If we do this again we will be sure not to get a room by he elevators. What seemed great initially has become a nightmare. Every night, at all hours, people come and go. Last night it sounded like a convention was taking place outside our room. Jenn and I both woke up and looked at our clocks. 1:15. 15 minutes of non stop Cantonese. In he morning we saw a cigarette butt outside the elevator doors. No smoking is more of a suggestion than a dictate in China.
At 6 AM Penelope was up. Perfect timing. We had to be downstairs for breakfast early this morning. By 6:30 we were in the Cafe Veranda, signing in, loading Penelope into her high chair, her hunger renewed after a restful nights sleep. At least one of us was undisturbed.
Breakfast was the usual give and take. Jennifer giving Penelope food and Penelope taking it. Her attention to what she’s eating derailed by the sight of what she wants next. If she is eating an orange don’t get out a yogurt. If you do the remainder of the orange is ignored and the new yogurt latched onto like a mothers breast. On and on for 30 minutes.
We rushed back to the room, changed her diaper, brushed our teeth, and headed back downstairs to meet the members of our group to visit the consulate. I slept on the bus as we rode over, waking just moments before we arrived. A long line of Chinese waited to get a number to get inside to apply for a Visa to visit the States. Our guide took us past the lines and right in, giving us detailed instructions. Once we passed security he could not proceed with us.
We went through security and headed up an escalator to the 5th floor. Winding our way through a maze of roped corridors led us to the Adoption section, where several families sat with their new children, wanting nothing more than for this to be over. A woman behind glass spoke through an intercom to lead us through the oath. Once we swore something, I can’t even remember what now, we sat down and waited for our children’s names to be called. In short order I was at the window while Jenn watched Penelope play in a child’s plastic cabin. Play was interrupted briefly when the official needed to verify Penelope’s likeness with the passport photo. Moments later I signed a document and was done. Jason, our CCAI rep, will pick up Penelope’s passport and visa tomorrow. We are done. And thrilled it’s over.
Penelope may not have had as good a nights sleep as we thought because she was cranky on the bus ride back, merely falling asleep standing up. We decided we would take her to the pool and eat lunch. It was only 10:30 and taking a nap so soon may be a problem later.
She enjoyed the pool time but soon wanted to run around the pool instead of sitting at the edge splashing her hands and feet in the water. I held her in a deck chair while Jenn got a towel. Her little body fought, swinging legs and arms in an attempt to escape from me. The more she fought the closer I held her, increasing her frustration. Jenn made it back, relieving the other swimmers from hearing Penelope’s cries.
Back I our room Penelope washed away her tears, trying to capture the water pouring from the faucet while Jenn and I tried to hold her in place. Both were a constant struggle.
After a lunch of hard boiled egg, yogurt, and peanut butter crackers Penelope and I took naps. Jenn went down to Starbucks to get me a coffee. The barista recognized Jenn.
“Yes” Jennifer said.
“We don’t have. Try white tea?”
She tried it and didn’t care for it. I know we’ve had white tea before and she liked it. I wonder what they are serving here? Probably Lipton. That’s all we see around here. When you order tea with meals, you get two Lipton bags in a tea pot. And loose green tea is more expensive in the parts of China we have been to than in the States. That may be the biggest surprise of the trip yet.
As I write this I am a bit disoriented. Since we took our first elevator ride to our room on the 12th floor I have experienced a constant disruption in my equilibrium. The other day Jenn felt it too. How can we have flown thousands of miles without a problem only to be bested by an elevator?
Penelope took a 3 hour nap, during which we read, talked, and packed. “One more full day” we keep saying to each other. When Penelope awoke we wandered the hotel to get her moving. She loved climbing the stairs leading to the Japanese restaurant we ate tonight. Jenn and I had to stay by her side as she made her way up the curved stone passageway. We also needed to get her hands washed after having them all over the ground.
We were meeting 2 of the other families at said Restaurant later in the evening. Since Jenn and I were both hungry we stopped by the Cafe Veranda for salad and spaghetti. It was a cheap delicious meal that would get us through the next 2 hours until we had sushi. Penelope ate her fair share. I’m still wondering if we can afford to feed this girl! She must think she has to have something in her mouth to breathe.
We had a terrific meal with the other families. Jeremy and Mindy adopted a precious little girl named Ru, half Penelope’s size and 11 months younger. They also have a 3 year old from China, Moon. Moon was terrified of the masks lining the entrance to the dining area, crying and screaming, finally taking her parents advice to cover her eyes. That seemed to work. She was concerned the masks were behind her while she was eating. Mindy event went out to touch them, proving they were harmless. Penelope paid no attention to all this, we thought it was amusing and cute.
The sushi was terrific. Penelope had noodles in what we were convinced was a beef broth with egg. She ate the entire bowl of noodles. After the meal we were unexpectedly treated to small scoops of the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had. I let Penelope try mine. After that it was a struggle for me to get a bite. She insisted they were all for her. Jenn meanwhile got to enjoy her ice cream in peace.
Tomorrow we to to the park across the street from the hotel. We’ve taken about 20 gigs of photos and video and are nearly out of memory. Hopefully there will be enough for the next two days. We get Penelope’s visa back tomorrow. Tomorrow. That will be the word on our lips tomorrow. “Tomorrow”.