We made it to Guangzhou finally! It’s a good thing I can type pretty fast because internet access at this last hotel is extremely expensive and I just hope I stuck enough Chinese money in my pocket before coming to the Business Center to pay for it.
Our plane tickets said that our flight was to leave Changsha at 9:20 this morning. Winnie knew this but said we would leave the hotel at 8:30 and still get there in time because she had “friends” who worked there. Well, even with the bus driver plowing through Changsha like a NASCAR driver, we arrived at the airport around 15 minutes before the plane was to leave. By the time we made it inside and Winnie ran up to the check-in counter, we only had 10 minutes and by this time it was too late. Winnie was on the phone and sounded really, really desperate and a couple of minutes later sheepishly told us that we would have to catch the next flight at 1:20!!! If she hadn’t been such a great guide the whole week, I probably would have choked her right there on the spot but I restrained myself. So we sat and sat and sat in an airport cafE for over 3 hours. Around 12:30, we said our goodbyes to Winnie and made our way to the gate where we ran into a large group of adoptive parents who were also on their way to Guangzhou. They were going to be staying at a different hotel but it was nice to have conversation with Americans for a while.
The flight was only one hour long and we arrived in Guangzhou around 2:30. Eliana was an absolute jewel through the whole ordeal. She did not get any of her normal naps nor did she get much to eat but she only whimpered on a couple of occasions. I think Carmi and I complained more than her.
We found our new guide rather quickly and her name is Betty. Betty grabbed us a taxi and took us to the China Hotel which was not terribly far from the airport. Let me tell you - this is one NICE hotel. We didn’t have long to scope out the room before we needed to meet Betty in the lobby and head to our appointments. In fact, we only had 15 minutes to get in the room, throw our stuff down, change the baby’s diaper and try to shovel some Gerber food in her mouth. I think we made it back down in the 15-minute time limit but I didn’t take time to check a watch and see.
Our first stop was a camera shop where we had a picture made for Eliana’s visa. Then we went up the street for her medical checkup. Two doctors poked and prodded for a bit which just thrilled her to death (NOT)! If nothing else, they found out that she has a healthy set of lungs.
On our way back to the hotel, Betty asked us what we would like for dinner and she would bring it to our room so that we would have time to rest. She mentioned McDonalds and pizza and we stopped at the pizza part. She said their Pizza Hut pizza was just like in the States. Sounded good to us. We got back to our room and waited until shortly after 6:00 when the doorbell rang. Let me preface my answering the door by telling you that Carmi and I had not had a real meal all day. To say that we were starving is an understatement. OK - back to the door. I answer the door and Betty is standing there with a SMALL pizza box and a bottle of Coke. I’m choking back the tears as she hands me the goods and tells me that she will return at 7:00 to help Carmi fill out forms for tomorrow. As I placed the now-open box on the table, we both just stared at the 6 little pitiful slices staring back at us. In the midst of the silence I asked, “Do you remember the story in the Bible about the 5 loaves and the 2 fish?”
As we finished eating, the doorbell rang again and it was Betty to help with the forms. She smiles and asks, “How was dinner?” This was one of those times when I really didn’t feel very spiritual!
I watched the baby in our bedroom as the two girls worked at the table in the other room. Before they finished, I decided to go ahead and give Eliana her bath and get a head-start on preparing her for bed. By the time I dried that baby off and put on her jimmies, Carmi was finished with paperwork and was going to feed her while I headed off to the Business Center. We’re gonna try to get in the bed earlier tonight because we are exhausted. We get to sleep late in the morning and enjoy another western-style breakfast before going to a “swearing in” ceremony in the afternoon. Got no idea what THAT’S about but I’m sure Carmi will tell you all about it tomorrow.
Oh, Carmi wanted me to ask you all to pray about something. As she and Betty were going over paperwork tonight, Betty noticed a couple of forms that had mis-matching numbers on them. This wasn’t it but let’s just say, for example, that one form said my birthday was 3-14-63 and another form said my birthday was 3-14-62. This could pose a potential problem if the folks at the Consulate notice the error tomorrow. We need to pray that they won’t see it.
G’night all. Only 4 more days and we’ll be home! Woohoo!!
Doug (and Carmi and Eliana)