Today we flew from Beijing to Guangzhou (GZ), where we will finally meet Lauren. It was an emotional day right from the start. After breakfast in Beijing, we boarded the bus to the airport and said good-bye to Susan (our Beijing guide) and met Alison (our GZ guide). Alison is incredibly passionate about helping children find their forever families. She started off by reading a Bible verse about caring for orphans and as she started to read she got choked up and had to take a moment to collect herself. Right about then, there wasn't a dry eye on the bus and then as she continued to speak the tears started flowing. Right at that point, we all knew she was the exact right person to see us through this journey!
Once at the airport, we had to say good-bye to part of our travel group since some families are heading off to other provinces. They will meet up with us in GZ in about a week.
The flight to GZ was only about 3 hours (hey, after a 12 hour stint this sounds short), but it seemed much longer and it was so uncomfortable. We flew China Southern and it was warm on the plane, no air circulation and I swear the seats were at least an inch narrower than our American seats! I think I got off the plane with the impression of the video controls permanently tattooed on the side of my leg. ;)
We landed about 3:45pm and headed to the Victory Hotel on Shamian Island. The Victory is much smaller than the White Swan, but our room is perfect for a two week stay. There is a large bathroom, a sleeping area and a separate seating area. We are very close to the White Swan and plan on heading over there to check it out and take photos.
Christine, guess what's right around the corner from the Victory's front door?? Yup, Starbucks...I plan on having one tomorrow morning!
By the way, look what was waiting for us in the room...
It's rickety and old, but it's a crib none the less and when I saw it I stopped in my tracks and thought...oh my God, this really is it!
After we checked into the hotel, the group headed over with Alison to the infamous Lucy's for dinner. After dinner some of us were feeling VERY adventurous and took a taxi off the island into GZ to a store called Care Four (sp?). Joe, Karen and I shared a taxi over and had quite an adventure! This place is a Chinese grocery store on steroids. It has three floors and flat escalators for taking your carts up and down the floors. It's packed with everything imaginable and about a million people grabbing at items like it's the last shopping day on earth! I've never seen anything like it. We were the absolute only Caucasians in the building and it was quite obvious by all the staring. It was funny...I think everyone who past us by looked at us since we stuck out like a needle in a haystack. Some people would literally just stop right next to us and stare at us and then look down at our cart to what we were buying. I think we were the entertainment for the evening!
We didn't get back to the room until about 10pm and then unpacked. Poor Joe collapsed in the bed about a half hour ago. I figured I'd catch up on e-mail and get this post out and then try and get some sleep. It's midnight here now and it's only 14 hours until we leave to meet Lauren! I can't believe after all this time tomorrow is our day!!! My head is spinning with SO many questions about Lauren...I can't imagine getting any sleep, but I need to lay down and see if I pass out from pure exhaustion. I won't be any good tomorrow if I don't get at least a few hours of sleep. With that...I'll say good-night!
Not many photos today since it was basically a travel day, but you can check out our hotel room photos here.