Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hutong Tour

Good Afternoon from China and Our last full day in Beijing.

We had our favorite breakfast this morning at 6 and then met our group at 8:30. We went to the middle of Beijing to have a Hutong Tour. Kory and I loaded up in a Rickshaw for the tour and it was just wonderful. We were taken up and down little roads in an area called Hutong, which are an old fashioned way that the Mongolian people used to live. For some years these areas were knocked down and big buildings put up in place. However, the Chinese Government soon realized the loss of this special way of life and began to preserve some of these areas. Basically, they are narrow roads with small areas of courtyards and areas where people live. These homes have no private bathrooms and can only use public restrooms. My favorite part of the tour, was feeling like we were able to peek at the way some Chinese live. There were dogs out and about and families just sitting peeling beans and chatting. The best part was seeing the babies and small kids in their split pants. So cute! We were invited into a Hutong and it was just beautiful. There were Pomegranate Trees and Chinese Date trees, squash growing way up high, roses and other plants and trees, all nestled in the courtyard of this old building. The man who grew up in this Hutong let us in his sitting room and shared some of his family photos with us. It was truly very special. We learned that Pomegrate trees were favored by the chinese as they have many seeds and they believe the seeds bring favor to have sons.

We left there and went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. These were very nice to see but it was so hot and very crowded it was a bit difficult to fully enjoy the tour. We walked about 2 1/2 hours in the heat and with little shade and only an occasional breeze. The buildings were beautiful. We will share more pictures later, but for some reason our camera is acting up. So the pictures we have been sharing are from our phones of all things!

I am so glad we read up before traveling, I have managed to avoid the squatty potty's by remembering a tip I read, which was to look in each stall and the last ones very well could be western style toilets. So far this has been true:)

We are going to take a nap and get ready for dinner with Ekin's family tonight. They are picking us up at 6 at our hotel and taking us to a Manchurian Hotpot place for dinner. We need to also prepare for our early departure to Nanning. We need to be in the hotel lobby at 5:30 am and our flight is at 7:20. We should arrive at 10:20 am in Nanning and our guide Mary will be meeting us and getting us settled before we meet Hattie.

We are getting excited about the next and real reason for this journey to China. We prepared the last bits of our paperwork last night in the business area of our hotel. We had to make copies on Chinese Legal paper. We will have now not only receive Hattie but start the real work of our trip as well. we have paperwork and many appointments to do the whole rest of the trip to deal with the business side of our adoption.

Our guide here in Beijing told us she was from Nanning and we should buy Sea Pearls and a Love Ball for Hattie so she has something special from her Province. We were happy to have the inside scoop from a local.

In case we don't get a chance to write again tonight, our next post will be from Nanning and most likely will be of us with Miss Hattie! We know tomorrow may be a very rough day and we are as prepared as we can be. We are ready to parent in a way we don't normally, that is BRIBE. We have lollipops and banana puffs and a huge box of Multi- grain cheerios as well as toys and we are ready to pull it all out to help Hattie cope and adjust. I am most afraid that she will come to us upset as she most likely will be picked up from her foster family by the orphanage director and then in a car for two and a half hours to meet up with white people. All of which are probably new for her, say your prayers!

Hayden and Culley, we are thinking of you often. We think of you, Culley, especially when we see huge platters of watermelon! Also, Culley, you would be all over the babies here, they are just darling. Hayden, there is a little boy here with his parents who is your age. He has taken to showing me the things he has purchased with his spending money here in China. He made a point to watch for us at breakfast today to show us the nesting Panda's he bought that he thinks you would like....What do you think of the pictures? Tomorrow, we will get your little sister! We will show her pictures of you both and then she will be excited about seeing her very own forever brothers.

Time for a nap.

Thanks for all the emails, we just love reading them! Just to help you all understand (we can't figure it out and we are here!!!) We should meet Hattie Monday at 3 a.m. Traverse City time.

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