and I do mean day. Yesterday we traveled for 12 hours. It was NOT fun. I woke up at 3:00; the boys got up around 4:15. We left the hotel at 5:15 or so. We probably should have left a little earlier as we got to our gate pretty much as it was boarding and that's stressful to me, but we got on with no problems -- other than the information we were given as we were checking in. As luck would have it, Hong Kong to Shanghai is an international flight. Shanghai to Changchun is a domestic flight. Therefore, we had to get our luggage, go to the ticketing counter, check in and get our boarding passes, go through security -- again -- and then make our way to our gate. We had a 4+ hour layover, so time wasn't an issue, but what a pain in the tuckus. Then, the flight out of Shanghai was delayed, so (like in Chicago) we sat on the tarmac for an hour. At least the plane was really uncomfortable. Once we arrived in Changchun, we left baggage claim to see our guide and translator waiting for us. We got in the van and headed to the Shangri La (yes, that's really the name of our hotel). It was a dismal ride. Changchun is a depressing / industrial city with little to no charm, at first glance anyway. This impression was, I'm sure, enhanced by the dreary weather, but right now I'm having a hard time recommending this place.
Last night was merely check in and go find something to eat. For convenience sake, we ate at a nearby KFC. The cashier loved being able to practice her English and did a good job. Then, we had our one "experience." WalMart. I swear I'm going to take a camera in today. Words certainly can't do it justice, and quite frankly, I don't think a few snapshots will either. The smell? Rotten milk and John Morrells. The noise level? Think F18 on take-off. The crowd? Black Friday has nothing on Changchun WalMart on a random Saturday night. And, just to add some interest...we are the ONLY white people we've seen. We did see one family at the airport (not on our flight though) but none in the city. To say we garner a few glances would be a gross understatement, maybe of the century. We get the distinct impression there aren't a lot of foreigners here, much less caucasions with a Chinese baby! *This has caused us to be the oject of interest this entire trip, but nothing like we have experienced here* :) I think I'm glad I can't understand what they're saying. Some people will openly stare (one guy yesterday looked at us, looked at Aiden, looked away....repeat three times... he walked away ogoling us until I burst out laughing), while others glance surrepstitiously. Some will point with a questioning look on their faces and turn to whomever they are with and start talking animatedly. A little bit I wish I had typed up fliers in Mandarin explaing who we are and what we are doing. Troy, on the other hand, simply wants to be able to say, "USA! USA! USA! We beat you guys, you know?" Funny enough, since the Olympics, Aiden will randomly start that very chant. "USA! USA! USA!" It cracks me up every time! :)
Anyway, I think I'm glad I "screwed up" and got us here a day earlier than we actually had to be here. I organized the room a little after supper and showers, homified if you will. And today, we will have a much needed down day. Hopefully it will involve a nap and enjoying Aiden with no stress. We may go swimming. I can get our gifts ready for officials, orphanage personnel, and the foster parents. Did I mention, hopefully we'll get naps...? I'm not feeling very good right now, nauseated and I'm getting another cold sore. Troy hasn't been 100% either. Aiden, altough showing no signs of feeling unwell, has had episodes of unadulturated wildness that borders on mania. I think a day of virtual nothingness is just want the doctor ordered. The most exciting part of the day will be the other Holt adoptive families coming in I look forward to meeting them...especially the Giesekes. :) Although, I have to say, it is weird that I haven't met Emily before. I sure feels like I have.
Well, it's almost 7:00 a.m. and we've been up since 5:00. Do you 'spose I can get Aiden to nap?!?! Hahahaha! Ok, maybe we'll go find breakfast instead. Ugh. Wish us luck....
Hanging out at the Shanghai airport.
A good sign? Aiden's adoption was in Xi'an; Ethan's in Changchun. Two flights from Shanghai :) One of many "coincidences."
Traveling is tough business
Hopefully I will be posting room / hotel (which, by the way, is on Xi'an Rd) pictures and WalMart photos later today.