We tried to find a KFC in Beijing after we saw a sign out front of a mall for it. We wanted to eat there, but we never did find it. The joke between us whenever we see a KFC sign is we wonder where there really is one near wherever we see a sign.
There weather has been really good here. It was really really hot and humid the first night we were here then got better and the humidity has been building. But it has been tolerable. For those of you reading this and are coming to China soon to get your little ones, the pollution is not as bad. Particularly in Guangzhou. We have seen the blue sky most days. Something we only saw one day last time we were here. The Chinese government is cleaning up the air and it is much better. It's for the upcoming Asian Games. Shamian Island is, as everyone has been saying, all torn up. But it is okay. Lucy's restaurant is going strong. They have a Subway sandwich shop and it is good. Those coming later this year to pick up their little ones will see a beautiful Shamian Island. We ate a few times for lunch at Starbucks. Not bad, I got an iced coffee with ice and am still alive to tell about it. LOL
May 25. 2010 We had a free day. Except for the famous red couch pictures in the afternoon. All the families had separate pictures taken on the sofa, then all the babies and children that were adopted this trip got their pictures taken on the sofa with their traditional silk Chinese outfits on. They all looked so….cute ! Ours was one of the first to start crying when all the kids were set side by side on the sofa. After that we all got a group picture taken in front of the waterfall in the lobby of the White Swan. Our free time has been spent shopping around the island. There are plenty of things to buy. Some of the shops you can bargain and some don't. If you visit Jordan's store on the island he is a very nice man and he will write your child's name in Chinese for free. If you want extra names he will do them for cheap. His prices are very reasonable. I found out the hard way that he had some of the same things in his store for better price than some other stores. You don't need to really bargain with him. His prices are fair. We have also enjoyed taking some pictures of the gorgeous brides all decked out in their wedding attire. Shamian Island is the perfect setting for pictures. The landscaping along the center of the island is beautiful.
May 26th 2010 We had to wait in our room until Kathy or Jocelyn called us to tell us whether our consulate paperwork went through without any problems. About 11:30 Kathy called and advised that all paperwork sailed through. We then walked to Starbucks and ate lunch with a few other families. Dave and the girls went back to the room for a nap while I cruised a few shops and spent 100s of renmin yinhang. Ate supper at Lucy's again with Laura & Scott and their girls. A quick stop at the 7-11 for ice cream bars (the Chinese junk food is better than 3 years ago), and off to the room for a good night's sleep.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Thursday, May 20, This is our last full day here in Zhengzhou. We are kind of tired of eating the same noodles and rice dishes all the time. There is not much variety in the foods we are willing to try at the restaurants in Zhengzhou. Although one night we did room service and got a pretty good tuna salad sandwich and some good noodles. The breakfast buffet has a wonderful variety of food in the morning.
We have tried some rather unique things for breakfast. Some good, some not so good, some awful foods. Meigan likes white rice in the morning with watermelon. She has tried a few things, but keeps going back to the rice and watermelon. On the way downstairs this morning to breakfast we passed one of our travel companions room. Our guide Yisha was consulting with them. They needed to take their new son to the hospital. He had a high fever during the night and had a seizure. We offered to take care of their two daughters while they went to the hospital. Meigan and the girls get along great. So they had a wonderful time together. Their son is fine now. He is of those kids that are sensitive to high fevers.
Friday, May 21 About 6:30 pm we left Zhengzhou for Guangzhou. We flew China Southern. Abbey still doesn't like me too much at this point. David sat between the girls on one row and played momma and I sat in a row all by myself and watched a movie. Meigan fell asleep shortly into the flight so David only had Abbey to contend with. Abbey was not very happy to have a seatbelt on. She was only unhappy when she realized she was being pinned in. A few other people played with her during the flight. She even played with me a bit, as long as I didn't get too close. It was a pretty good flight, a bit of turbulence, but overall okay.
When we arrived at Guangzhou airport and went outside the air was so humid we sweated just standing there. Our new guides Jocelyn and Kathy met us. They are very sweet and helpful. CCAI rocks. They take such good care of us. Anything we need they do whatever they can. The other people in our group are really great. Everyone helps everyone else out with whatever they need. We took a bus to the White Swan. It was good to be at the White Swan. We are on the 18th floor facing the Shamian Island and the city of Guangzhou. It is a wonderful view. We were hoping to have a room overlooking the Pearl river but being this high up gives a spectacular view of the city. We think that in the distance we can see Banyan Mountain that we climbed last time we were here (remember the smog factor makes it hard to see). It was late by the time we got here. It took a long time for them to get our luggage to the room. It was midnight before we got all our stuff. Me (Kathi) and the girls crashed in our clothes. It was too long of a wait for the luggage to worry with pajamas.
Saturday, May 22. We got up early and had the breakfast bar at the White Swan. Talk about good food and choices. It was more food than we ever need to eat a breakfast. Abbey is a great breakfast eater. Well, she is a good eater in general. But she will let you know (without words) when she doesn't want something or when she has had enough. He food utensil of choice: chopsticks. I keep telling her that the spoon is a much better utensil in its design,, but she doesn't believe me. She can manipulate a pair of chopsticks and a bowl and get the job done. It's rather amazing. She also likes to mix up any and all the different food that you give her in the same bowl for shoveling in her mouth. In her unvoiced opinion she likes her food mixed. Watermelon with rice, noodles, meat, cereal, etc.
This morning after breakfast we walked to the medical clinic on Shamian Island to get the children's medical examinations to get their visas. The people whose immigration documents were from before the new immigration Hague rules didn't have to get shots for their kids but us immigration Hague (new rules) had to get shots. Abbey had to get three shots. One of the other kids in our group had to get 7 shots! They broke them up into 2 days 48 hours apart. Still not good. We tried to talk them out of the Chicken Pox shot for Abbey because her foster mother told us that she already had the Chicken Pox but they looked her over and didn't see any pox marks so they said she had to have the shot. We tried. Abbey also had to have a TB test. They will read the results in 2 days. These new immigrations rules are rough on the kids. Especially those that are already ill, like Abbey. She is doing better with her bronchitis, but she is still congested. I sure hope they go back to just letting parents get their kids immunizations when they get back to the USA.
One of the doctors that looked in Abbey's mouth said that she still had a small hole in the front of the roof of her mouth. We also got to look at her two front teeth. Oh my, the two top center teeth look horrible. They look rotten. In the pictures we have of her before her lip surgery her two center top teeth are in and they look great. We don't know what happened to these teeth to make them look so bad. At least she has another chance with her permanent teeth, we guess. We already have an appointment with her pediatrician when we get home and a week after that we have an appointment with the pediatric plastic surgeon. We will see what they say. One of the documents for Abbey said she weighs 10 kg. That's 22 pounds. She is very little. She wears about 18 month clothing. Some stuff she can wear 24 month size.
She has an extremely little tushie like Meigan.
After the medical appointment we went to Lucy's for lunch. They have American cuisine. It was great to get a grilled cheese and French fries. We are noodled and riced out! But Abbey likes her Asian food, particularly rice and noodles.
After lunch we came back to the room to collect some laundry to take to one of the Chinese shops for them to do our laundry. David left Abbey and Meigan with me to take the laundry. As soon as he left and closed the door behind him she plastered herself up against the door and started wailing. It was rather pitiful. After a few minutes of that I tried to bribe her with some snacks. She actually took to me. It was quite surprising. We played a little bit. She let me hold her and we laughed and had a good time. The White Swan gives out a blonde Barbie holding an Asian baby in a clear box. Abbey and I were looking at the Barbie and I pointed to Barbie and said "momma" and pointed to the Asian baby and said "Wenwen". Abbey copied me and pointed to the Barbie and the baby and called them momma and Wenwen. I then pointed out that Barbie has blue eyes and momma has blue eyes. Abbey then pointed to my eyes and said her first English word "eye". I was impressed. I guess her real first English word doesn't count since "mama" is the same in English and Chinese. She seems to understand things we say in English but David will also talk to her in Chinese. My guess is that is why she feels more comfortable with him.
Sunday, May 23rd. We slept in this morning. I woke up a bit before 7 this morning. We could have gone on the tour of the Oldest Buddhist temple, Chen House, Arts and Crafts shopping center, but we did all that last time we were here. After eating way too much breakfast again, we walked around the White Swan. We went and checked out the two pools. One of them is really beautiful. The surrounding shade trees and waterfall is really nice. We met up with another family, Carmen and Dale and their three kids and decided we would meet back there to go swimming. The kids had a great time! The pool water was a little cool, but not too bad. After swimming we dried off, changed and went to Lucy's for lunch. Another good meal and Tsingtao (spelled right?) beer hit the spot. It's not too hot today. The weather is just perfect. After lunch we walked through the beautiful park on the island and then did a bit of shopping at Jordan's little shop. He remembered David from 3 years ago. He said he remembered the moustache. He is very persdonable. He will write your new child's name in Chinese calligraphy and it's meaning for no money (of course in hopes of getting you to buy something from his store). Works for me. He also doesn't hover over you like they do in some of the other stores. It's nice to have help but to have someone following you around the whole time can be somewhat annoying. Meigan and I went to another store (Abbey needed a nap so David and her went back to the hotel) after Jordan's and the lady there was nice but she hovered. But she also gave me a good deal on some merchandise, She discounted it before I could ask her .
Today, I was basically back to being chopped liver. Abbey still doesn't like me all that much. She lets me do stuff for her but doesn't really want me to pick her up. After Meigan and I got back to the room Abbey was asleep. So David took the chance and went to the gym at the hotel and worked out. Abbey woke up
and was not happy to find Daddy not there. She let me hold her for a few minutes, but it didn't make her feel any better. When she really started to wake all the way up she got off my lap and shook her head "no" when I motioned for her to come and sit with me. David went to pick up the laundry and she threw such a fit that he took her with him. But, when he got back with supper she let me pick her up and she sat in my lap to eat. But, she sat there with an extremely forlorn, flat expression on her face. When I changed her diaper later she put up a bit of a fuss that Daddy wasn't doing it. She's getting better, but I'm still chopped liver. David is dreading the 14 hour flight home. I'm not. Movies for me. Baby tending for him. Sounds like a deal to me. Well, I'd better get to bed. Hasta La Vista from China (can't spell Bye in Chinese). Tomorrow we get Abbey's TB test read and we go to the Pearl Market. GG, if you're reading this, email me, I can get you some pearls, just tell me what you want.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Still playing catch up on our posts. Today we realized that we forgot to post our trip to the Jade Factory. We bought some jade. I got a beautiful blue jade ring, among other things. We forgot that we went to the jade factory before we climbed the Great Wall. It was amazing to see the different types of jade and learn about them.
Our guide in Beijing was George. He was great! We liked him a lot. He's got a great personality.
After the 2 days of sightseeing around Beijing it was time to fly to Zhengzhou to get Abbey. On May 16th in the morning we went to the airport. We flew Air China (or China Air) to Zhengzhou. It was a cramped ride. Fortunately it was only about 1:45 minutes long. It was a rather smooth flight.
We arrived at the airport and our group was met by our new guides Yisha and Rita. They were very helpful and we got on a bus and went to the Crown Plaza Hotel. The hotel is very beautiful. Our room is twice as big as the one at the Holiday Inn in Beijing and very nice. Although not as many English TV channels as in Beijing. Not that we have had much time to watch television. Nice to have the illusion of being in the US by hearing English on TV.
When we first got to the hotel one person from each family went with our guide, Yisha, to the bank to exchange money for all the business transactions that were upcoming. After that we ate at the Italian restaurant inside the hotel. It was pretty good. We ate with most of the rest of the group. It was fun. Good food and good company. There was excitement in the air. The next day was going to be Gotcha Day.
We got on the bus around 9:30 on Monday morning (May 17, 2010). We rode to the provincial registration office. It was a nice day. The weather was perfect. We arrived and unloaded the bus. Went into the building and some of the babies had already arrived. A few families were handed their child as they walked in the door. We had to wait a bit for Abbey. She came about 10 or so minutes after we got there. We had some time first to take pictures and video of some of the other families getting their babies.
When Abbey got there she was delivered by (surprise!) her foster mother. I had thought that maybe she was in foster care, but when I asked they would not tell me. Whenever I saw pictures of children from Luoyang, they all had shaved heads. Abbey has a major head of hair (down to her shoulder blades in the back). We met her foster mother who could not have been sweeter. She had been caring for Abbey since she was 8 months old. Her name is Tina (the lady in the picture we posted with the white shirt on, holding Abbey). Abbey had been under the care of Amazing Hands (a Christian charity) in Beijing since she was 8 months old. She may have lived at the orphanage for awhile. It's hard to tell. Our paperwork shows she was abandoned at 11 months old in Luoyang. What's the real story? Probably will never know. But it's so wonderful that she was in the care of Amazing Hands in Beijing. Sure would have been nice to know that she was living in Beijing when we were in Beijing. Maybe we could have gone to see where she was living. Abbey and her foster mother and another little boy being adopted by a family in our group took a 6 hour train ride to meet us in Zhengzhou.
I was so shocked that she was in foster care that when her foster mother asked me if I had any questions I drew a total blank. Tina told us that Abbey was not potty trained at all, diapers always. That was good to know. Fortunately our guides had given a questionnaire to each caregiver to answer about each child. They asked some good questions. We also had the opportunity to ask more questions if we had them once we reviewed the answers to the questionnaire. When the foster mother came with Abbey we found out that they were calling her "Wen Wen". She came with a bag of stuff for Abbey. The most special thing (other than Abbey) that they gave us was a book she had prepared for Abbey. It was a book with pictures about her life in Beijing. We got pictures of her with a cupcake in front of her celebrating her first birthday and her second birthday! Is that as good as it can get (in this situation) or what?! I'm so shocked and elated that we have pictures of her life there with descriptions of people and little friends. We also got pictures of her at a much younger age before her lip was repaired. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that Abbey has this little piece of her life to look back on in the future. What a wonderful gift!
Now, you are probably wondering how the gotcha thing went. It was interesting to say the least. The foster mother cut it short and took off, knowing that Abbey wasn't going to like it. She was absolutely right. Abbey was not a happy camper when she realized Tina was gone. She started crying. She started heading for the door. The doors were wide open and she walked on out. I tried to hold her back but she kept fighting me. I tried to pick her up and carry her back in but she wriggled so much that I almost dropped her. David was busy doing some paperwork, so he was not there to help me. Finally she walked outside and stood on the stoop and was very sad, crying. An older Chinese man was there with one of the other foster mothers and he picked up Abbey and sat her on his lap. She was perfectly fine with him (she may have known him). She sat in his lap for awhile and he spoke to her and she was calm. Finally he had to leave and David was there by then. David picked her up and she did not fight him. Now she is a Daddy's girl. She doesn't want anything to do with me. Today (Wednesday May 19) David was telling her (in Chinese), after she had let me put up her hair, that Momma was good, that I was a good Momma. Wen Wen shook her head "NO". How's that for putting me in my place. I know she will get over it (she might want to, LOL) but it doesn't make me feel very good about myself right now. On the upside, I'm on vacation, giving childcare tips to David as he takes care of his little girl. She is warming up to me slightly (and I mean slightly). But we have a long ways to go. David walked away from me in the Chinese equivalent of Walmart (Lotus Center) to find something and Abbey started screaming. Fortunately I didn't get arrested for being her mother. LOL May as well laugh, crying won't do me any good. Yisha told us that these children will choose one parent and not want the other one. About half of the kids in this group are daddy's girls.
After we got our kids we met later in the day to go with the group to the Lotus Center (a somewhat Walmart like store) to get things we needed for the children. It was three stories tall and had a moving ramp between floors to carry people to each floor. The grooves on the moving ramps and the grooves on the wheels on the shopping carts caught each other while on these ramps so that the shopping cart was secure going up the ramp. It was some good technology. We were impressed.
On the way to the Lotus Center we passed a bank with an armed guard outside. He was standing there guarding the bank with a big gun that looked like a machine gun. I don't believe anyone will be robbing that bank, unless they are feeling suicidal.
One thing about stores in China. Merchandise of the same type is displayed together like in the USA but other things of the same category might be somewhere else. It was very hard to find many things because there appeared to be little rhyme or reason behind where things were located.
Meigan had to go to the bathroom while we were there at the Lotus Center. She, so far, has refused to use a squatty potty (a basic toilet seat mounted on the floor). We have so far used western toilets (many of which are easily located by finding the handicap sign on the door of such potty). This only western toilet was without a seat and was filthy. There also was about an inch or two of standing water on the floor around the potty (I sure hope it was water, trying not to think about it). I told Meigan to bend like a sitting position and I would just hold her over the potty. She refused to use it. She said it was too gross. I was getting grossed out by whatever I was standing in. Meigan decided to hold it until we got back to the hotel. She held it great. I sprayed our shoes with Lysol when we got back to the hotel.
May 18, 2010
Today is the day we finalize our adoption of Abbey. The last 24 hours have been the "Harmonious Period". It hasn't been that harmonious for me, but David and Abbey are doing great. Today we went to the registration office to get our Adoption certificate and then on to the Notary office to finish up the paperwork. Everything was going well until we got to the Notary office . They informed us on the bus that we had to walk up 6 stories to get to the office (no elevator). I told Meigan that she was going to have to walk at least most of the way. She was tired that morning and was not happy to have to walk. She fussed outside of the building so I carried her up all the steps and set her down. She started to throw a fit. I really don't know what the fit was all about but it was one of her long ones. I asked her to stop and she was too into it so I took her out of the office and put her in timeout on the steps. The whole place echoed so her cries were 10 times worse sounding. We had papers to fill out and no one could hear the directions on how to do it. David tried to fill out the papers on a chair in front of him. Then he tried to move to the table after I was out in the hall with Meigan. Somehow when he went to fold up the chair to get it out of his way it fell and hit Abbey in the lip. She was okay, but not very happy for a few minutes. Meigan was still screaming in the hallway (remember the echo factor). I came back in the room because we needed to do the paperwork and Rita, one of our guides, went to close the door so everyone could hear. The chair I was sitting in was in the way of the door so I moved it. As Rita was trying to close the door and I was trying to move the chair, I got my fingers jammed between the door and the chair. Bruised two of my fingertips. It was just a case of nothing going right. But absolutely at the wrong time. Meigan eventually quieted down and we got the paperwork done. But it was not a pleasant experience.
May 19, 2010
Today is our wedding Anniversary! 20 years of wedded bliss! Okay, maybe not all the time.
Anyway, Abbey hasn't been feeling very good. She had a runny nose when we got her and she started yesterday with a dry cough. Today she is more congested and doesn't feel good. Some of the other kids in our group don't feel well today either, they went to the doctor too. We asked our guide if we could see the doctor at the hotel. The doctor didn't speak English so our guide met us there this morning and translated for us. The doctor checked out Abbey and said she has bronchitis. Ironic, Meigan had bronchitis when we got her. One of the other families in our group had some antibiotics and gave them to us for Abbey. The doctor could have written us a prescription for Chinese antibiotics or something like it but we preferred good 'ol American drugs. That was so nice of Martin and Heather to give those to us!
Today we went shopping for just a little bit to try and find some clothes, shoes, and hair rubber bands to get Abbey's hair out of her face. Her hair grows towards her face and is very fine. She had some stray hairs hanging straight into her face. I trimmed up her bangs and made her more comfortable. Still no brownie points. This gal is a tough sell. Abbey got her first pair of squeaky sandal shoes. She loved them! Squeaking whenever she walked intrigued her.
Abbey's personality hasn't really come out yet. At least not for the most part. She is still rather reserved with us. David knowing some Chinese has helped her to feel more comfortable. One thing Abbey has down is whatever the phrase is in Chinese for "I want" When we have gone shopping she will find something she wants and say "I want" in Chinese. She understands us for the most part and follows commands in English and Chinese. She also feeds herself like a champ. David fed her in his lap for the first few days but last night at supper she took over. She doesn't mind David feeding her, but if he is a little slow she takes over.. She puts whatever she wants in a bowl and shovels it out with two chopsticks. She doesn't like using a spoon. She puts it aside. We have showed her how the spoon works but she takes it from us and sets it aside and goes back to the chopsticks. I just don't understand, if you clearly have a better product (a spoon) why not use it. Why struggle with two sticks to pick up something? I guess I won't get that one, ever. Oh well. Abbey is helpful with things. She will pick something up and give it to us. Or get something out of the way. She seems developmentally on target for her age. She has let us look inside her mouth. Her palate looks pretty good to us. Can't really see her top teeth very well. Her top lip is so tight over them. There are teeth there.
Today was our chance to go to the orphanage. We didn't go. We have three families with children from Luoyang. One family didn't want to go. One child was sick and ours is sick too. Our guide said that we wouldn't be able to go in the orphanage, just take pictures outside. She also said we probably would not be able to take pictures of her finding site because it's in a hospital. With all that against us, we reluctantly decided not to make the 3 hour trip (one way) and the 1,500 RMB to pay for the trip since we wouldn't be dividing the cost. In addition, Abbey probably didn't spend that much time there anyway since she was in foster care. So for all the families that I told I would try and get pictures of their children if we went, I'm sorry.
Tomorrow (May 20th) we are going to a Museum here in Zhengzhou. Don't really know what is there but we will find out. Also, tomorrow we get Abbey's passport. Friday we fly to Guangzhou and start the process to get Abbey's visa so she can come home! Hope she likes me by the time we get home! I rattled on long enough. I'll post again soon.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Been too busy to post. Our schedule has been busy since the 14th. Then there's that problem with getting completely on China time. We are just worn out at the end of the day. But we are adjusting slowly, it's getting better every day.
We'll play some catch up on our posting:
We went to the silk factory and saw how they make silk. Very interesting! It's amazing how strong silk is when it is woven together. The silk bedspreads, clothes, scarves, etc we saw were absolutely beautiful. The money they wanted for them was a little high. But way cheaper than after it's been exported. Very cool tour. Of course we had to buy something. It wasn't a duvet cover, didn't need one and silk and cats is not a good mix.
After the silk factory we went to climb The Great Wall of China. Good heavens that thing is tall. Uneven steps the whole way make it treacherous and challenging. It's as tough going up as it is coming down. I (Kathi) only made it about halfway. Halfway was good, still had a fabulous view without dying. On the other hand, David and Meigan went up as far as the high peak. Meigan made it to the top cupola. She climbed all the way herself, no being carried. She kept talking to David about doing it herself and winning. That's our daughter. Loves to win! It was a beautiful day for a kick the butt climb.
Once we were done with our climbing we ate lunch at a factory restaurant. I wish I could spell the name of it but they make cloisonné (couldn't spell it if I had to). We walked through the factory to get to the restaurant but didn't buy anything. We were tempted to. They were so…beautiful! The Chinese lunch was really good. Chinese style eating is that they always put tons of food on a huge lazy susan and the sampling of different types of food is wonderful.
Then after that, (yes, there's more) we went to a acrobat show. It was fabulous! Meigan missed the whole show. She fell asleep on the bus before we got there. She's still not completely on China time. She has been falling asleep most nights about 6 o'clock. Only one night she made it to 7:30.
After the Acrobat show, we went to take pictures of The Bird Nest stadium from the 2008 Olympics in China. It was very beautiful. It was the end of the day and they light it up at night. After that we went back to our hotel. We had been gone almost 12 hours. We then got together with some of the other families and went to Pizza Hut for supper. In China, Pizza Hut also serves Chinese food among other things. Both times we have had pizza so far in China, we have come to the same conclusion, Chinese don't put but a trace of pizza sauce on their pizzas. It's more like fancy cheese toast. Finally after eating we went back to our room and crashed. It was a long, but really fun day. Tomorrow I will post about Gotcha day with pictures from May 15th and May 17th (Gotcha Day). May 16 we flew from Beijing to Zhengzhou. So, for now, goodnight from China!
Day 2 of Beijing excursions: Forbidden City / Rickshaw ride in Hutong / Tiananman Square 5-14-10
We got up early today. It has been hard to sleep late (yes, I did say that, and it is me, Kathi, posting this). Today we started our day at 5:45 am. We just couldn't sleep anymore. This China time difference has been sort of difficult to adjust to. We are tired by 6:00 pm and awake at various times during the night.
Meigan fell asleep again tonight right about 6:00. This is day number 3 doing that. Fortunately we had a late lunch again. She has not eaten supper for 3 nights now. Fortunately she eats a good breakfast and lunch, so it's not a big deal.
Today we met our whole travel group. Together in a bus we went to Tiananman Square, Forbidden City, lunch at a Chinese restaurant, Silk Factory, and went on a Hutong tour in a rickshaw. It was all fun, but tiring.
Tiananmen Square was very interesting but kind of eerie. Knowing those Chinese were injured and/or died there in the name of democracy was creepy.
Next was Forbidden City. Forbidden City was the palace of the Ming & Chin Chinese emperors. It was huge. It was like a city. There were tons of Chinese people there. Navigating through the sea of people was challenging. At one point a huge crowd of people descended upon the view to the emperor's throne. We started to try and look but the crowd was so overwhelming we backed off. David did get a picture, but it wasn't taken at the best spot possible. It just wasn't worth the effort. Near the end of our tour an artist singled David out of our group and sketched his picture on a plate. When he was done he then proposed that David buy the plate. He bought it and the guy pulled out a can of shellac and sprayed it before giving it David.
Once we left the Forbidden City. A lady with a baby approached me and asked me for money (in broken English) to feed her baby. I told her no. I didn't have any money on me. Another one approached David just ahead of me and he gave her some money. Next thing you know women with babies starting coming out of the woodwork. After lady with baby #4 David had to say no. Lady with baby #5 was very persistent, invading David's personnal space and almost demanding he give her money. David told her no several times but she persisted. He finally had to say it like he meant it. Then she went away. Of course there are lots of people having hard times in China. But we have also heard of women using babies as ploys to beg for money and not giving the baby what they need. It's all so very sad.
In the last few days, Brinna (the daughter of the other couple we met in our group)and me have been singled out for photos with Chinese people. They have chosen me several times but Brinna has been treated like a super star. I can't even count how many pictures have been taken of her with Chinese strangers. She has strawberry blonde hair and big pretty blue eyes. She is a major fascination with the Chinese. Everywhere we go the Chinese people that see her are just fascinated with her hair and eyes.
Lunch was good at the Chinese restaurant. Our group was divided into a few separate dining rooms to eat. We ate fairly familiar food that was brought to our table and served on a big lazy susan. I didn't count how many plates of various foods but there had to be at least 10 different dishes brought to us. After the food presentation was done, a girl dressed in traditional Chinese clothes and headdress came to our dining room and stated in English that she would dance for us. She danced a dance in slow motion for a few minutes. She appeared uncomfortable the whole time. When she was done she stopped and just stood there. I whispered to David and said that I thought she was waiting for her tip. We gave her some money and she left. The dancing was not very good.
After lunch we went to the Silk Factory. They gave us a tour on how they grow, harvest, and make silk from silk worms. It was very interesting. It was amazing to see how strong something is that is made out of pure silk. The products they make are just gorgeous and not cheap. We bought a couple of things, but not much based on the prices.
Next was a ride in a rickshaw to see a Hutong village. The rickshaw ride was fun. However, Meigan wouldn't know since she fell asleep before we could get on the rickshaw, Each family got their own rickshaw driver. Since we are such a big travel group we had rickshaws everywhere. We got to go inside a Hutong. Which is a compound of several houses. Each house looks into a shared courtyard. They have no bathrooms, they have to share a common toilet and every few days they go to a public bath house to get clean. They have air conditioning (single wall units). Very interesting and makes me appreciate even more living in the good 'ol USA. Finally, back to the hotel. Meigan never did wake up.