Saturday, September 14, 2013

Leaving Guangzhou

Wednesday we slept in a little, ate breakfast, bought a suitcase, packed and waited to head to Hong Kong. Here's another cool picture from the river cruise.

Our guide came at 4:00pm with Anna's passport and visa.  We took a 3 hour van ride to Honk Kong.  We stayed overnight at airport hotel  for next morning flight. 

Me and Rachel waiting. We flew from HK to Tokyo to Chicago. And then we got stuck ugh! Passport control and Immigration/Customs took 3 hours! We missed our flight to CLE so we spent the night in Chicago. :(

Thursday, September 12, 2013

US Consulate Appointment

Tuesday we had our appointment at the US Consulate in Guangzhou. We had to be up and ready early which is stressful with 2 kids - one who doesn't understand English. You are not allowed to bring anything into the Consulate office except your passports and paperwork so here's a photo outside.

You take a number and they present you with a brown envelope for immigration. Hopefully the next day Anna gets a visa stamp so we can leave. After the Consulate we visited Shaiman Island. It is where the US Consulate used to be located and families used to stay at the White Swan hotel. All that's left now are a few shops and couple restaurants. We are at Lucy's. it was so-so 

Famous statue.

 Later we went on a river cruise on the Pear River. It was pretty all lit up.

Wednesday we have some free time then hopefully we get Anna's visa to leave.  Then it's on to Hong Kong.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

GZ Zoo

Monday we went to the Guangzhou Zoo. It was pretty similar to a US zoo.   It was reaallllly hot and humid!

There are pandas but they are in a glass enclosure.

After the zoo we walked around the hotel gardens. 

I am not liking the heat and humidity. The kids like the pool. Overall the hotel is too big too fancy and too formal for me. 

Lots of other families at the pool in the afternoon.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chen Clan Academy

Sunday we visited Chen Clan Family Temple and Folk Art Museum.  Here's us in the hotel lobby.

We saw some artwork and exhibits and bought some souvenirs. I had name chops or stamps made for both girls they carve them right there. 

And we also walked around and got a few other things. Later we went swimming. And then we tried to go to a noodle place for dinner and had a fail :( 

We did try some chilled corn juice though which is just well- weird. 

Turned into a late and tired night for everyone. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Here in Guangzhou

We arrived in GZ (or Canton) late Friday night. Our guide Lucia picked us up at the airport. The weather here is hot and humid it feels like Orlando FL. 

We are staying at a rawther fancy hotel called The Garden Hotel. It's actually a little intimidating because it is very big and very formal. 

Saturday morning we had to take Anna for a physical exam. All the kids applying for a visa to come to the US have to pass a physical exam. After the exam we went grocery shopping at Trust Mart which is kind of like Walmart. 

We came back to hotel and had our dirty laundry picked up Yay!

Turtles for sale in Trust Mart (to eat ). 

View from our hotel room. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jiaxiao pavilion

Friday was our last day in province. Our guide said Guiyang is a small city (for China) but population is 3.5 million! Today we visited the Jiaxioa Pavillon which used to be the residence for rich people in Guiyang. 

We stopped at a local Chinese restaurant for lunch - our guide said it was like a chain restaurant but not like anything in the US. 

After lunch we headed to the airport for out flight to Gangzhou. I will miss Guizhou province we really liked it here. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Provincial Museum

Today is our last full day in Guizhou.  After breakfast we went to the Guizhou Provincial Museum.  We learned about the history of Guizhou and about the different groups of minority people including the Miao people.

At the museum we bought the girls some ethnic minority dolls and I bought Anna a silver butterfly necklace. On the ride back to the hotel Anna got a little car sick and threw up.  Too many different things to eat I think.

After a little nap and a little play time everyone felt a bit better including me I have a cold. We decided to walk to Pizza Hut it's not that far but you have to take all these underground walkways to cross the street. The pizza was just ok. 

Tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou. It has been so cool and rainy here. It will be hot and humid in GZ. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monkey Park

On Tuesday we drove to Qianling Park also known as the Monkey Park. It is a tranquil wooded mountain park that is home to over 500 Macaque monkeys. They are quite bold and will steal anything from you hand or bag if they think you have food.

There is a large Buddhist temple in the park called Hongfu Temple which means good fortune. It was built in 1667 AD. There are beautiful gold Buddha statues inside. We were not permitted to take pictures of the statues. While we were there a man and his 97 year old grandma asked to take a picture with us! 

There is a small lake in the park and a tree covered mountain peak. The mountains are small- more like hills. People are exercising and dancing and playing a game with a whip and a top. It was very peaceful here and the weather was pleasant. 

After the monkey park we went to lunch at a traditional Chinese restaurant called Grandma's Kitchen. It is right behind the Sheraton. The speciality is Kung Pao chicken - although I asked for mine without the chili peppers. We also used the squatty potty here. Of course Anna is a pro at this, Mom not so much. ;)

The girls gave a donation at the temple of 3 RMB (about $0.50 USD) and got a red ribbon to tie on a tree for good luck. I have a cold now so heading to bed. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More pictures

Anna arrives

Lee filling out the paperwork

Official photo

Orphanage director
Guiyang Walmart 

Highland American Coffee shop

Our guide Vickie 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mon 9/2 Labor Day

I have no idea what day it is or what time it is most of the time in China. There are no clocks anywhere. Not in the hotel room which drives me a little nuts! Everyone had a pretty good night but it was hard to settle down and get to sleep. Bubbles and glow sticks are a big hit! We had KFC for dinner it is right next door to hotel. Lee went out to order he said it was quite an adventure pointing at pictures. We ended up with a bucket of hot wings some French fries a tiny mashed potatoes one corn on the cob and 4 Pepsi.  Not exactly what he ordered but oh well :)

This morning we went to breakfast buffet everyone was really nice and smiling at us with both girls. Housekeeping is also very nice to us. Anna ate 2 bowls of congee (like oatmeal porridge but made of rice) the girls also love the yogurt you can drink with a straw. The hotel also has a very small kids play area Anna liked that. Our guide picked us up at 9 am to go back to the adoption office for more paperwork.

We got all the adoption stuff notarized and Anna got a gift of an ethnic minority doll. Also the orphanage director was nice enough to bring Anna's photo album back she was so worried about it. She goes around saying Mama Baba Jze Jze (sp?) all day long:)  Our guide had to go apply for a passport for Anna so the driver took us back to the hotel. We went to the little park for a bit then up to the fitness center to play with the big balance balls.

It's really hard to get a lot of pictures because we are so busy and my hands are always full. Later our guide came back and we walked to Walmart to get a few things for Anna. It is about 1/2 hr walk from our hotel and to get across the street you have to take an underground walkway. Not scary but very confusing. The Walmart is also underground. Not like our Walmart! After Walmart we went to an American coffee shop. The owner Chris is from Indiana. It was great to talk to someone who can understand us! 

We get a lot of looks out on the street - 2 white people with 2 Asian girls. Double takes and triple takes. There were only 80 adoptions in Guizhou last year so the don't get a lot of western visitors. We saw one other family from Spain. We went back to hotel I though Anna would be tired from all the walking (she keeps saying c'mon lets go or something in Chinese) but she was even more wound up! Rachel was very tired. We made some noodle cups in our room - we have an electric kettle. Then I got the girls a shower and settled for bed. Rachel is a big help but it is also hard for her. We are going to the monkey park tomorrow.

Gotcha Day 9/1

We woke up this morning already tired because we got to bed late. The time difference is hard! We were not meeting Anna until 4:00pm so we had some breakfast at the huge breakfast buffet (we get stared at a lot being the only Westerners). There is a lot of different food traditional breakfast food and Chinese food. After breakfast we wanted to take a walk and also go to a store. Only one guy at the hotel speaks English that is Jacy the trainee. He is now my best friend LOL.
We went to a little park next to the hotel and walked a few blocks to a little store to buy some water and noodles in a cup. We have an electric kettle in our room which is handy. The city seems huge and busy too me. So many buildings, cars, people, stores, buses, scooters, etc. Our room at the hotel is nice and very big. People smoke everywhere. When the AC turns on in the room you can smell the cigarette smoke.

Around 3:30pm our guide Vickie picked us up. She is super nice and speaks excellent English. She also has a twin sister. We drove a short way to the adoption office in Guiyang. It is in an old hotel they are renovating. It's like something out of the Matrix. There is all this debris and rubble everywhere and you take the elevator up and there is this little office. We were kind of early so we sat and waited. There was another family adopting a 10 year old boy. The mom was there with her 20-something daughter who is also a Korean adoptee. The mom was the first white person we have seen.

Vickie called and said they were on the way with Anna. Next thing I know she is practically running in shouting Ni Hao Mama! Ni Hao Baba! Ni Hao Zhe Zhe!  She knew us right away and was very happy and hugged us. She is very animated and very talkative. We don't understand a word she says LOL! Even though she speaks Mandarin it is a local dialect. Lee had to sign a bunch of papers and we had to apply our ink thumbprints to all the papers. Then Anna has to give an ink palm print. She arrived with the orphanage director even though she stayed with foster grandparents. We got to ask the director some questions. 

Then just like that they let us leave with her! We have to come back the next day to finalize the adoption paperwork. We went back to the hotel and celebrated with KFC which is right next door to our hotel. The girls were so wound up and running around playing. More tomorrow ...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sat & Sun Day 3 & 4

Saturday we spent the morning in Beijing. We had breakfast at the hotel which was so much food but we didn't get to eat again until our flight way later. We walked down the street from our hotel and saw a shopping center with an Apple Store and McDonalds. We kept walking about 1/2 hour to the Forbidden City. We really had no idea where we were going and it was hot!  We didn't have time to take a tour or any thing. We stopped and bought some Popsicles and walked back. We had to check out and our guide picked us up at 1:30pm. She did not want to pick us up until 2:00pm for 3:30pm flight and I was worried about traffic etc. But I should have known as soon as we got to they airport we saw our flight was delayed 2 hrs. So we had to sit and wait for an hour and there are no seats. We finally check in and go to security so our guide had to leave. Thanks Cai for all your help!

Airport security was not nice at all! No liquids on flight at all- no water bottles, shampoo, etc. I beeped thru the x-ray and has to get wanded - I think it was my glasses. The female officer was not friendly. Oh well. On to the gate to wait a bit. The domestic terminal is the old Beijing airport it's pretty old and small. We got a shuttle bus to our plane our flight was on Hainan. It was fine no problems. The food wasn't good though. We got to Guiyang around 9pm not sure as there are no clocks in China it seems!

Our guide Vickie picked us up. She is very nice and speaks great English. She gave us a whole history of Guizhou Provence but I was so sleepy in the car. We are staying at another Novotel hotel. The room is very nice but smells faintly of cigarette smoke. Also we have 1 king bed, a couch and a cot. Should be interesting. The night manager was super helpful but he is apparently the only person in the hotel who speaks English. The beds are hard. I was warned but they are HARD! We had a good night got to bed around 1:00am. 

Now its Sunday morning. We had breakfast at the hotel again. The breakfast is combination breakfast buffet and Chinese buffet. We try to eat a lot because we keep missing lunch and dinner. After lunch we wanted to go buy some supplies so we asked at the front desk. There is this one young guy that speaks a little English so he gave us directions. We found a little market up the street and there is a KFC right next to the hotel. We didn't see anything else except clothing and electronic stores. There is also a very small park next to the hotel.

At 3:30 Vickie is going to pick us up and we will meet Anna around 4:00pm at the Civil Affairs/Adoption Center. My stomach is not feeling too good. I don't think I ate or drank anything weird. Hope it passes. Everyone else is doing well. There are no other white people here at all. We were the only ones on the plane and we haven't seen anyone else non-Asian. Definitely a different perspective!