Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Everyone's in bed, a pretty good day today
The toughest challenges were getting the boys' naptimes somewhat normalized, especially Andrew's. Being 18 months old, he probably had the toughest time; since he's neither old enough to really understand much of what's going on, nor young enough to be ignorant of it. As I blogged about last time, yesterday evening he was an absolute mess. This morning, he again woke up at 4:30 am local time. We all ended up getting up at 5 am this morning, to our chagrin.
By around 9 in the morning, Andrew was again acting tired -- but the last thing we wanted to do was let him sleep, only to see a repeat of last night's meltdown at dinner. So Tim and I brought the boys down to the "Kiddie Land" playroom in the hotel: not much bigger than a typical church nursery, but with toys, a much better option than a hotel room with furnishings. It has a small toddler slide, some building megablocks (like big Legos) and some various other toys. So we hung out there for nearly 2 hours and finally headed up to our room at 11:15 am to put the boys down for naps.
Well, Andrew didn't sleep long, only an hour, but Matthew managed to sleep for over 2 hours! Lunch was again McDonald's, oh well. Tim and I walked around the whole city block after putting the boys down at 11:30 am and encountered a number of local restaurants. However, after checking them out from outside, we don't feel really comfortable eating at any of them (unsanitary, etc.). So we may end up eating more "Mickey D's" this week and a half than we've eaten over the past two years! Andrew doesn't seem to mind: he loves French fries (to the exclusion of everything else)!
So this afternoon, the six of us, after relaxing in the room for a while, decided to head out to do a little look around town. Most of our travel group went in the morning to a park/garden somewhere outside the immediate vicinity for sightseeing, but we opted out because we felt it would be too much for us. So we felt the need to get out. Our walk around town turned out quite fun -- having been to China before, and being Chinese ourselves, we didn't feel terribly afraid of getting lost or anything. We did get stares, though, for each adult having a kid: Tim and Lois each pushing a stroller, and me carrying Emmaline in the baby sling. =-) The highlight of the walk—though I missed the camera shot—was seeing a bunch of kids getting out of primary school, and several of them (boys) pulling down their pants by the curb in respective places and relieving themselves right onto the street (some into sewer drains)!!! We got a kick out of that!
We got back from our walk at 5:00 pm, a bit tired and a bit sweaty. The skies look cloudy and overcast, but the climate is actually muggy and warm. So looks are deceiving for those of us not accustomed to tropical climates such as that here. So we retired to our rooms and then ordered some room service an hour later. The rooms are a bit smaller than the equivalent level of hotel in the U.S., but mainly in the absence of a table. So what does room service to? Cart in a folding table on wheels, complete with settings. It was nice, and we may resort to it again during our stay here since the restaurant selection nearby is at best limited and we weren't impressed with the main Chinese restaurant in the hotel.
Well everyone's in bed now except me and I mean to head up in a sec from the lobby where I'm connected to the 'net.
Oh, one more little fun story. Yesterday after visiting various officials to complete our various adoption paperwork requirements, our travel group was bused over to the Guangzhou "International Friendship Store" to do some shopping for any needs we might have had. For those who haven't been to China before, these Friendship Stores are basically multi-level department store which have basically everything you might need. The idea was to purchase any baby clothes, accessories and groceries we might have needed. The big problem? They cater to foreigners, and as such, they are an upscale store with upscale prices! The atmosphere and prices are comparable to Macy's, which is saying a lot, since Chinese nationals make a whole lot less money than Americans do!
So after 15 minutes, which included deciding that we weren't interested in spending $5 USD (minimum!) on a simple baby bottle, Lois and I decided to go trekking (again, a boldness partly helped by our being Chinese). At first we were looking for something quick to eat, but as we walked about 500 yards down the street (past a Starbucks) towards a KFC sign, we noticed a storefront with a sign "Trust-Mart." As we got closer, we realized it was a locals' (less expensive) version of a Friendship Store: a Chinese version of Target. So we plunged in and exited with a good deal of stuff. Our most successful find? A baby bottle for the equivalent of just $1.38 USD! =-) Yay for being frugal and God's provision in our striving to be good stewards. One of our fellow travel group members, when they heard about our little sidetrip tonight, said, "We had the same impression of the Friendship Store (too expensive)! I wish we'd gone with you..."
Well I'll sign off for now (it's almost 9 pm here now) and head to bed. Thank you all again for your kind encouragements and participation in our adventure. Just one more week and we head home... we can't wait!