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Monday, April 02, 2007
The Three H's
Ahhh...it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for you. I have to confess, last night was the worst. But let me start at the beginning...

Yesterday morning we woke up bright and early, our morning routine in Beijing and today in Chongqing included surfing the Internet, watching HBO, which is filled with cheesy 80's movies, and waiting for 7 am to go to breakfast. We met in the hotel lobby at 9:40 to board the bus for the airport. Our luggage had been picked up the night before. We only had our carry-ons to worry about.

By now the Chongqing families and the Guangdong families had gotten quite close after our two or three days of sightseeing. Many of the Guangdong families missed the first day of sightseeing as they arrived a day later than us. We were all buzzing with excitement because we knew that this flight would finally take us to our children. The Guangdong families were a bit more subdued because they have to wait an additional day.

At the airport, our guides went and checked us in and got our boarding passes. As a huge group, we went through security before splitting to our respective gates. There were hugs and good wishes passed around. We'll meet up with them again next Saturday when we fly to Guangzhou.

We had a short wait - 30 minutes - before our plane began boarding. One of the fathers in our group is quite the character. He's getting a lot of attention here because he's 7'1". He makes Jim look small. Jim had been prepared to deal with the attention his height would bring, but he hasn't had to worry about it at all. Anyway, Jim, this dad, and another one in our group cooked up an April Fool's Day joke to play on our coordinator. They told her that his wife had been detained during the security check. She fell for it for a few minutes before they confessed. What made this really funny is she told them that the other coordinator, Katherine, had warned her about April Fool's Day and had warned her about this particular dad. I'd say she has his number.

When we arrived in Chongqing, we were hit with a wall of air. It was unbelievably humid and warm, especially after the cold of Beijing. We claimed our luggage, which was immediately placed on a van, and then climbed aboard our bus. Our coordinator, Tracy, is travelling with us. She acted as our tour guide in Beijing and will accompany us to the end. We have a local guide here, Frederick.

Here is our first view of Foggy City.

Now Frederick is quite the character. He has his spiel down pat. One of the first things he told us is that Chongqing is known for the three H's: hilly, hot, and humid. The city is incredibly hilly. In fact, it is the only city in China where you will not see any bicycles. It's too hilly. Instead you see stairs...everywhere. Chongqing was developed at the confluence of Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. All that water seems to stay in the air, so it is perpetually hazy. Frederick was saying that when the sun comes out all the people go outside and celebrate. It's also very, very hot here. The average temperature in the winter is 70; in the summer, the temperature can exceed 100. The city's nicknames include Foggy City and Furnace.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were given our room keys. Not having to deal with checking in at airports and hotels or having to deal with our luggage is going to spoil us. We were given one hour before meeting to do paperwork. We rode the elevator to the 28th floor and learned that the hotel is designed kind of like a clover. In our "leaf", there are 16 rooms. We circle over an atrium like opening that allows us to look down to the 20th floor where there is a putting green. It's a great set up for walking around when the babies are fussy and for hall parties.

When we opened our door, we saw....

A Crib!

A baby tub!
And the view from our window.

Not too shabby, huh?

We dropped off our luggage and headed to the lobby lounge for a quick drink. We were dying from the heat and humidty and the two hours in the plane and needed some hydration.

In the meeting room, we filled out all the adoption paperwork and signed our name a dozen times. We learned that the process is going to be slightly different from what my research prepared me for. Usually you receive your child and return to the Civil Affairs office the next day to finalize. We will walk over to the CA office at 3:30pm on Monday, meet Sera, and shortly afterwards will finalize the adoption. All in one afternoon!

Afterwards, we met in the lobby and headed out to the market. Within steps of leaving our hotel, we were in a beautiful garden. You can see it in the picture from our room window. The sidewalks are literally paved in marble. We went up a flight of stairs across another square, nothing like Tiananmen Square, up a few more stairs and there was the market. It's in a square completely surrounded by shops. We literally have all the shopping and restaurantes we could possibly want just steps, and I do mean steps, away. Our group caused quite the commotion as we walked across the square and into the restaurant, especially K, the 7'1" dad. We all purchased bottled water and headed back to the hotel. We dropped off our purchase and headed back out to find a restaurant.

There are six families in our group. One chose to eat in the hotel, and one chose to order room service. That mom has been really ill for about 24 hours. Mine was relatively brief. I was really only "sick" for a couple of hours. The nausea and lack of appetite lasted about 24 hours, total. The other four families, including us, decided to join Tracy at a local restaurant. She stopped at the desk to get some advice, and we took off. We walked up and down stairs and around and around and around until I caved. It was only about 40 minutes, but I hadn't eaten much besides a pack of peanut butter crackers and toast in the previous 24 hours, plus the stairs were killing my knees which were still sore from our previous three days of sightseeing. Jim and I bailed and headed back to the hotel. Of course, they found the restaurant about 5 minutes later.

At the hotel, I got the best bowl of wonton soup. It was the size of a mixing bowl and filled with chicken broth, pork wontons, noodles, and vegetables for about $4.00. I couldn't even finish half. Jim ordered a t-bone, and regretted it. It was very tough and not very tasty. We headed up to our room where I had planned to unpack us and get organized for today. That plan was thrown out the window as I popped my mega-strength ibuprofen, wrote the previous post, and dragged my butt to bed.

Now, it's about 11 am. That means it's 11 pm at home and 10 pm where most of my family lives. You're all getting ready to go to sleep on Sunday night, and we're waiting to go meet Sera. We're supposed to walk to the Civil Affairs office, but it's been pouring all morning. I hope the rain stops or they get a van for us because I do not want to walk Sera back to the hotel in the rain

We'll be at the office a couple of hours, but will try to get a picture up as quickly as possible. I hope to have it up so that you see her face when you wake up in the morning.

We haven't been able to get to most blogs the last few days. We didn't have any problems the first few days, but I can read my comments as they're mailed to me. I briefly got on my blog this morning and was able to check my stats. I'm getting almost 200 hits a day, so either a few of you are checking very, very often or I have very quite visitors. Speak up! Introduce yourselves! We actually have had quite a bit of free time hanging in our hotel room and reading our emails makes us feel more connected to home. We'd love to hear from you!!

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Blogger Mya said...

Magi, I am checking in daily and so enjoynig your journey! I can't wait to check back in the morning to see you with your Sera! I love all the details! Thank you,

Blogger C.J. said...

Thanks for sharing so much of your journey. I love reading your updates.

The hotel looks fab....it will look even better with Sera in it!

Anonymous Jessica said...

It's 10:21 in Marin and I am just SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!

I cried when I saw the crib! Hormones!

WELCOME SERA!!!! Give her hugs and kisses and love from her Aunt Jessica & Uncle Jeremy and Cousin Josie!


Blogger Colleen said...

I am so excited that I am home intime for this great day!! Its just about 2 AM so i am foff the bed as we have a REFERRAL CALL coming tomorrow!! Yippp!!

Can't wia ti see your family pics.

Yay Maggie and Jim!! :) I can't wait to see Sera's sweet face too!!!!!! I'm so excited for you!!!!!


Anonymous Erin said...

Hey Magi,
Love the posts that you're writing. They're very informative and they give me a a real sense of what it's like over there. Thanks :-)

We're on referral watch here. Rumors say the call will come today but nothing from my agency yet.

Can't wait to see pictures of Sera.

Blogger Susan said...

Can't wait to see those first photos - you must have her now!! Sending all our good thoughts your way for a smooth, happy Gotcha Day :)


Blogger Terri said...

Just found your blog...Sera is adorable!! Congratulations!! Our daughter is waiting for us in Chongqing (Fuling SWI) so I have enjoyed reading your posts (we're waiting on TA).

Blogger Cherise said...

Hi...just found your blog on china adopt talk...I was interested because it said that you were in Chongquing...My husband used to work in Chongquing for 2 years as a Cruise Director for Victoria cruises on the Yangtze River. It was amazing. I was able to go over for a month and we went to Shanghai and Hong Kong. People in Chongquing are very nice and they refer to the girls from that region as "spicy girls". Your daughter is a "Spicy girl". One reason they call them that is because they are famous for hot pot...if you get a chance try some..you may or may not like it. We have alot of friends we still keep in touch with from Chongquing. Our wait is going to be forever as we have a LID of December 2008. I am very happy for your family that your special day has arrived. We live in Florida...if you get a chance..keep in touch..the email that I use all the time is disnieprincess@aol.com.

Congrats and the best to you!!!

Take Care,

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