Today, we went touring around Nanjing. Nanjing is supposedly a beautiful city, but few cities look pretty at the end of winter. Nanjing is said to be the only city in China with a mountain in it. We drove (along with the Calhouns, Dr. Barbara, and Michael, our guide) up to Purple Mountain. The road was lined with huge sycamore trees, so in the summer, when the leaves are on the trees, it looks like a tunnel.
It was foggy, so a little hard to see, but still beautiful. At the top of the mountain is a mausoleum for Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely revered as the founder of modern China. This would have been torture for the boys had it not looked like the scene from Kung Fu Panda, where Po struggles to drag the noodle cart up the stairs. There were 392 steps to the top. It was beautiful.
|Josiah doing a Kung fu move in front of the steps|
This is a popular tourist site in China, so we were celebrities again. Multiple people asked to have their picture taken with us. One group of women, each took turns having their picture taken with me in front of the steps. They asked where I was from and I told them America. I guess they're not used to seeing westerners, except maybe on tv. It was hilarious. We stopped once to have a group picture taken and at least a dozen people took our picture of us having our picture taken.
I took a picture of some women staring at us.
|Women staring at us. This is how close people stand to you and how |
obvious they are at staring - definitely a cultural difference.
They smiled at me after they saw me take their picture.
After Purple Mountain, we went to the Yangtze River. We took pictures of what we could see. The boys were bored and there wasn't much to see because it was so foggy.
At 4 pm, we checked out of the hotel and went to the airport. This is where Autumn really broke out of her shell and the "active" description they gave her, shined. Oh my gosh. She is a nut case. She was dragging us around, jumping off chairs, falling on the floor - she was crazy. She was worse than Josiah when we first adopted him.
She did really well on the plane - laughed and seemed to have a great time. Josiah, Dr. Barbara, and I sat behind Steve, Autumn, and Sheehan. Autumn kept reaching between the seats to pretend to grab me.
We arrived in Guangzhou (pop. 9 million, Nanjing is 8 million, and the entire Chicagoland area is only 7 million, just to give you some perspective) around 9 pm. It turned out that most of our group, from our agency, were also arriving around that time. There are about seven families in the group. One family is from Morton, IL - I had chatted with them via email a few times before the trip.
We got on the giant bus, which led us to the first hotel, The Victory, on Shamian Island. This hotel is close to the White Swan, the hotel that most adoptive families stay in, but it's being refurbished. There are four families from our group staying at our hotel, The Garden. I'm not sure why we're at different hotels. I got the feeling that our agency wanted us at the Garden, but other families had experience or had heard about the Victory, and liked that it was on Shamian Island (a nice place to walk around with narrow, low-traffic streets), so they opted for that. The Garden is "the only platinum 5-star hotel in Guangzhou" - not sure what "platinum" means.
It took about 30-45 minutes for the families to check into the Victory before we could head to our hotel. We made it to bed around 11:30 or midnight - the boys fell asleep on the bus. Autumn had woken up and stayed awake for the entire bus ride.
The hotel is beautiful and the lobby is H-U-G-E. When we got to the hotel, Steve checked in, while the boys whined, and I chased Autumn around the lobby. That girl would just take off running, then when I caught her, she would fall on the floor laughing. It looked like a mom, who had absolutely no control over their rambunctious, disobedient child. Thinking about that made me start laughing. I was bent over to her level, arms stretched out, running after her. I started laughing and couldn't stop. I felt so ridiculous. I started crying, I was laughing so hard. I would pick her up and she would start bucking like a bronco, all while laughing, and then I would just laugh harder. I couldn't control myself. It was so late and it was so funny. Finally, Steve got checked in and we made it to our room. Autumn was disappointed because the elevator just led to another prison cell.
Sometime in the middle of the night, we were awoken by one of the boys, who had a...let's just say, internal explosion, all over the bed. We cleaned it up quickly and went back to bed. I'd hate to be the person cleaning our room.
Just another day in China.