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Monday, April 09, 2007
The Hardest Part Is The Bed
Our first night at the White Swan. How exciting to know that we were following in the footsteps of so many other adoptive families. We got back to our room, got Sera settled in bed, which wasn't easy as she was overtired, and got ready for bed ourselves. Lay back and...OUCH...a cement bench would be more comfortable. Now all the beds we've experienced in China have been much, much firmer than we're used to, but this is an all-time high for hard. Honestly, this truly is the hardest part of the trip. They keep us busy each day with tours and paperwork, plus taking care of Sera is very time-consuming, wonderful, but time-consuming. I'm experiencing aches in parts of my body that have never ached before. Climbing into a comfortable bed at night would be wonderful. Alas, it's not an option. It's also why I got up at 4:30 this morning to read and blog. It was too painful lying in bed. I'd rather be tired.

Anyway, enough whining because I'm really having a wonderful time.

We experienced the White Swan breakfast buffet yesterday morning, and it is everything you've heard it to be. A large loud baby filled room with every kind of food imaginable. Jim and I ate. Sera threw cheerios and spoons on the floor, and we ran off to the lobby for what we thought was going to be a quick meeting to get our itinerary for the week. We got there and learned that there had been a miscommunication and we were actually about to leave on a tour. We, of course, had no diaper bag, no stroller, and no mid-morning bottle with us. Jim and Sera stayed there while I ran back to the room to get our stuff.

We ended up going to the jade market. It's a mall-type building. We were taken to the second floor into a room filled with kiosks selling artwork, cloisonne, embroidery, carvings, tea sets, a ton of other things, and, of course, jade. I spent way too much money there but we got a lot of gifts, including a bone china tea set that we'll give to Sera one day.

Then it was back on the bus. We were the last ones one the bus, I think we won in the who-has-the-most-shopping-bags contest. From the market, we headed to the Banyan Temple, a beautiful Buddhist temple. At the temple, we, and most of the other families, had our babies blessed by the monk.

Jim held Sera for the blessing while I tried to take pictures. The lighting was a bit dark, so you'll have to excuse my photography. He had to remove his shoes before entering the area. After the crowd faded away, there remained one tiny pair of shoes. Jim, sounding slightly panicked, started asking where his shoes were. I looked around and couldn't see them either. Then we heard a voice call Jim's name and we turned around. Erin, one of the Chongqing moms, had slipped her feet into Jim's shoes. She actually has her shoes on already in there.

We had a good laugh over it. When she apologized for scaring him, Jim admitted that his first thought was where was he going to find a pair of size 15 shoes in China?

We walked back outside, lit some incense, and chatted with our local guide about the differences between Mandarin and Cantonese. During the bus ride, she shared a saying with us, the people of Guangzhou will eat anything that flies, except airplanes, and anything that runs, except cars. The history of the area includes some difficult times when food was scarce and they ate anything to survive. They enjoyed these foods and still prepare them to this day. The foods include monkey, mice, snakes, cats, etc... I'll pass, thank you.

Sera started getting cranky because she was hungry, so we got on the bus early and fed her. Then it was back to the hotel where she went down for a 2 1/2 hour nap. After her nap, I tortured her by giving her a bath and putting on her Easter dress, which I immediately covered with her sweater since it's freezing! Jim delivered the last of our paperwork and fees to our coordinator and then we met for visa pictures.

After that, it was off to Lucy's for a beer and appetizer with the Chongqing group and then we met up with several families from the Guangdong group for dinner at the Station House, a restaurant inside train cars. It was a laughter filled evening. We have some great travel buddies.

We stayed a little too late and Sera started getting anxious for bed. Jim and I had finished eating, so we asked for our check to take her back to the hotel. There was some computer problem, so we ended up having to wait for about 20 minutes. During that time, Sera fell asleep in my arms. When it was time to go, we put her in the stroller. She fussed until we got moving and fell back asleep.

The restaurant is on the opposite end of the island, so we strolled down a road that's closed to traffic. It's for pedestrians and bicyclists only. There is a park in the median that was empty when we passed it earlier. It was now filled with local people. There was a playground and excercise equipment. Each was filled with someone working out or playing. I saw a lot of young people. It seemed like a place they hung out and visited in the evenings. It was just getting to be 9:00 pm, so it wasn't super late. When we got to the street where we needed to turn towards the hotel. Jim and I stopped to sit on the bench and watch the people for a few minutes. It was such a lovely night.

We got up and walked just a few steps when we saw a young child on the sidewalk. Jim had just mentioned that he wondered where her parents were when she headed towards the street. We were too far away to stop her. We then saw her parents across the street. It was such a blur, it happened so quickly. The child, about 3 or 4 years old, started to cross to her parents. They gestured wildly and were screaming in Chinese. We could hear a car racing down the street. Jim bellowed STOP in his loudest teacher voice and that child froze. The car sped past and the parents ran across the street to get her. They were the shopowners for one of the shops right there. I think they had left her inside and hadn't realized she had wandered out. Jim's yell scared Sera and woke her up. The couple came over and thanked Jim over and over and kept apologizing to me for waking Sera. We calmed Sera down and told them we were just happy that their child was safe. They invited us to come visit them today at their shop and promised us a "good deal." Jim and I were both shaking as we walked away. That was just too close.

Anyway, back to the room and another night ends. This morning we take Sera to get her physical and then we have nothing scheduled the rest of the day. Sounds like time to do some more shopping.

Sera in her too big and falling off Easter dress and a very tired Daddy.

Hazy 7:00 am view from our window.

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Anonymous Jessica said...

Thank Gof for teacher voice!! HOw scary. Fate that you stopped on that bench to take in the night...


Blogger Colleen said...

OMG - I was reading so fast about the street story and the little girl I was so afraid of what I might read and I am so glad to hear all is OK.

Magi-I am loving reading all of your posts. You really describe everything in such detail and I love it. Have fun your last few days...and oh yea...when we do get there, I'll be just like you with all the shopping bags. LOL!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guys

Back from Chicago... Had a great time. Navy Pier wasnt the same without you... However, we did eat at Bubba Gump Shirmp again :) This time we went to the museums, aquarium, planatarium, and Medevial times... Sean was so excited he could hardly contain himself! We got Sera a Dolphin sippy cup... Kyra was trying to claim it for her own! Love the Easter Dress...Maybe it will fit better in a couple of months. By the way Happy Easter. Cant wait for you guys to get home...


Doug, Laura, DJ, Sean, and Kyra

Blogger Tammie said...

Gee, I must be crazy. I loved the beds at the White Swan. Either that or I was too tired to notice how hard they were!

Thank G-d Jim was able to bring his teacher voice with him. I'm sure that little girl's parents were quite shaken over the incident as were you guys.

Your pics from around the White Swan brought back some wonderful memories. Thank you! BTW, you may want to try The Cow & Bridge for Thai food. Yummy!

Blogger Marcia said...

Thank God that little girl is ok!

Sorry the bed stinks...glad you got up to post though :)

Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

Kind of a weird place to insert this comment, but...Congratulations on your new daughter!! I've really enjoyed reading all about your trip. And Sera is a breathtakingly beautiful baby. The video of her giggling was just sweet beyond words. Welcome to the world of parenthood! I know Sera will thrive with parents as obviously in love with her as you and Jim.

Blogger septemberfirst said...

magi- when we were in gz we slept on the comforters (bottom drawer under the tv) and even the bath towels. i believe they keep the coverlets (that are on during the day) in that cabinate thingie that doubles well as a changing table/suitcase holder between the tv and the closet.
hopefully this will help you get a little rest :).
enjoy the rest of the trip!! sera is a cutie (even if the easter dress is a bit big :)...)

Blogger Stacy said...

Whew! What a scary moment. I am glad the little girl is ok.

Thanks for such a great post. I really enjoy reading about your travels. I can't wait to go to the jade factory. :)

Blogger Kathleen said...

We are lid 11/22/05. Thanks for letting us follow along. Your daughter is beautiful! They just put out the next batch of referrals and only moved 2 days so I came over to your blog for some uplifting news. I read a blog once and they were staying at the WS (I think) and went to the front desk to asked for a western mattress. Just a thought. Let me know if it works.

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