Chinese Trip Part Two Namchang and Guangzhou

Dec 10-11
Travel day:
Up at 6:30 and off to the airport. We will fly back north 300-400 miles to Nanchang. At 2 pm we are in our brand new Galactic Pacific Hotel. For $44/night we get a huge corner room, 2 large beds, 40" LCD TV. There is a live American music in the bathroom where we had a nice large bathtub and a separate glassed in shower with 5 shower heads.

Meanwhile, at 3:30 the parents go to a meeting and find we will receive the babies at 6 pm! We are warned that year old babies are generally afraid of strangers and we are not only strangers, but funny looking strangers. At 6 Grace was the first in. She took one look at us a let our a scream. Most of the rest followed suit. Tammy took her first, with Tim at a distance. The boys and I went to my room. She actually slept quit well that night. By the next morning she was quit at home with Tammy & Tim and by afternoon she was happy with all of us.
That day was spent with much official paper work and the boys and I stayed out of things. We went swimming in the beautiful hotel pool.
Breakfasts are free with the rooms and are, like all Chinese hotels, huge spreads. They are all buffets, and contain everything to be considered a fine evening meal, plus eggs prepared in anyway, fruit, cereal, and pastries. The price $6-7 /person depending on how many are in the party, stays the same all day. We load up in the morning, snack at noon and eat out in evening.

At 2 pm we are all bussed to the local Walmart where parents can buy everything for babies. The Walmart name is the only thing the same as the US. All products were Chinese, but the prices were low. A Bicycle cost as little as $20. Food was about the same, but meat was displayed like in Mexico or Africa. No credit cards or US money. All of this area is much less westernized that the other two cities. There is not much English spoken or written here.

Dec 12
Up at 8 to the great breakfast. At 10:00 the doctor is here to give each new baby a checkup. But for a little rash, Grace is fine. Later some of us walk the streets outside. Again this is a modern city on the main streets, but off them, there are many little mom and pa shops. I found a mall about 5000 sq ft with about 100 small booths all carrying all types of electronic parts. Here, they fix things instead of throwing them away. We also walked back down to Walmart where I bought some food.

The rest of the day we stayed in the room, rested and played with Grace. She is really getting to know and trust these funny looking people. The boys and I watch a movie that night.

Up at 8 and off to breakfast.
At 9:30 most of the 10 families we are with, assembled for a tour. We went to Tengwang Pavilion on the shores of the their main river. This is a very old 10-12 story structure build traditional Chinese architecture, but with sets of roof eves coming out all the way up. We went in and up an elevator to the 6th story. In there we attended a stage show featuring dancers accompanied by many traditional Chinese instruments. I really enjoyed the performance especially the music. Afterwards, I asked our guide if I could get a CD of them and yes a two disk set for $3.50. It is excellent. Then she said, would you like to go back stage and see the instruments, and so we did, another family and myself. She played many of them and asked if the children wanted to play. They did and it actually sounded very Chinese. The sounds of their harp, guitar, violin and wind instruments were so different as to be unmistakably oriental.

Then we ventured outside on the deck. The city looks much more modern here than in the hotel area. There are several large suspension bridges. Across the river there were 15 or 20 very high, high-rise buildings where, our guide said, there were nothing but rice paddies 5 years ago. On the river was a parade of fairly large ocean type ships. They were all hauling sand. The sand is dredged from the river and used to reclaim land for more buildings. In the middle of all this, the park we were in with this beautiful building. The site was 1700 years old, though the build is only a few hundred.

After the tour we all were out for a traditional Chinese meal. Again there was the center turntable with the 10-12 main dishes. Cost is $4 per person.

Back at the hotel, many of us including several of the new babies, spent a few hours in the great swimming pool. I had much fun with all the kids. For dinner I walked back to the Walmart Square (I am sure it was called something else) and choose a Chinese restaurant. After a long time they found someone who knew a little English, and even an old English menu. I ordered an Australian steak dinner. I got many interesting things including a raw egg. I ate most of it. There were three tiny (1/4 " thick) chops in a heavy very spicy sauce. Oh well it's the experience that counts. There are always many more waitresses than are ever needed. They hover over you. "Where come… where from… you come…"

Dec 14
Today at 9:30 we are off to see the outlining area. We drive out about 40 miles to the west, past rice patties, old buildings and new construction. Most new residences even out here are high-rise apartment buildings. However, even buildings that obviously have been completed for several years are not inhabited. People have told us that, here, the best investment is considered real estate. We stopped at a traditional Chinese village. It was similar in many ways to what I had seem in Mexico. Again the people seemed very happy with what they had. They had running water, some electric power, and homes that could be closed up tight. We did not see many chimneys and realized that wood was scarce and would only be used for cooking. The climate is similar to Seattle, and so shelter is important, but heat not. Most of the work was in the rice paddies, where people work for farmers or the government.
After the tour we all went to another Chinese restaurant. The food is always good, and there is plenty of it, but with chop sticks and limited serving spoons, it turns out to be more of a snack lunch where everyone tries something, but doesn't eat that much.That is OK with most people, but I am not going to mgain any weight here. Later that afternoon we all went swimming in the Hotel.

Dec 15: our last full day here.

We are off to the government offices to get the Babies' passports. They are real Chinese passports, but will only be good for this trip since they will be American citizens after arriving. Then we were driven to a porcelain shop. This beautiful Chinese porcelain is world renowned for it beauty and fine craftsmanship. We buy some, and head back to the hotel for swimming.

Dec 16
Up at 6 for the flight. We say good-by to our faithful guides and take many pictures. Then it is off the Guangzhou. At 4:30 we arrive Guangzhou, about 100 mile inland from Hong Kong. This city of 10 million is the third largest in China. The weather here is perfect at 75 in the day and 55 at night. The hotel is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is in the middle of the city, but on a sort of island on the Pearl River. Like Hong Kong, the river is full of tour boats and this evening a shower of laser and beacon lights from the hotels bring the river to life. Around the hotel are pools and surrounded by palms. The cost is more than Mexico or Nanchang, but less than the US or Hong Kong. I think we pay $80/night.
Dec 17
We have not been able to call Shirley who is taking care of Max back in Snohomish for two day now which means the power is out. This morning we find out why. CNN carries the story of Seattle's worst storm in 10 years. We also pick up many news stories on the Internet. Also, now the phone is busy all the time indicating those lines are also damaged. We hope she is OK.
Anyway it is a gorgeous day in Guangzhou, and after we are finished with some adoption work, I am headed off to see the city. The island is about 5 blocks long by 3 blocks wide. It is separated from the mainland by a deep, wide mote. The one bridge is guarded. This separates the club atmosphere of the island from the rest of the city. This was earlier a British colony and many of ornate old the government buildings are still here. One of them is the American Consulate where the adoptions are finished. Because of that, a third of the hotel residents are American Families with their new Chinese babies. There are children everywhere. Because of that, there are many shops in the old buildings with every beautiful child clothing imaginable, much of it pure silk.

I spent some time on the island, but then headed over the bridge. The first thing I met fellow trying to sell me a huge claw. "Tiger Claw" he told my and sure enough there was his tiger paw that he was cutting the claws off. Cross the bridge and come into a whole different world. Then it was off down street. It was lined with little booth-shops caring foods. There were many roots, grains, flowers, chickens and geese. I saw a woman plucking a chicken while another chicken cowered in the basket waiting for its fate. Later there were plants, flowers, tiny trees and even pets (I don't think these were for eating). There is a doctor on in our group and he said he thought that area was the pharmacy for the city, since he recognized many of the roots as herbs, ginseng as one. I walked through many blocks of streets, then south to Mc Donald's for lunch. A woman and child came in while I was eating to beg from me. Mc Donald's promptly through her out. Next I was off to the Chinese Cultural Park. There were children there learning a Chinese art of making pictures on metal sheets with glazing materials. The very thin pictures were kiln dried before they left.
Back on the island I went shopping with Tim and Tammy. We are buying many baby cloths, and a few for us.


Go on to Part Three