Where do I begin? We have now been in China for three full days. We got in to China late Thursday night. This is the first time we have been able to get all of the connections working with the laptop and whatever gizmo the hotel has for hooking up to the internet. I hope this actually goes to the blog! Anyway, China is VERY different. There are LOTS of people and they LOVE Americans (at least I think they do!) They are ALWAYS staring at you and they want to have their picture taken with you. It is kind of like being a monkey at the zoo! I hear that once we have the babies the attention will become even more pronounced. I'm not going to post any photos today. I want to wait and post photos of Lilli after we get her tomorrow! We only have 14 hours until lift-off! We were supposed to go to the Civil Affairs Bureau to get the babies, but they are going to bring them to the hotel tomorrow at 10:00 A.M.! It is still surreal even though we are in country and so close to the actual event!
I have been keeping a written journal ever since we took off out of Louisville. Mostly observations about things that I've seen so far. The flight from Chicago to Tokyo was
L-O-N-G!!!! One of the coolest things about the flight was that there were monitors that showed where you were flying, how many miles (meters) you had come, how far you still had to travel, and how long you had been airborne. It was neat to see the places that we crossed over. Some of the most notable places we crossed were Anchorage, Alaska, The Bering Sea, and Russia. I wrote down the times (in Indiana time) that we crossed over each place for future reference. I think the flight from Tokyo to Beijing was the most miserable. The seats were definitely made for Chinese people and our tushes were sore from the 12-hour plane ride. There are constant reminders in China that we are MUCH bigger people than they are! One of the most hilarious things about the long plane ride was that many people on our plane were going home to Tokyo. I had packed books and magazines to read, puzzles, etc. I was ready to take on boredom! Well, the flight attendants turned off all of the lights, shut all of the windows and made the plane like a sleeping dorm. Hardly anyone (save me) was awake! I thought this was very odd. We never saw actual night on our entire flight, but since it was night time in Japan, the flight attendants wanted to simulate the change for the Japanese passengers. Since we flew coach, my overhead light was extremely obstrusive to our seat mate (who was the nicest person! Hi Yoko!) so I sat in darkness for the entire 12 hours. Thank goodness for my I-Pod! We got here in one piece so I guess that is the most important thing!
So the travel here was really no sweat. I thought I wouldn't handle it well, but I did fine. Once we got in the air on the long flight, I was fine. When we arrived in China, we breezed through Customs. I was really surprised. On the plane we had to fill out some paperwork on whether or not we had had any close contact with birds. I thought that was interesting! We took a bus to the hotel and tried to sleep. We were exhausted from travel, but it was hard to sleep.
I could ramble on forever about all of the things we have seen. I'm going to condense my experience to a few short lists of observations:
1. The Chinese are not big on A/C ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. I have done nothing but sweat since I've been here. The hotels have air, but not like we do in the states. I've resigned myself to the fact that I will have sweat stains on the back of my shirt the entire time we are here!
2. Chinese people are very nice, but quite bold. They aren't afraid to raise their voices, honk, shout, and I think swear at you if you step out of line. They all seem to be in a big hurry and they don't want any one in their way. When we shopped at the Carre Four store (Wal-Mart on crack) people will push your cart out of the way, push you, etc. They don't have any personal space boundaries. All of the gazillion people who were shopping at the store wanted to inspect what we were buying.
3. Chinese women LOVE high heel shoes. We saw several women wearing high heeled shoes climbing the Great Wall yesterday. It is insane. Most women wear stillettos and dresses.
4. Everything here is VERY inexpensive. We bought an insane amount of items today for only $24. One of the items was a stroller!
Interesting food I've seen/experienced:
1. At lunch before we climbed the Great Wall, the servers brought a whole fish (head, tail, scales, bones, etc.) to the table. It looked like it was covered in sweet and sour sauce. I wasn't going to try it, but ended up taking a small piece. It was really good!
2. At the supper buffet last night one of the dishes was Fried Chicken Feet. No one opted for that selection.
3. This morning we had something called a Mountain Medicine Roll. It had a plum taste to it, but i suspect it was flavored bean paste. The Chinese do amazing things with bean paste! This roll was delicious!
Well, that is all for now. I'll post pictures tomorrow and let everyone know how we are doing as a family. Right now I am going to bed because I haven't quite adjusted to the time change. Please pray that tomorrow will bring good things (and a healthy baby!)