Sunday, June 27, 2010

Days 1 - 3, We Are In China!!!

Friday, June 25 - Sunday, June 27
We are here (short version)!
~Left South Dakota
~Got to Los Angeles on time
~Met with Nana F. at LAX
~Got on our 15 hour flight to Guangzhou, China
~Diverted to Haikou, China because of bad weather
~Sat on the tarmac for 2+ hours
~Finally made it Guangzhou
~Missed our connecting flight to Beijing
~Booked onto a later flight
~Finally made it to Beijing
~Arrived at our nice hotel
~Walked around outdoor market area
~Ladybug fell asleep during our walk
~Ladybug lost a shoe
~Daddy walk back to find shoe
~Daddy got picked up be 2 hookers
~Enjoyed a little dinner
~Went to bed

We are here (long version)!
We are in China! After nearly 48 hours of travel from our home in South Dakota, we finally made it to our destination of Beijing. There were a few stumbles along the way, but we are here now with smiles on our faces. Wow, it feels so amazing to be here, again.

We started our journey on Friday morning. A dear friend, Stacy, was kind enough to drive us to the airport. Once there we were told that because our domestic and international tickets were not purchased on the same ticket but instead purchased separately, once we arrived in Los Angeles we would have to go to baggage claim, get our bags, take them to the ticket agent and then go back through security. Last time we were able to check our bags straight through to Beijing, so this little extra jaunt was not something I was looking forward to on this journey (especially when you compare our little airport and its tiny security line with that of LAX… yuck!). But, there was nothing we could do so we forged forward.

Our two flights to LAX were uneventful. The Ladybug and I sat together on both flights while daddy sat elsewhere on the plane. Apparently getting three seats together was just not in the cards for us. When we arrived in LAX, we grabbed our bags and walked over to the international terminal where my mother, (Nana F.) was eagerly awaiting our arrival. It was so good to see her again since it had been a year since we had last been together. She immediately scooped up the Bug and gave her tons of hugs and kisses, as only Nana’s can do.

Our flight to China was scheduled to leave LAX at 11:30 p.m., which is a wonderful flight to take because it gives us the opportunity to sleep through much of the flight. However, our flight from Salt Lake City arrived in LAX at around 4:30 p.m. so that meant that we had about 6 hours to kill until the plane started boarding. We found a nice place at the airport to eat dinner, then eventually checked in and made our way through security… again. Unfortunately, our thoughts of meandering through little shops here and there in the terminal to kill a little time were quickly dashed right after walking through the security checkpoint. As soon as we rounded the corner all we saw was a long corridor with gate numbers and seats. Nothing else, nada! Well, except for a few vending machines that is. Pretty darned boring, especially compared with the rest of LAX which hosts several shops and restaurants of varying cuisine in each terminal. So, a note to anyone planning to fly through LAX, if you are going to use the international terminal, make sure to enjoy a nice meal and enjoy the shops before you go through security, otherwise you are in for a very boring time.

We did eventually make it onto the plane and into our seats. The Ladybug was so excited to find the “purse” that she received in her seat pocket, filled with perfect “pursey” items: a comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, lip moisturizer, ear plugs, and an eye cover to allow you to sleep in complete darkness. There items as well as a pair of slippers are given to the passengers to make their flight a bit more enjoyable. The little girl squealed with excitement upon finding these wonderful little treasures. As far as she was concerned, this was already starting off as the best trip in the world, apparently it doesn’t take much to please a four year old.

The flight to Guangzhou was perfectly uneventful… that is, until we were almost to our destination. About 30 minutes before we were to land, the stewardess came over the PA and announced that due to some severe weather in Guangzhou we would have to circle the city for a little while to wait for permission to land. We did just that for about 45 minutes when the stewardess again came over the PA and announced that the weather had not changed so our plane was being diverted further south to Haikou “International” Airport to refuel and wait for further instructions. Now, I put the international part of the airport’s name in quotes because I have always thought an international airport to be a vast area that is great hub of excitement. I also thought that once there, if the weather in Guangzhou did not change, that we possibly might hop on another plane which would take us to our destination of Beijing. So, as we flew into Haikou and I saw that the airport was smaller than our dinky airport in Rapid City, and I knew that all of my previous ideas of international, jet-setting airports, as well as taking another plane to our destination were quickly squashed.

The airplane was refueled, quite quickly I might add, but because of the lingering terrible weather in Guangzhou we continued to sit, and sit, and sit. The ladybug didn’t care in the least about the wait since she found a friend about her age whose parents were also adopting a second child from China. The pair of girls became instant friends and were inseparable as they giggled their way around the cabin. Finally, after about two hours of waiting the captain received the go-ahead from the tower that we could return to Guangzhou and land. Looking back on this moment we do find it rather funny that the first hours of the Ladybug’s return to her homeland were spent in a tin can further south in China than we had ever expected to go. We couldn’t even get off the plane, but all is well!

We finally made it to Guangzhou, but because of our three hour delay we missed our connecting flight to Beijing. We were given seats on a later flight, rushed through the transfer station at the airport and then to our departing flight. Fortunately, the last leg of the trip to Beijing was completely uneventful, so we made it safely to our first destination city. So, after 42+ hours of travel I can finally say that we are in Beijing, China!!!

Our guide took us to the hotel where we have two adjoining rooms. The Ladybug acted like she had just arrived at Disneyland. She squealed with excitement at every nook and cranny in our rooms. The bathrooms, the couch, the beds, and even the closet. At one point she opened the closet and exclaimed, “Look, they even gave us dresses!!!” She happened to be referring to the robes that were given to us to use while staying at the hotel, but I do love the bug’s idea that they are “dresses” that the hotel “gave” to us.

We are staying at a very nice hotel that is walking distance to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, as well as a wonderful outdoor shopping area called Wang Fu Shopping Street. To help ourselves acclimate to the time change we decided to wander down to the shopping street and wander around a little bit and find a bite to eat for dinner. We wandered in and out of a few shops during our stroll, but the Ladybug by that point was just tuckered out, and understandably so… we had been going (off and on) for about 48 hours. So, we opted to forgo eating out on our first night and instead order in some food and eat in our jammies.

On the walk back to the hotel the Bug fell asleep in Daddy’s arms. All was well until we realized that the Ladybug had lost one of her flip-flops on the walk home, and since she was asleep she didn’t realize that it had slipped off her foot. As we waited patiently in our rooms, Daddy tracked our path back to the shoe. On his way, two over-zealous women walked up to him and started talking. They asked him where he was from and if he was here on vacation. He mentioned that he was here to adopt a baby girl, just hoping that information would be enough to make them realize that he wasn’t interested. Didn’t work. They asked if he wanted to join them for drinks and dancing. He answered no, he was looking for a shoe that his other daughter had just lost on our way back to the hotel (again hoping they would get the hint). Nope! They eagerly offered to help him search for the missing shoe, and looped their arms around his and forged forward. He immediately un-looped his arms, feeling dumb-founded that this was even happening to him while on an innocent mission to search for a lost shoe. He brushed them off and “kindly” told the ladies that his wife and daughter were waiting at the hotel and he needed to go. The pair finally took the hint and let him go, whereupon he immediately found the shoe and returned to the hotel. The day ended with some room-service pizza and an amazing shower to wash off 2 days worth of grime.

Not a bad start to our journey to the Far East:
Too many flights, a few delays, new friends, a nice hotel, and an interesting conversation with a couple of local “ladies.” Cool! Cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us!



JESF....... said...

Hey Bailey!!! I was so shocked to see you post on FB!! I'm glad you got there safely...I'm so excited for you and your family and I will be following every step you take and then some...Take care! Looking forward in your ventures!!!!!


asian~treasures said...

Sounds like an eventful start to a marvelous journey! Can't wait to read more!

Sheri, David, Micah & Adria

Dan and Karen said...

Hi Bailey!

So glad to hear you arrived safely in Beijing, although through the adventureous method! :)

Can't wait to follow you through your entire journey!


Andrea Olson said...

What a journey! Have a wonderful time in Beijing!

Anonymous said...

Hey sooo glad to hear that you guys made it safely! I was thinking about you this whole weekend while on your trip!I'm so excited for you guys! I can't believe you guys are already so close to getting her!

Alex Fallon

Coco said...

Been thinking about you guys! I just can't believe you are there again!!!! Is it a little strange to be back? Wish we were with you! Have a great trip...


Kelly Treesh said...

Thank you for the update! Oh my, what a first 48 hours!! LOL Tell everyone hello for me and know I am anxiously awaiting the next post! ;-) HUGS from Florida!!!

Yoli said...

Loving the pictures!!!

Jinji's parents said...

Oh my! Glad you made it.

Courtney said...

So glad to hear you guys arrived safely.