Monday, July 23, 2012

Catching up...Day Six Together

This was our last day in Fuzhou. We had our last breakfast in the lakeside hotel cafe and then met up with a friend, Isabel, who used to be a guide in Fuzhou. Such a cute and bubbly lady! :). We took a long walk around the lake and through the amusement park. We let Evan go on a few rides. He was so excited to finally be able to do so. Lena went on a small merry-go-round with him. She was a little apprehensive, but ultimately liked it and she really enjoyed watching Evan on the other rides...made her laugh. Isabel and I had some great conversations and I got a better understanding of the way some things work here in China and she got a better understanding on how we advocate for kids back home. After we got back to the room and said goodbye to Isabel, we packed up all our things while Lena took a nap. We then had to wake Lena up, have our luggage held downstairs, and head to the 3rd floor conference room, where we waited about 45 min to an hour for Penny to come with a local police officer who had Lena's passport. We had to sign a couple things and then he took a picture with Evan and with all of us...the blonde hair just turns heads and gets you extra noticed here. We waited for our driver to take the policeman back and then we loaded the van and headed towards the Fuzhou airport. We gave our driver a gift and headed into the airport. Penny helped us get checked in and then we had to head towards security. Big meltdown #2 began. Lena did not like saying goodbye to Penny! We cannot blame her...Penny was super sweet and spent a lot of time with us this week. We were the only family in fuzhou. If I could share one piece of advice with families about to travel, it would be to not let your guide get too close with your child or to hold them much, if at all....unless its for a couple minutes while you needed to get something. I think this was a mistake on our part and it made things even more difficult. We then headed to our gate, which unfortunataly was not far from security. Lena would keep looking that way and start to get upset every time. I tried taking her for a walk...didn't help much. Rick and Evan went to look for some dinner, but it seemed they couldn't find any restaurants -only one shop with snacks. They got some sunflower seeds but they ended up being sweet flavored and Rick didn't really care for them. Lena, however, loved them! Definitely think someone showed this girl how to eat and spit out sunflower seeds the right way...she could do it better than me. I got her an empty bag for the shells because that beat having them spit into my hand. :). We waited about an hour to two hours to board. It seemed almost every flight was being delayed so we were nervous ours would be too. Around 6:30 pm we boarded and took off shortly after. The man next to Rick was from guangzhou and super nice. He also spoke decent English so he talked to Rick and I quite a bit throughout the flight. He said we were lucky to have left on time! Whew! This was Lena's first flight. She wanted nothing to do with sitting in the seat we paid for her to have because she is over 2. She was about to scream very loud, so I put her on my lap and buckled over both of us and thankfully the flight stewards didnt seem to care. This would be okay on this flight, but I will not be able to do that on the 15 hour flight home...won't be able to feel my legs and I am sure they won't allow it anyways. She didn't mind take-off or landing and did well during the flight. She even ate all the meat and some of the veggies and other slimy things (I had no idea what they were) that were in the pork and noodles meal we got on the china eastern flight. The flight was only about an hour and 15 min. We landed around 8 pm, but because the guangzhou airport is huge, we taxied on the runway for a long time. We noticed that about a minute after landing 75% of the plane passengers were on their phones and one woman decided to get out of her seat and head towards the exit door in a huge hurry. Not sure what they did with the US you would have been forced to go back to your seat, tackled down, and probably end up in handcuffs. A few minutes later while taxiing still, almost everyone on the plane got out of their seats to get their bags. The stewards had everyone sit back down...hardly anyone was in their original seat. They then shut all the overhead compartments again. When we finally got to the gate, we just waited for everyone to get off and then we got off. We have noticed that people are in a hurry here almost always, they are almost always looking out for themselves first or only, and they don't mess around with wasting any time. This was one of the things about the culture that surprised us a bit...we would have thought they would be more patient and compassionate. We have also noticed a real difference in physical affection here -not so much between young people dating, but between parent and child and especially husband and wife....little to no physical interaction or affection. So once off the flight, we headed down the fairly empty corridor to the bathrooms and then finally to the baggage claim. Our bags were the only ones left going around. Guess that made them easy to find! I told you they dont mess around here! We then went out and met of our two guides. We thought we were just having Rebecca, but because our group is so big, we have two guides I guess. She helped us get out to the driver who took us to the garden hotel and then she stayed back to wait on two or three more families who still needed to arrive. My poor friend Tammy is all by herself with her daughter and was delayed by so many hours that She didn't get to the hotel til 1 am! We got checked in and into our room by maybe 10 pm. Rick ended up going down to look for Rebecca since we didn't see her in the lobby. She came to the room while Rick was gone and then insisted on going to look for him. When she went down, he came back....go figure. She ended up calling up and I told her that he had come back. She came back and we went over a few things and then went on to get ready for bed...probably about 11 pm by the time we were finally ready to call it a night. Talk about an amazing hotel! Besides the faint musty smell, this is probably the nicest hotel we have or will ever stay at. Amazing lobby with beautiful plants and flowers all over, rooms that are like two room studio apartments, with a bathtub with privacy glass and a walk-in shower, and a separate room for the toilet. We have had a king size bed in both hotels but it is not big enough for Rick, Evan, and I to all fit on so Evan has been finding a new place to sleep every night. The bedding and pillows are super soft, but the beds are firm...that is just the Asian way. They would think our beds in the US are way too soft and would prefer to sleep on the floor. We were very happy to be in Guangzhou and at the garden hotel...looking forward to meeting all the other families in the morning.

Rick has been drinking quite a bit of these- bottle of green tea. 
Time to say goodbye to Fuzhou, Fujian province.  
Waiting in the airport to head to Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

 Eating sunflower seeds- she is a pro!
Evan happy with his can of Sprite.  He's had more Sprite here than he's probably had in his entire life. :)
We made it to Guangzhou!  
It was late and we were getting pretty tired, but here we were in the van on the way to the Garden Hotel.
Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China- very busy, packed with buildings EVERYWHERE, and lots of lights at night.

Our hotel room at the Garden in Guangzhou- looks like more of a two-room studio apartment!
 The crib ready with a gift basket (there was a stuffed panda in there too, 
but she wanted that right away).
 The living room/office area.
 Our bedroom- the second room.
 The bathroom with privacy glass between the bedroom and the bathtub- you can use a remote to pull down a curtain like thing so no one can see in from the bedroom.  There is also an awesome stand-up shower on the other side of the bathtub.
 Evan playing around in the living room.
 Lena getting ready for bed.  
Thank you to Lena's soon to be friend Lily for passing on your cute silk pajamas to Lena. :)

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