I also discovered that there is indeed a Starbucks in the Forbidden City. They don't have a sign hanging in the window any longer, but they have a stand in the gift shop. Here is my picture with the local barista. The presence of the Starbucks has caused many issues in China recently - and part of me understands not wanting such a commercial enterprise in the middle of the Forbidden City. But, if they go would the space be replaced by a Chinese version of Starbucks with barista and coffee? If so, I don't think it matters who it is (although I believe Chinese pride would say yes, it does matter....)
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I wanted to let you know I had a fun time shopping for you yesterday. Gwenn, I got you exactly what you asked for - and Ella, same for you! I love you and miss you, and cannot wait to see you again.
Today I'm going to a Forbidden City, and tomorrow to the Great Big Wall... I will be on my web camera for you tomorrow afternoon, and I'll try one more time before I leave for the day.
Today we'll see Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City. It should be interesting. We also have another family joining us who will be in Fujian with us! That is so great! I hope we all get along as well as the Dynes family and myself...
Well, I actually slept through the full night and woke up with the wake-up call. What a change! I'll write more this afternoon, since we'll be back early!
Well, we have already seen and done so much it's hard to keep track of what we've done.
Today was our day at the Summer Palace, and the Lama Temple.
So the Summer Palace just what it says - the summer palace of the emporer. Think of it as the lake house, in MN speak. That is in the middle picture above. I love the girl posing on the right - with the fake blond curls attached... More comments later. Just pictures to share. I'll write in the morning...
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
After the school we rode on the rickshaws to the Bell Tower. For those who remember me talking about it before, it is the very cool tower at the top of the center of Beijing with the wicked stairs that reach to the sky. Interestingly, getting up wasn't so bad - it was getting down them! Here is a picture of those treacherous stairs. :-)
So - my thoughts on travel today:
- Road rage turns out to be universal. As Beijing (BJ) continues to add cars, this will become more and more of an issue
- I've heard more Christmas music today than I have in the last 4 months. The man on the plane next to me had "Ode to Joy" as his ring tone.
- There seems to be no sun in BJ... just smog/haze/muggy hangover on the city
- They are building at a frightening rate - I have no doubt they will be done, but with hundreds of thousands working 24/7 to get it all done
I'm also tired of seeing my blogger entry in Chinese instead of English... I want my English logon. I'd also like to view my blog, which I can't because it's blocked. I can input, but not view. Lorna - you can screen shot and send to me if you'd like. Also, I can't seem to see comments - or at least, if I can, I don't know it because my input screen is in Chinese. So, apologies to not replying to anyone. Just email me at either address and we'll be good.
It is much more expensive than the last time, although I haven't determined if I think that it is the agency or just Chinese inflation. I'm also sad to say that I don't see the standard 8rmb exchange rate for $1.
Tonight I hope to sleep well. Family - I am going on tours starting at 8:30a here in BJ tomorrow, and if I'm not online when you are, it's because of that. We'll find time and be sure that we can talk on the webcam soon. I miss you all so much girls!
OK. More later I'm sure, but for now, just rest...
Monday, June 25, 2007
So the trip into Guangzhou was great, but long. The first flight into Tokyo was delayed by an hour or so... and I arrived with basically no time for the transfer to the flight to GZ. Thankfully, I made the flight - and so did my luggage. I was able to sleep a big which was great. Sat next to another MS person who was headed to Beijing (BJ) for meetings, and we had a nice time talking. The flight from Tokyo was bumpy and long, and I was glad to be done with it.
When arriving in GZ I had to wait to get the stroller. When they opened the doors to the outside it was like getting hit with a blast from the oven. Gwenn & Ella - you would not believe how hot it was. Imagine if granma made cookies, and you opened the oven - that is how hot it felt.
I know that it was been a few days already for you, but for me it feels like only once since I had such long airplane rides. It is now Tuesday AM, and this afternoon I'll be in BJ.
I was a bit nervous about finding my way to the hotel, when leaving teh customs area, there was Anna waiting for me with my name on a sign! I have to say that the relief of having that waiting for me at 11p at night was comforting. And good thing - it would have been a 10 minute walk in the sauna of GZ, so I was glad for the ride.
The hotel here in GZ (Novotel) is stunning. The hotel has been open for 4 months, and it is spectacular. For $80 a night I can get one of the nicer rooms that I've had in Asia. However, one feature of the rooms is a bit too modern - especially since I was going to have a roomie along! The bathroom walls are glass, so you can see directly into the showers and tub! :-) I was quite glad that it was just me last night, instead of telling someone to turn around for the 20 minutes while I took my shower!
According to my laptop it is now 2:45p on Monday afternoon - but it is already 5:45a Tuesday morning here. I'm a bit too thick to do the math, but I think it is about a 15 hour difference...
I'll write more from BJ, along with some pictures. Miss everyone!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
By Monday night I'll be in Guangzhou and spend the night at the hotel there, and then off to Beijing. Then a couple of days before Fuzhou and Lucy. I'll write more soon!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Packing List for Infants
- Diapers -- purchase according to weight. Some parents bring just a few, some bring many. I brought enough for the whole trip, and when they were used, filled the space in the suitcases with gifts.
- Baby Wipes -- travel pack, or bring half of a big container, and you can pre-pack in Ziploc bags for smaller quantities that are ready to go!
- Formula -- talk with your pediatrician about milk or soy based. I brought a minimal amount, and after the first week slowly started to add it in with the Chinese formula that I bought there. By the time we returned to the US, she was adapted. This time around I'm bringing some to supplement, since it's fairly healthy and Lucy is young enough
- Sippy cups - bringing a bunch of disposable, and 2 of the nice ones...
- Clothes -- up to the parent. However, I brought 2 outfits that I thought would be too small, I brought 8 outfits (mix & match) that I thought would fit, and one outfit that I thought would be too big -- when I got there, I figured out what she wore, and donated the rest to the orphanage. (Also a great outlet for shower gifts that you are less than thrilled with...) We went through 1-2 outfits a day, and did laundry at the hotel -- it was inexpensive and good.
- Baby Bjorn or other carrier -- bring a chest carrier or backpack with you. Strollers can be purchased inexpensively, and rented from many hotels for about $1 a day. However, on my second trip I brought my own stroller, and I will do so again this time.
- Maclaren stroller - best that there is
- Ziploc bags in all sizes (great for stinky diapers that hang out in the hotel wastebaskets
- Cheerios or other baby snacks
- Duct tape (we used it to fix everything)
- Medicines -- see medical resources listed below, and talk with your pediatrician
Medical List of stuff to bring:
- Acetaminophen - Baby Tylenol
- Baby Motrin
- Antibiotic -- prescription, reconstitute in China only if needed
- Elimite -- presciption creme for scabies
- Lotrimin -- for yeast infections & infected diaper rashes
- Vaseline -- for use with an anal thermometer
- Thermometer -- anal under age of 2 (yes, it works!)
- Dosage spoon or syringe -- ask your local pharmacist - they will often give them to you for free, especially when you tell them what it is for!
- Measuring cup for reconstituting medicaitons
- Band Aids
- Hydrocortizone Creme -- 1% under the age of 4; 2% okay over age of 4 (verify with your own pediatrician)
- Alcohol swabs -- for use with an injection
- Syringes -- Check your local laws if you can carry these in the US. (Lara's note: I brought a variety for both Gwenn and myself. My doctor gave me a handful in a variety of sizes -- I felt like an addict, but I was glad to have them -- I did see doc's re-using needles)
- Tongue Depressors -- some places still reuse these, although most medical clinics in
- Guangzhou now give each child a clean one (I brought a handful as well)
- Lice Treatments -- 1% Permethin (Dr. Borcher recommends!) -- others have used RidX
- Benadryl --
- Pedialyte -- there are brands that you can constitute yourself, and that makes your load lighter
- Cipro - for the parents
- Z-Pack -antibiotics for parents just in case
Packing list for older kids:
- Clothes -- 4-5 outfits that you think will fit, 2 outfits that you think will be too big, 2 outfits that you think will be too small -- and then buy more there!
- 1 pair of shoes that you think will fit, and buy the rest there
- Pull-Ups (there may be some regression with potty-trained kids) - Since Lucy is over two, I'll have both diapers and pull ups with me.
- Photo Album from home -- to start getting used to what it will look like!
Toys and Stuff:
- Little backpack for Lucy to put her own "stuff" in
- Coloring books (small) with little crayons
- Board books
- Soft ball
- Stuffed animal
- Nesting cups
Other Stuff to consider:
- Dish liquid
- Oxy for washing clothes in the room
- Cheerios - and bowls to store in
- Books to read, and Sudoku
- Digital Camera, Digital Camcorder, Laptop
- Tide to go pen (to fix those little spots)
- All the documents you can carry
- Money (lots
- Gifts to bring for local officials and orphanage, foster family, etc (about 8)
- Something to put over your eyes so you can sleep when you need to
- Water bottle to keep bottled water in (buy a case in every city you go to on the first day)
My clothes packing list:
- It's in the upper 90's with high humidity. I have 5-6 pairs of capri pants, no shorts and one pair of long jeans for the trip.
- 3-4 pairs of comfy walking shoes. I'm a Privo fan and will have two pair on the trip
- I'm bringing 7-10 loose, comfy t-shirts and about 2 tank tops
- Bathing suit
- One medium weight sweater and two zip hoodies
- One skirt, with spanx... for walking comfort
- Travel Guide - if you don't want the huge book, tear out the section on the places that you will be visiting.
And, it all has to fit into one large suitcase and one small duffel to check, and the backpack to bring on board.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Read more at RainbowKids.com...
Please consider supporting the Evans' family by contacting Senator Pryor's office at http://pryor.senate.gov/contact/ and mentioning the John and Kerri Evans family and asking his help in bringing them, and their legally adopted children, back to Arkansas from Cambodia.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
Ella posing for the camera
Gwenn as the day started out!
Finally - a graduate!
It was hot and sunny. Thankfully, we had lots to drink and do while we waited. The band played, people walked in, there was lots to do and see. The speakers were fine, and moderately motiving. The day was great, but by the end of the day, Gwenn was tired and ready for a long nap! I'll post more graduation pics soon, but wanted to get some up.