Jiu Jiu here, AKA Robert, Bobby, Pablo, etc. I thought that I would give Deanna a break from the blog for the evening and offer a little different perspective on the trip.
We left Nanchang, Jianxi province yesterday and arrived in Guangzhou, Guangdong province last night. Before I write about Guanzhou, I would like to recap a little from the beginning of the trip. I arrived in Beijing late in the evening a day before Deanna and Tony flew in. I spent the evening at The Red Wall hotel, just outside of the forbidden city. I immediately felt like a giant in my tiny little room, but settled in after buying some water and sweet popcorn on the street. The next morning I headed out to the bus station to grab a coach to The Great Wall and Ming Tombs. It was fantastic to touch and stand upon one of the great wonders of the world, and it made me feel quite small. I spent the day on the bus visiting the two sights and arrived back in Beijing about 6pm. I shared a cab back to the hotel with a couple from Kuala Lumpur who happened to be staying there as well, grabbed my bag and hopped into another cab to Dee and Tony's hotel to meet up with them. It is pretty exhiliarating to be in a place where you don't speak the language, but still need to get around. Luckily, I was able to print the names of the hotels in Chinese before I left. I met up with Dee and Tony, and we all started this crazy journey to Halainah together. The next morning Dee and Tony had a meeting to attend, so I took the opportunity to explore The Forbidden City. I wandered through the city imagining what it would have been like for the last emperor as the city was being invaded and the government overthrown. Beijing is a very metropolitan city, and the people are very interested in westerners. I was asked to take pictures with a number of people, quite different than what I am used to while traveling. The city air is very polluted, but the city is beautiful and intriguing at the same time. Beijing is a wonderful city. Next stop, Nanchang.
Nanchang, Jianxi province has etched a place in all of our hearts. Nanchang is the capital of Jianxi province, known for producing famous Chinese artists, writers and scholars. Shangrao, Halainah's birth city is known for its ceramics and porcelain and has been proven to be the birthplace of rice to the world. Nanchang is not touristy at all, and we found our group to be the only western faces around. When we would enter a restaurant, everyone would curiously stare at us in awe. We did not feel uncomfortable, we kind of felt like rock stars. The people would ask our guide Sissy where the Chinese parents of the three babies in our group were, and often times would not understand why Westerners would come to China to adopt a baby. The Chinese people are very gracious and kind, and would walk right up to us and grab a baby from our hands and play with them, telling us how lucky and beautiful they were. We had the greatest guide in the world, who filled us with knowledge on the province that she loved that the babies were from. She showed us the city, took us to many restaurants to sample the local fare, and really gave us a vast appreciation of this beautiful country and amazing culture.
Although a large city by US standards, Nanchang is a small town in China. The only people that spoke English were schoolchildren that would approach us on the street and say "hello". We met a little schoolgirl on the shopping street with her pet buny in a small cage. After chatting a tiny bit in English, Rob, a member of our group told her that her English was very good and the look upon her face made us feel like he made her millennium- it was very cool. We all have a special place in our hearts for Nanchang, the birthplace of our new addition. We will never forget this place, and hope to return with Halainah when she is older.
So, this brings us back to Guanzghou, the final leg of our journey. We arrived late last night, had some dinner and retired. We got out to explore today, but have been a little disappointed. Although the weather is much warmer than the rest of the trip, most people speak English which makes things a little less exciting. Guanzghou is much larger than Nanchang and there is neon everywhere. Even if we say Thank You in Mandarin or Cantonese, we will get a "you're welcome" in return. We are enjoying ourselves in our huge 5-star hotel, but are longing for more of the "real China" that we experienced in Nanchang- Kind people, incredible food, no English, you get the picture. I posted some pics of our beautiful hotel lobby replete with waterfall and Koi filled river, and also the riverfront with Las Vegas like neon. I threw in some pics from The Great Wall and The Forbidden City as well. Deanna and Tony have been great travelers, and have really been loving China, the magical place of their new daughters birth. I am very proud of them both.
So, we were warned that in Guangdong province the people eat anything with four legs except for tables, and anything that flies except for airplanes. We decided on Thai this evening, skipped the pigeon and ostrich kidney, but still got a little added bonus in Dee's Pad Thai- a cockroach. The funny thing is that one night in Beijing while Tony was feeling under the weather, Dee and I set out in an old section of town, wandering alleyways (We thought someone would offer us a Mogwai for sale) and found a tiny local place that was not very clean and had a great meal sans insect protein. Tonight we eat in an upscale Thai restaurant and get a Pad Thai hitch hiker, pretty funny and kind of ironic.
I can't wait for you all to meet Halainah, you will instantly fall in love with her. She always has a smile on her face and is infinitely curious. She fights with her sleepy body because she never wants to miss anything, last night she nearly fell out of her high chair because she fell asleep while sitting up. She has a gorgeous little face with the most beautiful eyes. The Chinese people always comment on how beautiful her tiny little mouth is. Apparantly, the Chinese consider a small mouth a thing of beauty, and can not understand why Americans think that Julia Roberts is beautiful, or so we hear. I know Dee mentioned how she slurps noodles, but it is the funniest thing in the world- insert end of nodle in her mouth and the rest disappears in a flash, it is definitely something to see. Halainah must always have something in each hand, and always wants to see everything that there is to see. She is very restless, but always a joy to be around. I have bonded with her tightly, and will be sad to see her go to NJ, but know that she has lots of love to fly home to. We are waiting for Halainah's US visa here in Guanghou, then off to Hong Kong where we part ways.
Well, it is getting late here on the other side of the world. Enjoy the pics.
Jiu Jiu Bobby
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