Going to Guangzhou after Beijing and Nanjing is like visiting Florida after spending weeks in a frigid PA winter. The days are warm – mid-70s average temp this week – and the sun has been bright. It’s such a nice change from the rest of our very cold trip and has given us an opportunity to escape our hotel room and enjoy more of China.
Tim and I remember much about our last time in Guangzhou, and can navigate the area around the hotel pretty easily. We’re also getting really good at arguing with cab drivers about bad rates and occasionally throwing (very gentle but culturally-appropriate) blocks to people who try to cut in front of us in line. (In China, lines are less of an orderly situation and more of a mass, go-where-you-want-to-go situation, which does not sit well for rule-followers like me.)
For those of you wondering why we were in three different cities, here’s the scoop. Our agency recommends touring in Beijing first for two reasons. 1.) It’s a chance to explore some of the better-known sites in China to get a sense of the rich history that your soon-to-be-child was born into, and 2.) It gives you a chance to get over jet lag before they hand you a child whose reaction to you may be an extremely stressful one. As much as you just want your child in your arms at that point, it’s a good strategy.
So we started in Beijing. We were there for two full days. Then you have to go to the capital city of the province where your child is from. That is where you meet your child, finalize your adoption, and get your child’s Chinese passport, which he obviously cannot leave the country without. That process takes 4-5 days. Then you’re on to the next city.
Lastly, you go to Guangzhou. Every adoptive parent and child MUST go through Guangzhou. It’s where the US Consulate office is located, and it’s where you get your child’s medical exam done to qualify him to leave the country. It’s also where you get the child’s visa done, which again, you cannot leave China without. The Guangzhou portion takes close to a week to complete.
I’m writing this as we’re two days away from going home and I can say that as much as we have enjoyed it, we have definitely rounded the corner on the trip and are ready to be home in our own house in our own beds with our own laundry and our own routines. But for now, we treasure Guangzhou’s experiences!
Guangzhou is the fifth largest city in China, with 18.5 million people calling it home. For comparison, New York City is home to only 8.5 million people. It would be considered a small city here. This is the view from our hotel room. There is a massive construction site next door that we suspect will one day eclipse this view, but for now, you can see far into the distance on the less smoggy days.
On our first day, we ate a Muslim Rice & Noodle shop around the hotel from us. The flavors were wonderful and every dish was fantastic. And I think the whole meal cost something $20 for all of us to eat. Total. I forgot to get pictures of the food because I was enjoying it too much, but here we are waiting for our order. I love the china teapots on the tables!
I’m not entirely certain what the laws are in China about standing on statues, but Liam wanted this pic so we did it quick – and then walked quickly away.
The adults wanted to take a walk in the huge park across the street, but the kids all wanted to swim. They have been such troupers that we went with it. Titus decided he wanted to stay in his chair instead of swim with daddy so he hung out with me. The water was cool so they didn’t stay in too long, but they had fun for a little bit.
My beautiful girl.
The first one to get in.
Micah jumping in right before the lifeguard said no jumping.
Talking about something really important.
Laying out on the pool chairs and basking in the warm sun was a great end to our brief pool trip.
The view up to the top of the hotel from the lounge chairs.
Titus adores airplanes. Here he is pretending to fly one and forcing Vivi to be the co-pilot because he is ALWAYS the pilot. 🙂