Before boarding our flight, we decided to grab a bite at a cafe in the airport. At this point, L was on overload, it was past naptime (and boy, is he sleep-scheduled!) so he began to lose it. Just the average-everyday fit--throwing things, not wanting to eat, etc. This is when we met The Smartest Woman Alive. A waitress came over, calmly told him to sit still and she would bring him a treat. The treat turned out to be a plastic plate, a glob of ketchup, and a straw. She showed him how to dip the straw in the ketchup and suck it off the end. She was an angel from heaven, I tell you--this woman was absolutely had his number. He was instantly transfixed, and we were able to have a short meal in peace. The kid loves him some ketchup, that's for sure.
During the flight he played with his seatbelt, although he never undid it, opened and closed the window and his tray a trillion times, went with Baba to the bathroom, and played with a sticker book. He was relatively quiet, fascinated by the experience, and ate most of the meal (yes! a meal on a 2-hour flight!).
It felt strange to leave Xi'an. As we took off, L was watching out the window and said, "Bye-bye!". I teared up a little--I really can't describe how it felt. Our experience in Xi'an was so mixed. We are so proud to have a little Xi'an boy, and the history and culture of the city is strong and rich. I want him to learn about his place of birth and appreciate how much of an impact Xi'an has had on world history. I think we just happened to go at a strange time. The protests had pretty much taken over the city and we were advised not to leave our hotel unless with an official guide. While things were not openly hostile against us in particular, the hotel often kept the lights off in the lobby and big plants in the windows, armed police were everywhere, and protesters chanted and yelled late in to the night, most nights. The yelling into the bullhorn was loud, and the chanting was inexplicably mixed with extremely loud Christmas music (?). Air raid sirens went off most of the day of remembrance, and whenever they went off the government officials would close the windows and shades (we were getting our notary services done that day), and people wore all black for most of the week with red arm bands. I've been to Xi'an before, and absolutely loved it, so I really think it was just strange timing--a highly charged political situation and a difficult anniversary at the same time. Again, nothing was directed at us (that I know of). We definitely felt like we were walking on eggshells, but things overall went well there. We certainly appreciate how hard everyone at the government offices worked to keep us on schedule; they went above and beyond for sure. The fact that we have his passport in hand is testament to their dedication to their work.
When we landed in Guangzhou, we met our guide at the gate, and she led us to four other families from our agency who are all on roughly the same schedule, and who all came from the same province. So it was nice to put some faces to names, and to see some others in our shoes.
Guangzhou feels very different. Our guide here made sure we were checked in, told us our dinner options, and then left us to it. It is far larger, and clearly more cosmopolitan. It's hot and sultry here, and the hotel (Garden Hotel) is gorgeous. We had a yummy local meal, and gave L his first bath. We've been sponge-bathing him as we had hot water intermittently and only a shower in Xi'an, and a cold-ish shower for a kiddo who is afraid of water seemed like a really bad idea. But here, hot water is plentiful and the bathtub is HUGE. He absolutely loved it once I got in with him--we only put about an inch of water with about 5 inches of suds, and slowly added water until he got comfortable. He is fast asleep now, and we are regrouping for the rest of the week.
Tomorrow, we go to the US Consulate where L has to have a medical exam and TB test. We will finish his visa paperwork in the afternoon, and the group will have dinner together in the evening (I think).
And here is another attempt at pictures!
|A nice, clean L|
|At the warriors|