We woke early to finish up last minute packing and eat breakfast before the Lifeline group headed to Shamian Island to do some shopping. The island was beautiful in a very colonial, western sort of way. It was built for foreigners to live during some period of China's history. All the adoptive families used to stay at the hotel there, and all sorts of shops sprang up to cater to them. Then the hotel closed, the consulate moved, and the shopkeepers are closing up because there isn't enough business. So, our guide took us there to help the remaining shopkeepers stay afloat.
If you know me, you know I hate shopping.
I especially hate it in a group, when it is hot, and there is no place to go to the bathroom.
Kaichen goes to the bathroom very frequently after her 11 a.m. meds. I'm so thankful for one shopkeeper who took us back through the shop and through a maze of courtyards of the living areas to a place with a bathroom when we desperately needed it.
The only thing my girl asked for was a pink t-shirt with pandas on it. How could we refuse? We also got a traditional Chinese style dress and a chop (stone stamp with her name in Chinese on it).
We spent most of our time sitting on a bench and eating some crackers while waiting for our group to finish. Then we rode the bus back to the hotel where we had a very short time to put our purchases in the suitcase, use the bathroom and get in our cab to the train station.
Dragging a tired, hungry girl along with all the luggage up escalators, through security and through gates was not pleasant. Fortunately, our guide, Simon, eventually came with Kaichen's visa and helped us check the luggage through to our destination. Once that was taken care of, we had a little time to sit. Claire drank a box of milk and had a few snacks out of my purse. Her friends May and Luke were also at the train station and she was very concerned about where they were every minute.
Finally we got on the train. We were in car 2 and I didn't see where anyone else ended up. We did lots of coloring on the train and had one wetting accident, but it was mostly uneventful. I think Kelly slept most of the way. He was seated in the row ahead of us, so I couldn't see for sure.
We arrived in Hong Kong around 7. We dragged our luggage to the taxi stand line. A middle eastern man came and asked if we would rather go in a big taxi instead of those little red ones. He had a van that looked like you might actually get all our suitcases in it. Kelly asked me what I thought. I said a quick prayer for protection and said, "Let's go for it."
Turned out to be good. Nice, comfortable ride to our hotel and it was cheaper than a regular cab.
We were so exhausted that we ordered room service. It was actually wheeled in on a table with tablecloth and silver covers over our noodles and fried rice. Looked like we were living in a movie.
By this time, my fever was going strong and I was shivering. As soon as we got Claire to bed, we organized luggage for the morning flight and rushed to get our 4 hours of sleep before we had to leave.
The hotel took us to the airport. We flew from Hong Kong to Narita, where we had to go through security again. They didn't like the scroll and it created a tizzy while they checked and rechecked it and asked us questions. Finally, they sent an official to carry it through the airport for us. The people at the gate held it until we boarded the plane. I never did figure out what all the commotion was about. I do know it prevented us from getting any lunch.
No, worries, though. Food on the plane was plentiful. Just the water was in short supply. With a fever, I was really battling dehydration. My nose kept running all the way home. I ran out of tissues, so we started pulling out wads of them from the various bathrooms.
Claire's food was cute. She got child's meals served in cat shaped plates and fun stuff like that. Of course, she wanted whatever I had to eat, so I go child's meals and she had mine. I feel like a real mommy again. Doing whatever it takes to keep the kid content on the plane.
We were so thankful for the individual screens on the back of each seat. She actually liked Mickey Mouse Club. Hurray. She really only slept a couple of hours of the 28 hour travel home.
I'm not sure if this should be DAY 17 or not. When Thursday lasts more than 24 hours, do you get to count it twice?
I'll try to finish our coming home story tomorrow, and add a few pics. Right now, I need to sleep because Claire has finally decided to sleep. It may not last long. She hasn't slept more than a couple of hours at a time since we got home. Last night she was up every 20 minutes. Kelly and I are feeling like we are living in that foggy space you enter when you have a newborn. This too, will pass. But it will pass so much better if I go sleep a few hours.