Tomorrow is our last day in China, and I can’t believe how quickly the time here has flown. It was wonderful to get back to Beijing last night; after two weeks of constant flux, we felt like we were coming back to something familiar. It’s crowded, hazy, noisy, and a bit intimidating, but I think we were surprised at just how much we like Beijing. We’re taking it easy today, and tomorrow we’re heading to the Beijing Zoo and to the Lama Temple. We’ll be through with the last of our sightseeing in a short 24 more hours, and then we can focus on getting all packed up to go home. I’m a little bit sad that Delta doesn’t take a page out of China Southern’s book and do a plane-wide video-led exercises that promote a harmonious meridian. It’s definitely interesting to see a whole plane full of people doing seated calisthenics right before the plane lands! Maybe Kevin and I will start that trend on the approach to Seattle…..
I would give anything to spend a few more days in Hunan; we were shown incredible hospitality, the food was amazing, and, most of all, it’s where our son’s story began. The five days we were in Changsha are so precious to me, and I’ll always remember every little detail (especially about Chinese WalMart. Dude. I LOVE some Chinese WalMart!!!!). I can’t wait until J is old enough to bring back, and until that day comes, I’ll love telling him the stories of his home province. Also, when we do visit again, Kevin and I will take him back to his home city of Chenzhou. I really wish we could have made that trip this time, but it’s nice to know we have something special to come back to.
Our time in Guangzhou was less fun; doctor’s appointments, shots, a new hotel room (with yet another EXTREMELY hard mattress), no real guide to speak of, and nothing really special to see. We were very fortunate to stay in a hotel located in a VERY Chinese neighborhood; no English speaking people around for miles! There was a maze of side streets lined with every shop imaginable: small grocers, butchers, dumpling shops, shoe shops, bicycle repair, even a whole district selling HazMat gear! No matter what the district, though, there were two constants: There were cigarette shops about every 50 feet, and tea stalls EVERYWHERE!
That was actually very fun, and I was so glad to be able to experience the “real” China. Forget the hutongs of Beijing, or the swanky high-rise apartments in Changsha; the neighborhood surrounding our hotel was definitely the highlight of our time in Guangzhou. Sure, we walked over to Shamian Island, we paid too much for souvenirs (although most of the things were still pretty inexpensive), and we even broke down and ordered Pizza Hut (because really? The food in Guangzhou is NOTHING compared to the food in Hunan!), but again, we were glad to see the city lights of Beijing last night.
We’re taking it easy today; Baby J was up WAY past his bedtime last night, and we’re making sure he gets plenty of naptime to compensate. The Little Man get super F-U-S-S-Y when he hasn’t had his beauty sleep! Soon, we’ll head out for some lunch, and maybe walk to the park around the corner. We’ll be back in the hotel room tonight, and we’ll start to think about packing up (believe me, packing the baby’s bag is a MAJOR undertaking).
Tomorrow will go by in a blur, and we’ll be up before the crack of dawn on Saturday morning. In 48 hours, we’ll be flying somewhere over Siberia, on our way back home. Too soon, our time in China will be a memory; we’ll slowly start to forget the smells and the sounds, and our boy will adjust to his new American life. He won’t remember how much he loves real, authentic (even spicy!) Hunan food, he won’t wake up in the night anymore scared of yet ANOTHER new room, he’ll forget how he first called his Daddy “BaBa”, and he’ll learn to speak with a perfect American accent. I can’t wait to be home and get settled into our permanent family routine (not to mention smooch The Beagle!) but a big part of me is very sad to be leaving this all behind. I know we’ll be back, and Kevin and I will do our very best to teach our child to value his heritage. When we first arrived, I was definitely in a bit of culture shock, but in spite of myself, I have fallen in love with China, and I can’t wait to share that with J as he grows up.