Saturday, April 10, 2010

Good-bye Nanchang; Hello Guangzhou

 Geoff, Grayson, Tess at Bayi Park

Yesterday we spent having a final adventure in Nanchang City,then packing and leaving our daughter's home province to fly to Guangzhou and Shamian Island and the famous White Swan Hotel: This is the end of the line for the pilgrimage of adoptive families. All wind up at the end at the White Swan to get Visa's and have the US consulate formally recognize thier children so they can enter the US. 

Grayson at Bayi Park

Our plane for Guangzhou did not leave until 6:20 pm so we had a day to spend in the city, so we are sailing out of Nanchang with a family adventure under or belts. Geoff led us on a walk to a lake park that he had scoped out the day before. I really wanted Tess to have one last look-smell-feel of her home province. She slept most of the way. The pictures show willow trees bending over a pond with pagodas all around. In this park also there was an amusement park and lots of Tai Chi. The sun came out half way through our sojourn and warmed things up a bit. There were many children's drawings that seemed to have an environmental theme.
 A child's drawing

As usual people stopped us a lot to "chat". People who know a bit of English will come up to us and say hello and ask us where we are from. One young man told us he wanted to go to NYC and was a Yankees fan. We booed the Yankees for him. Geoff is quite impressive in his fast mastery of the Chinese language. If you are reading this Vance, Geoff can tell people that we are Americans and that Tess is Chinese. This gets a basic message across that seems to please most curious on-lookers.
 Old man playing and old man singing at Bayi Park
Old ladies smile and laugh and scold us for under dressing our child. She was wearing tights, shoes, a dress and onesie and riding in a snuggli on Geoff's chest. The children we saw in the park had roughly the equivalent of two snowsuits. They looked like the boy in a Christmas story except, they all wear these split pants...basically bundled to the hilt with their butts waving in the breeze so they can pee or poop wherever they stand.
At noon we headed back to pack and get ready. We were determined not to eat lunch in the hotel, but eat at a restaurant and have an adventure. We picked one at random--most restaurants serve some variation on Chinese food. Geoff knows enough Chinese to order chicken and pork and fried rice. The fried rice is great, but all meat is essentially cut up with bones and fat and is not edible in the same way that the Chinese food we get in the states is. We mostly poured broth over the rice. Jian-Jian ate a lot of fried rice. It has a lot of egg in it so she gets plenty of protein. Grayson ate a power bar.

Crazy Nanchang street
Sidewalks are just suggestions
The final stretch of the adventure was crossing the street. You cannot beleive the traffic and mayhem which fills the city streets. Even the sidewalks frequently have cars, motorbikes and bicycles driving down them. We have been honked at on the sidewalk many times. Cars do not stop and look and enter traffic; they simply enter traffic. Stop lights and lane markers are merely suggestions and the almighty horn rules all. Cars do not stop for people in the street (even in crosswalks) unless they are a massive group. People crossing are wise to cross next to buses as the large busses can block traffic from hitting you. You cannot wait for cars to part to cross. You cross lane by lane and pray that they see you and do not hit you. I finally took Gray and made him hold my hand and left Geoff with Tessa to make his own way. Every warrior princess for herself.

We left the hotel at 4:00 for the trek to the airport and Shamian Island. It is good to be moving on, but at the same time, this bustling, fragrant, dirty, lively, uncomfortable and very friendly city will always be the place where we met Jian-Jian. I waved good-bye to the fine folks at the Galactic Peace Hotel. They took very good care of us.
On the way to Guangzhou


  1. Wait, Geoff knows enough Chinese to communicate that you guys are adopting a Chinese girl and are American? That is UNBELIEVABLE!
    You guys, you look SO HAPPY. I love all these stories. The gold women taking your photos, the chickens, the American enclave last stop, you guys booing the Chinese fan of the Yankees (WAIT - you booed the Yankeeeeeeeeees????? Who did you tell him to cheer on. Are you trying to change the cultural mores of poor Chinese loving-baseball fans? The poor guy probably got all his nerve up to talk to you and was CRUSHED that you were anti-Yankees.
    I love the stories about the Chinese people scolding you for how you dress Tessa - hey, I'm with them, dress her more warmly! - but then again, I had to wear my coat and hat to bed in your house.
    By the way, may I say, once again, what a freaking gorgeous child Tessa is? Not that I want it to be all about looks - have to make sure not to be perceived as sexist here - I can already tell also that she is a total charismatic attention-grabber, a cool kid. We're going to bond. And she and Coco must meet soon so that they can commiserate and complain about their parents when they're teenagers.
    xoxo Andrea (half Yankees, half Red Sox fan, but not draconianly religious about either (obviously))

  2. Love the suggested sidewalk shot!