Friday, June 29, 2007

Saturday in GZ

7 hours of sleep has given me an attitude adjustment. I told you I'm an adventurous person. If I get enough sleep. And I'm not sick. And I am not worried sick about a sick baby. And my basic needs are met. Well, hers, more importantly. I am still sick with whatever got me yesterday. All intestinal. I am going to assume it was the plane food. Chinese plane food is even worse than US plane food.

Could anyone question how I have bonded with this baby? I was like an angry lioness in this room last night. My baby needed food and sleep and getting both was this impossible task. Oh- orphanage babies like their cribs. They do not want to go to sleep on a bed. Well the ones in our travel group don't.

I was so upset about the disorganization because it meant she would suffer. I don't care about my needs as much. But hers? Her have to be met. . I finally slept through an Ativan haze last night even tho the plumbing problems upstairs continued into the wee hours of the morning. Hence, the need for Ativan and lots of it. So funny because other travel group members did the same thing. The construction and plumbing noises here are pretty irritating. I am so grateful for the DR for prescribing that drug. He swore I would need it in China and he was right!

Our view IS stunning. It's like Vegas here. Everyone says that but they don't explain why. The buildings along the river are lit up with neon and flashing lights. Laser lights project off the tops of the highrises onto the river. They play music along with the lasers. Cruise boats float by, also covered in neon and flashing lights. We are no longer in Nanchang, that is for sure! I am totally going to enjoy that tonight. last night, it was like a bad acid trip. "Make it stop, maaaaan. Make the noises go away, maaaaaaan!"

WOW are the beds hard here. Harder than Nanchang. I mean, like sleeping right on the floor. I doubled up the extra blankets on the so called mattress and was able to get comfortable. If you are staying at White Swan in the future, do the same. Even hard mattress lovers think the beds here are ridiculous. About three blankets underneath and you will feel like you are on a normal mattress again. I realize I am in China, but I think about the new Westin opening up here soon. They will feature the Heavenly Beds and Heavenly cribs. They will also give each family a stroller and a baby bath. I think they will steal away the White Swan's business. To me, it seems White Swan wants less adoption families, more business travelers. I think that is the direction they are headed, anyway. I will be curious to see how this trend plays out in the future.

At this point, I want anyone reading this to know that if you cannot stay at White Swan due to construction this summer, don't even worry. With the construction going on here and all the plumbing problems, this place is unorganized and chaotic. And the rooms are tiny. I think people are impressed if they have never stayed five star before. There are interesting touches here and there. The lighting plan in unique. You can light up pretty much any surface in this room. There is marble everywhere. But the carpets are filthy, the furniture is dinged up, and our bathroom was not clean. I think this floor may be next to go under construction, hence why it has been let go a bit.

There is also a floor attendant at the elevator to take care of your every need. Ours is less than thrilled to do so. She is probably sick of all the chaos as well. NOt sure who dropped the ball on the crib situation last night. But it made for a tense situation on this floor. Half the families had cribs. Half did not. The staff had to assemble cribs, then find mattresses and blankets. Totally not prepared. But they were apologetic to us, which we appreciated. We were perfectly nice to them and kept our cool, but we were not pleased.

There are some very unhappy families in our group due to that situation. Also due to putting smoking families in the non smoking rooms. Since they smoke in those rooms and the smoke gets into the non smoking rooms. Some of the travel mates are asthmatic, so it's a health hazard. The smoke I smelled getting into our room in Nanchang? It was from a non smoking room of a travel mate. My clothes reek of smoke from that hotel room. We pondered asking to change rooms here but were advised against it. We have a lot of smokers on this trip and if we get moved next to them, we get smoke and not banging noises from the plumbing above. I'd rather have the noise than the smoke, seriously. Blehhhh. Another travel mate picked up her bags in Guangzhou to find someone had thrown up on them!! So it could be a whole heck of a lost worse. I hung up a lucky Chinese symbol in our room to keep all the bad mojo away. Then I counted my blessings. THen I chased all the bad stuff away.

Speaking of smoking, one Chinese person told me that he is amused by the ladies from a particular country who travels to China to adopt babies. Won't list the country, but they are known for being heavy smokers. He says the ladies smoke with one hand, eat with another, and blow smoke in the direction of the babies. He says the Chinese people get very angry when they see that happen. He said at least the Americans keep the smoke from the babies. I told him not all do! But some do try.

This morning was rushed due to our 8am appointment and baby who slept in! We had to wake her up. Give a quick bottle, while one of us gets ready, then switch off, and head down to the buffet. She seems more congested today, but less snotty. Good. Maybe this will be a quick cold.

The restaurant is gorgeous. One wall is all glass that overlooks the river. The other view is of the waterfall in the lobby. The food is set up at several stations. There is just one tiny Chinese breakfast station. The rest is all Western. I was a bit sad by that. I do love my breakfast dim sum! But I cannot find any as good as in Hong Kong. The chef at the Chinese breakfast area was thrilled that I wanted a plate. He filled mine with various goodies. "Here, here, try this. Very good, you like this!"

Sorry about lack of pics in this post. We had headed downstairs for the 8am medical exam and that's when.. I got sick again. ARG! I was so mad! I wanted to be there for Juna. But I could not. I was dizzy, sweating, and so so sick. Don't blame the chicken feet! Yeah, I swore no heads and no feet, but I had to give them a try. Seriously, blame that plane food. SO SO SO spicy. And food in Nanchang is spicy in general. Our lunch was spicy and so was dinner. I am reacting the way I do when I have spicy food in the US. I will not blame this on food poisoning. Just a hungry woman who ate food that is not on her ok list.

So Matt took the baby to the medical exam and now here I am, typing to you crazy people. I took several Pepto tabs and am much better, thank you.

I wanted to mention some of the sweet things that happened in Nanchang yesterday. It was hard to say goodbye to Rose and Jason. They were so kind to us and we will miss them. We exchanged email addresses and hope to stay in touch.

Yesterday, Tiffani's of Nanchang came through. They delivered our daughter's finding ad to the hotel. It was hard to find, as she was in Suichuan, not Sichuan. Sichuan is well known. Suichuan is confusing, even to the Chinese. It is a very tiny area in the Jiangxi province. It is often hard to get a hold of their local paper.

When a baby is found, an ad is taken out in the local paper. A finding ad is a heartbreaking sight. It's rows and rows of newborn faces- ok, not only newborns but children as well! ROWS of them and this is from a tiny little area of China. All abandoned. Some in her finding ad, which took up two whole newspaper pages, had obvious deformities. Others looked "normal." And there was sweet Juna. Wrapped in a blanket, fast asleep. I cried. I mean I sobbed and sobbed. I'm crying as I type this because those babies... so many babies. And the little girls in those photos! Three to five years old. Abandoned? Parents are dead? Who knows. No mommies and daddies to love them. Oh it is just unreal how that touches your heart. I sat and stared at those faces and sobbed until I shook. It was so real then, seeing her in that photo. Seeing those little faces who just need so much love. And knowing how many out there want them right now, if they could have them.

My crying woke her up. She was sleeping on her tummy, and she popped up her head and smiled at me. More tears. I mean, I was a basket case. I held her and held her and sobbed onto her little head. She let me. As if she knew. As if she understood.

Tiffani's gave us a copy of the pages, and the front page of the paper that day. Our baby was found on the steps of the local tax bureau by a citizen of Suichuan, who took her to the police. The police wrote her report and took her to the Suichuan Social Welfare Institute. They guessed her age based on her umbilical cord condition. Tiffani's also gave us her actual ad cut out and put into a red Chinese envelope.

I will look at it again once I get home. I can't do it now. Too painful to see.

Other things of note- when at the Nanchang airport, Juna and I chose to sit down with a group of Chinese people who were waiting for their plane. There was immediate interest in her. An old man started chatting to me in Chinese. I understood baby and how old? I said "Sorry, English only. Bao bao 8 months. " A lady leaned over and translated it for him. That's when many more people came to ask questions and she translated. "They want you to know you have a Chinese Beauty. Her eyes are round. She has perfect earlobes. Women in China want to have earlobes that look like that. They say she will grow up to be very beautiful." I said thank you and asked what she meant by the earlobes. The woman traced Juna's ears with her fingers, showing me how Chinese women like their ears to be shaped. "She has that perfect shape. Such lucky baby."

She then asked Juna's age. No one could believe her age. "Such big baby, such strong baby for 8 months. Baby will be tall." She translated that the people said thank you for caring for China's forgotten children. She actually said it that way, which was really neat to hear. "We in China are so grateful you care so much about our children. We cannot afford to care for them. We all want to adopt them, but we cannot afford to send them to school if we do. Thank you so much for giving her a better life."

She then gave me a message to everyone out there. "Tell the Americans who are coming how grateful we are and how we feel they are such good people, such kind people to care for our children."

Then she gave me some Chinese medicine and tissues from her purse. "Baby is sick. Give her half this packet, she will get better."

As I said before, your baby in China is everyone's baby in China. We have not encountered the Clothing Police, who want to cover her up in layers in this heat. Instead, we have encountered the face wiping police. Everywhere we go, Chinese women want to wipe Juna's nose. And they are rough with it. This is why the babies hate having their noses wiped. Our travel mates keep asking what the nannies did to these babies. I think they wiped their noses too hard, if it's anything like how the strangers wipe Juna's nose. Try stopping a Chinese lady from wiping your baby's nose. It's amazing how hands on they are with the babies here. Or they want to stroke her cheek or play with her hands. Men and women! No one has taken her from me yet. But they do crowd around. The thing I hear over and over again, by men and women, young and old, "Chinese beauty. So beautiful." Even on the plane, the flight attendants could not stop fussing over her. "Big eyes! So lucky!"

Which proves the age old theory. The Beautiful People are very lucky people indeed. If a baby can attract this much attention, imagine what it's like to be a beautiful woman.

Eh, I'm glad I'm a funny woman. This is why I make friends everywhere I go. People like me. Awww, you like me.... you really really... ok I'll stop.

OH! We got video of this! The plane in Nanchang? When we boarded, it was so hot, that the air conditioner vents on the plane were blowing out steam. Condensation? Whatever. Cool air met hot air. It looked like the inside of the plane was smoking. We walked into a cold steam bath on the plane. It was unreal looking.

One last note. Since I've been in China, I've lost ten pounds. Between the walking in the extreme temps, the healthy food, and the occasional bouts of stomach troubles, I've haven't been this "thin" har har, in YEARS. I am at my lowest weight in five years. Man, I need to stay in China for a few months. I'd come back a size 6.

If anyone talks to my mom, please tell her that a good night's sleep made the world a better place. We'll be fine. We're just getting through each day until we can get home. We'll have fun in the next few days, but it is wearing on us. Travel is stressful! Traveling half way around the world to meet your new baby? I can't believe I haven't had a nervous breakdown yet.

More later, with pics!

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