After we checked in, the guide took us to a bank to get our money exchanged for our payments over the next 5 days. The bank was such an interesting place. Kind of like the us post office, but a little more scary! Wow....this has been quite an experience already and I have barely started!
So we have the night to do what we want and tomorrow I meet in the lobby at 2:15 my time. I am 13 hours ahead of you, so about 1:15 in the morning for you all on Sunday. That is when they will take me to get Josh. I will receive him and then head off to a place to have his picture taken to start his passport process. That will take 5 days and some more paperwork to accomplish and then we can leave to go to the next stop to have the US embassy finish out our process. We had thought we would get Josh in the AM tomorrow, but it looks like 1/2 of the people get their children in the Am and I am in the afternoon group to go! Whatever...at this point...I have waited this long...another few hours won't kill me!
Yeah....ok...so my night was quite an experience. I decide that I am going to take a cab to a local buying center so that I can get Josh a few toys and maybe some sweat pants and a few thing for myself? Hmmm...so I go down stairs and the front desk writes where I want to go on a piece of paper and also the place I am staying...all in Chinese Characters...so that I can hand it to the driver so he can get me there and then I can hand it to him again on the way back to assure I get home. SEems easy enough? Right?
I get in the cab just fine and the shopping center is much farther away than I had expected. The cab driver gets me there alive after almost running over about 10 pedestrians and 5 bike riders like squirrls.....and he drops me off right in the middle the busy street. He just stops the cab and says - ok! and that meant hand me the money and get out quick!!! So I jump out and start running...I almost get run over myself.... running in front of cars and buses, and bikes ...in order to get across the street. But I make it.
I walk into the shopping center. And there are so many people I can hardly find a square inch to fit into. I find my way to the toy section and pick out the toys I want to buy. Aa lady comes to me and starts yelling in Chinese....have no idea what she was saying. She takes the toys from me and starts pointing in a direction. I try and communicate that I am not sure what she is saying but I do want to buy the toys. I get out money...and she keeps yelling. So I put the stuff down and then try and hand her the money again? nothing...she is still mad and I just don't know what to do. I see other people picking things up and giving money to other ladies...but she is not taking my money? So I just say forget it? I then head to the grocery section. The lines are so long that it will take me at least an hour to buy some fruit for Josh? Yeah...need to get the heck out of this place.
I am the only American in the whole building and there are thousands of people all around me. Everyone yelling and buying...but I realize that I am out of my league here and I just need to get back to the hotel. So after 20 min I find my way to the door. I get outside and realize that getting a cab home will be much more of a challenge because I am not in front of a hotel with a nice bell boy to help me. I try one corner and after 15 min, no cab. So I cross the street again...danger all the way...dodging people and bikes and cars.....
Now I am situated at another corner..and no cab? All of a sudden I see a cab that is driving in the middle of the street and it had no peopele in the back. That was my cab darn it...so I run into the moving traffic...running along side of the moving cab....holding out money....yelling...I NEED A RIDE!! the guy stops....sort of.....I open the door and jump in. This all took approximately one full block of running WITH the traffic to keep up with him. I give him the card and sure enough...I am back in the hotel! Aghhhh...I am never leaving again. I have had no dinner, got not shopping done...and cant' even tell you why I thought this was a good idea. I don't care what food costs in this hotel...I swear....I am never leaving again...when I am not with my group!
I just got off the phone with room service and I have a very expensive piece of chicken coming to my room in 20 min! Yeah!!! I need food...and I need sleep! ha ha ha....Oh my....I am soo appreciating the ability to just go to Walmart and pick up a toy to buy? How will I ever get a toy for Josh? I hope a guide will help me later this week or maybe another family that somehow was able to master the system?
And one more story from my shopping center expereince this evening. While I was still in the store, I had to ride from floor to floor in a people mover. When I first got on, there was a family in front of me that had a little girl with them She was about 1. She was very interested in me and kept smiling and waving to me. So I waved back. And at that point, about 20 people all came around me....standing and smiling....one lady started touching my hair. And the mom held out the little girl as if she wanted me to hold her? I of course said no, but I waved back to her and smiled and made a silly face. she laughed back at me. Just then the people mover came to a and and I quick walked away! The kid was cute and the people were nice, but what the heck was all of that? So crazy! It was at that point that I headed to the open door and started the cab finding situation that I just described!
All the words on the buildings are written in English...but no one understands English here. No one is American. I don't expect people here to talk english any more than I expect people in ferenandina beach to speak Mandarin....but In Beijing, there were some Americans...No all over...but you could always find one or two no matter where we were. You could find people there that spoke english pretty easy. It was very obvious to me tonight that we are just in a different kind of place now!! I learned a valuable lesson tonight and I will not make those mistakes again!!! I wonder how everyone Else's night went? I can't wait to hear tomorrow. Not sure I will share my evening with the general public? They may think I am just a whimp that could not handle her first day out in the big city! And they would probaby be right! This one, however, can just stay here on blog land for friends and family to read! ha ha ha
This whole traveling alone thing is REALLY sucking tonight. ha ha ha ha!! Oh well...all worth it! So I'll have the real goods tomorrow when I post photos of Josh. I know one of the guides will take photos for me. THey seem very nice.
I have attached a few photos of our trip here and the hotel that I am in.
Aghhh....my anxiety is so high...I cant' wait to go to sleep so that tomorrow comes!!! More soon! I love you all so much! Thank you again for your awesome notes! Still no word as to when/if we can go to the orphanage! I'll keep you posted!!
And by the way...this is the best darn chicken I have ever eaten!!!
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