Friday, August 26, 2011

day 13

Day 13. Travel Day. We'd all rather forget this day.

Any travel day in China is trying. Yesterday was no exception. Can't even remember when the troubles started. Oh, I do. Yes, it was at the check-in counter at the airport. We had seven suitcases plus a rolling computer bag, Andy's backpack, my purse, a stroller that doesn't steer anymore and is literally falling apart due the number of miles we've logged on it, and Hope. We expected to check six of our seven suitcases (two per person) and were told that for domestic China flights you are only allowed to check one bag. So we had to decide if we should pay the extra money to check the three bags or not. We decided we'd just carry them on because they were "small" enough to count as a carry on. Well, "just carry them on" turned into a nightmare. I couldn't push the stroller b/c it doesn't steer. And Andy was stuck having to carry/roll/fumble with four suitcases, his backpack and the computer bag. We had to go up stairs, escalators, through security, and felt like we walked those bags to Guangzhou. Then we finally got to the gate and the fight was delayed b/c of thunderstorms.

By then Hope has had it so we let her out of her stroller. Mistake, but what's she going to do? Sit in a stroller for hours at the airport and then sit for a 3 hour flight and an hour drive to the hotel? So we let her run around like a crazy girl at the airport thus attracting even more attention to ourselves. We're used to being stared at so it half way didn't bother us. But the other 50% of us was still annoyed by it. They finally announced that our flight was leaving and I begged and pleaded to be seated first so we could bypass the hundreds of people standing, pushing and shoving their way into line to get on the plane. We were allowed to go to the premiere/business class/priority seating line only to find ourselves walking down the tarmac to an elevator that leads outside to a tram/bus-like thing. We stood there while the bus was literally jam-packed with people and then drove to the plane which was on a completely different side of the airport. Then we had to lug all of our stuff out of the bus-thing and up a huge rolling metal staircase on to the plane. As we were trying to get off the bus-thing we were literally pushed and shoved and pushed again by every single person. Hope got pushed away from us, Andy was struggling to maneuver the 4 suitcases, computer bag and backpack and not one person had even a tiny bit of pity on us. Not one. Then we were staring at a staircase that was literally impossible for us to get up with all of our things. It was still raining and the stairs were metal and all slippery and it took all my effort to get Hope up the stairs without her falling. I dropped the stroller in front of about 5 or six airport employees that were all staring at us and figured one of them would eventually have to pick it up and follow me. One did. I don't know how Andy physically got the rest of the stuff on the plane but he did.

By the time we sat in our seats we had had our fill of crowded China and seriously did not know how we were going to make it here another week. But we had no choice so on it was to Guangzhou. Hope did fine for a while but just as she was about to fall asleep, I'm talking like she was on her last blink or so before she was out, they started serving food and she spotted it. Nap delayed. Lovely. She did eventually fall asleep and would have been out for the rest of the flight but they required that all the window shades be opened during the last 30 minute descent. We opened her window, the sun shined directly in her face, she woke up not really ready to be awake and started screaming and yelling. We didn't know what she was saying but it was pretty clear she wanted the window shade down. We were told it had to stay up and I was thinking, "Who really needs to see out this window? The pilot? Come on. Give the girl a break and let me close it." After about fifteen minutes of ear piercing screaming, we moved her away from the window and she settled down.

After the shoving/pushing/we almost lost Hope episode on the bus-thing, we had decided that when the plane arrived in Guangzhou we'd wait until every single person was off the plane before we even stood up to get our things. If we were pushed and shoved one more time, Andy and I may have both lost it. So we were the last ones off and we casually left the plane. As we were about 1/2 to the baggage claim, Andy realized that he's one suitcase short. He couldn't remember if he carried three or four bags on the plane and he only had three at the time. By this time I can't remember either. So he runs back to the plane but it's left and the short story is that someone must have found it b/c it was at the baggage claim. We actually get to baggage claim just as the airport security people were loading our bags onto the "unclaimed luggage" cart. Catastrophe avoided.

Then it was nearly an hour drive to our hotel. We walk in our room and it is small. Way too small. Like you can't even walk around the bed, there is barely room for us to get our luggage in the room, and Andy and I don't say a word. But I almost cry. We decide to postpone the "what are we going to do and how are we going to live in here for a week" discussion until after we eat. We go to The Cow and Bridge restaurant which was our favorite restaurant in Guangzhou from two years ago. We walk in expecting to see other adoptive families, but no. The place is empty. Literally empty. Hope is done with sitting of any kind and is a handful to control. We go back to our hotel and decide we have to get a larger room. So we get all of our luggage moved to a bigger room. But not before Hope knocks a glass off the bathroom sink, shattering it all over the bathtub. Joy. To. The. World. Is all I can sing to myself to keep myself sane.

We get Hope ready for bed and we think she'll just crash. But no. We're trying to unpack and get things out for the next day and figure she'll eventually get tired of watching us and fall asleep. I called to get an extra bed sheet to lay over the couch b/c I'm dying to sit down on a couch, not a bed or a hard office chair which is all I've been able to sit on for two weeks. I have germ issues and like to cover any upholstered chair or couch in a hotel room with a sheet. Call me crazy. I know. I am. Anyway, I get the sheet delivered and Hope sees me lay it over the couch and she starts whining and then crying and then screaming and crying. We realize or think we figured out that the white sheet reminded her of the white comforter that she used to sleep with in Beijing. The room here has a brown blanket which was fine for her until she saw the white sheet. So I call housekeeping again and ask for an extra comforter like the one on our bed that Hope is now trying to pull off the bed. The lady doesn't understand me so I ask for the housekeeper to just come here so I can point and tell her what I need. The housekeeper comes bearing a "comforter"...a brown blanket like the one Hope won't even touch by now. Andy and I are like, "Seriously? Can things get any harder?"

Why, yes they can. We take the second brown blanket b/c there is no way to communicate what we really need. I point and touch and show the housekeeper the white comforter on our bed. She doesn't understand or just won't give us another one. So on to our next issue, we have to get Hope to sleep. Andy ends up having to lay with her on the floor so she settles down. But since she went to sleep that way she wants him there whenever she wakes up, which happens to be several times during the night/morning, I lost track. It was a long night. I'm talking l-o-n-g night.

And thus ends our Day 13. We survived. But, really, we had no choice but to survive. So no awards for us. And absolutely no pictures from the day. The camera stayed hidden in one of the four suitcases that Andy lugged around Beijing/Guangzhou. It never saw the light of day.

Sneak peek: Day 14 has been better. Much better!