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Well….it’s finally the day! We are leaving for China.

Day 8 January 28, 2005

Today was a day of traveling. We spent the morning packing everything and trying to squeeze way to much stuff into our suitcases. We had to leave for the airport just after lunch and the rest of the day consisted of bus rides, waiting at the airport, plane ride, bus ride and then finally at 8:30 pm we arrived at our hotel in Beijing. Talk about tired!!! Alyssa was a fantastic traveler. She was laughing and entertaining everyone on the plane. The only time Alyssa cries is when we try to put her down. She is still very nervous in that regard…when we lay her down to change her or try and sit her on the floor or bed she becomes very frantic and upset.

The second we pick her up she calms down and is happy again. Other than that, she has not cried at all. She is the most content baby I’ve ever seen! (knock on wood). When all the other babies are screaming she’s just sitting and looking around and wondering what all the fuss is about!

We have been trying to get Alyssa to use her legs a bit more as they are very weak…like jello! Today we had her “walking” while holding onto her hands and she did really great. We have it on video and she looks so cute. At first she was scared to try it but she’s getting more used to it!

Chris and I are excited to be in Beijing…Yulin assures us there is better shopping and restaurants here! Chris says I can’t buy another thing because there is absolutely NO where to pack it. I may just have to buy another suitcase! It’s not like we’re going to be in China again anytime soon! Give me a break!

Tomorrow we have to do more paperwork for Alyssa’s Immigration papers. We received her passport and official adoption documents. Very exciting!

There’s not a whole lot more for me to write as today was pretty boring…I am also tired and have to unpack now. Chris and I are enjoying China but we are so anxious to get home to Prince Edward Island…even with all the snow! We can’t wait to see you all and especially you Caleb, Dylan and Nathan! We hope you are being good boys! Only a few more days until you come to the airport to greet your little sister!! YAY!!!!!

Chris, being the ever wonderful video man, caught Alyssa on tape the first day we were able to make her laugh. She is so adorable. You can see the video clip here on our website under Radio and Video. Enjoy! Caleb, Dylan and Nathan…get ready…she is a fireball and loves action!

We weren’t able to take too many photos today…we did take a lot of video footage of the city and of the home dwellings. It is so different here… a large home in China is about 500 square feet!!!!! There are so many people in the cities though (4 million in Changsha and 15 million in Beijing ) that most people live in very tall apartment buildings. The units are very small!

Below is a picture of us with one of our guides Grace! She was the one who took us on that unique shopping experience yesterday! She is really great! Our other guide’s name is Vicky and she was equally as wonderful. They are both so knowlegable and speak excellent English! We are afraid to go anywhere without them!!!!

Day 29, 2005

I can’t believe we are on Day 9 already. I guess the time is going pretty quickly. Chris and I FINALLY had a full nights sleep last night. We didn’t wake up until 8:30 am – this is the first night we were able to sleep past 3:30 am! Even Alyssa slept until then.

We got to go to the Panda Bear Zoo today. It was so great! First of all, we actually had a sunny day here in China!!!! For the last week the weather has been rainy and wet. Today, though, was a beautiful, but brisk, day. The Pandas were so cute. I’ve added some pictures below!

We were scheduled to go the Silk Factory today but Chris and I decided not to go. Part of the factory is closed and the whole trip takes about 3 hours. We decided to explore Beijing a little (stayed within 2 blocks of the hotel, of course! We’re not that brave!). We found a Sizzler restaurant and had our most delicious meal yet in China! Chris had a t-bone steak and I had pork spareribs with baked potato! Alyssa pretty much ate anything she could get her hands on! She loves rice and watermelon and she also loves to hold onto bread. She is always taking bites of the bread but immediately spits them out. She won’t let us take the bread away, though, so we just keep cleaning her up:)

Next, we went to a 5 story department store. We bought a stroller but it was so crowded we didn’t stick around for long! In the stores here, you have to show the sales lady what you want and she will write up a slip. You aren’t allowed to take your merchandise with you. You then go to the cashier and pay your bill (taken from the slip) and then you go back to the department to pick up your items. A tad confusing, especially when no one speaks Chinese. Luckily I had read about this on someone else’s website so I kind of had an idea of what the sales lady was trying to tell us. Chris, on the other hand, was totally confused but that’s not unusual! Hee Hee

Tonight we are going to a local Chinese restaurant for Peking Duck…I guess this is supposed to be the most popular dish in Beijing. Beijing used to be called Peking. We’ll let you know how it tastes! Not as good as a burger and fries, I bet! Or a pizza with the works. Oh well…it’s all part of the experience!

Enjoy the photos…what kind of pictures are you interested in seeing? Pictures of us with Alyssa or the city and landscape? I’ll try and send a bit of both.

 

Day 10 January 30, 2005

 

Let me begin by saying HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY LAUREN (she's our niece!) :)

Today was a fantastic day! We traveled to the Great Wall of China today and it was so awesome! The day was very clear, blue skies so we had great views of everything. It was also very cold and windy up in those mountains!!!! We decided to get a nanny for Alyssa today as it was an 8 hour outing and quite cold. She had a great day with her Chinese nanny so everything worked out well.

The Great Wall was quite a site. We have included some photos below. The climb can be quite steep at some parts and with all that wind blowing, we were sure we were going to blow over! One side of the Wall is not very tall at all and I was terrified to look down (I'm not so great with heights!). I felt like the wind would blow me right over it! Anyway...we made it to the top and took lots of photos and really enjoyed the majesty of it all. All along the walk there were vendors yelling at you to buy their souvenirs. They loved to barter and Chris and I are trying to get the hang of it. I am such a sucker though, I find it difficult to say "no". I think we managed to get some deals but I know on some items I was suckered. Oh well... not to bad for our first time. We are heading to the market tomorrow where I hear it is crazy with bartering and the vendors following you around so I’m glad we got a little taste of it today and now know what to expect.

We also visited the Jade Factory today... China is well known for it's beautiful jade which they make into jewelry and carvings and lots of other neat things. The jade necklaces, earring and bracelets were very expensive but I managed to find some small pieces within my price range. The most popular color is green which means happiness. I found a very pretty bracelet that is pink and green. Pink means love and of course, green means happiness. The Chinese ladies wear the bracelets on their left wrists because they believe it will keep them healthy and happy. They wear it on the left wrist because it is closer to the heart.

The whole group went out for another delicious Chinese meal today. By the way... the Peking duck last night was very tasty! We had many other dishes and all of them were good. The tables in the restaurant are very large with spinning things in the middle. The waitresses just keep bringing out dish after dish and everyone at the table rotates the spinning disk and helps themselves to whatever they want. We probably had at least 10 different Chinese dishes. It is really good, too! They serve a lot of vegetable dishes, lots of rice, soup, and meat dishes. You have to drink either beer (most popular choice), coke, sprite or Chinese tea.

We arrived back at the hotel around 6:15 pm (we left this morning at 9:00 ) very tired but very happy. Alyssa was glad to see us which made us feel nice. The nanny said she was a great baby and very quiet. She was a bit quiet after we got home but it didn’t take long to get her laughing again! The three of us spent a pretty quiet evening hanging around the hotel and sticking close to our room. Chris and I are exhausted from all that fresh air.

It is now past 9:30 pm and we are watching Alyssa play in her crib. The nanny let her nap from 4:30-6:00 pm so she is not tired for bed yet. We have also discovered that she will play quietly in her crib without crying. This is the ONLY place we have been able to put her down
without her crying. I'll be sure to get a crib for every room in our house!!! Hee hee.

Tomorrow we are off to have medicals done with all the children (19 girls and 1 boy) and then to experience market/bartering shopping. Can't wait!!! (more...)

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