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Friday, May 18, 2007

China Experience - Changsha, Hunan

On 4/3/07:

Good news - renting the computer is much cheaper here in Changsha! We are trying to get some photos uploaded today, we'll see how that goes. Check the blog late on Tuesday and maybe they will be there. :)

After we talked (Mon night/Tues morning) we came back to the hotel and had pizza. It was pretty good, too. We are taking some time to email and then we will be heading to Wal-Mart around 4. One of our guides will take us down there via taxi and then we can grab a taxi back when we are ready. Shouldn't cost more than $1 for taxi each way.

I'm glad you told me more about how things are going. I'm relieved as it sounded like maybe my kids (especially Halen) were sad or having trouble. But, it sounds like everyone is getting along all right. I may try to send eCards to them.

**On the phone we discussed the trip to pick up Phoebe. We went to the provincial (Hunan) government headquarters in Changsha. We walked into a room where there were a number of adults holding all ten of the babies. They called each baby’s Chinese name and the adoptive family belonging to that baby stepped forward with their paperwork. The paperwork was checked and the baby was handed over.

Some babies were screaming, some were quiet as church mice. Phoebe was the chubbiest and quietest. We found out later from the orphanage director that she was considered a difficult baby and we suspect they fed her a lot to hush her up (which is why she is chubby). More paperwork was done and fees paid. We went back later to do final paperwork (later in the week).***

Today is a bit quieter as everyone is getting settled with their babies. Tomorrow we go sightseeing in the morning and then are on our own in the afternoon. I told you how lush it is here on the phone. I'll take some photos so you can see, too. It is also a more typical "city" than Beijing. I guess kind of like DC - it is not a typical American city either, is it?

Our hotel room overlooks an elementary (possibly middle school, too). It is very large with 4 or 5 buildings each 5 or 6 stories high. We can see right down a wide walk way between two buildings into the courtyard (soccer field and track area). I watched the kids put up the flags this morning while the anthem played. Very cool! At lunch time many of the parents meet them and bring them lunch. Because this is a tropical climate, they do the mid-day "siesta" here, too. Although I don't think they nap - they do go home for lunch and come back to work and work later in the evening.

The hotel where we are staying is REALLY nice. I'll take photos - very fancy!!! The beds are hard as rocks...but feel really good. :) Nice linens, down comforters, and down pillows! Kim and I have both commented that the staff speak English better than in Beijing. Don't know why I'm surprised by that, but I am. We've had all our meals at the hotel so far while in Changsha...hoping to go out for some spicy Hunan tonight. We'll see. Many of our group are quite negative about the food, preferring to stick with American fare rather than enjoy the chance to have REAL chinese food. Oh, well. Kim and I are REALLY enjoying it!

You'll be glad to know that I am taking my Cipro. I got a little bit of a sick stomach (not at all bad - probably more related to traveling in general), so I decided not to take a chance. You have to be so careful about the tap water - when you wash your face, take a shower, etc. So I just decided to take the meds as a precautionary. I'm still being careful about the tap water, but I don't have to worry about it.

I've started "Three Cups of Tea" - I can tell I'm going to like it! But I am realizing that I really brought too many books. I just couldn't decide what I might be in the mood to read!