Friday, March 23, 2007

Our Journey (Part 6)

Jess is starting to hold the bottle on her own.

Across the street from our hotel in Jinan, was the Shandong Science and Technology Museum. We visited it one morning and had a great time. It cost $5.00 for the 3 of us to go (Jess was free). One of Jason's favorite parts was a ride he and Mike took in a shuttle replica.

This is a statue of a man, Wan Hu, who tried to fly by attaching 47 rockets to an armchair at the end of the 14th century. He hoped to fly to the moon but was obviously unsuccessful. Mike and Jason had heard about him on Mythbusters.

The world's first earthquake predictor. It was designed by Zhang Heng of the Eastern Han Dynasty in AD 132. When an earthquake occurs, the tremor would trigger a heavy pendulum inside the urn so that it presses on the jaw of the dragon facing the epicenter and causes it to drop the ball from its mouth into the mouth of the toad sitting below. This would indicate that an earthquake had taken place and the direction of its source.

There were models of some very strange fish. This is a mola which can grow to 3 meters.

There was a slanted house in the museum that was the oddest feeling. You felt like you'd fall while walking through it. The metal ball by Jason was rolling upward.

Our last night in Jinan, the Goulds and we took our guide, John, out for dinner. He asked the hotel manager for a recommendation and we went to a place that was nearby. We ordered 5 plates of food, 2 sprites, 3 bottles of beer, and several bowls of rice and noodles and it came to $30! Jason tried fried leaves and shrimp. He didn't like either. I tried fried leaves and some sort of candied sweet potato. I liked the fried leaves but wasn't too thrilled with the sweet potato.

This is the hotel nearby that Jason liked to watch the colors change on at night. The purple was his favorite. It was hard to catch the colors because they are constantly moving.

It was sad leaving Jinan. I really enjoyed this area. When I'd looked for it on the internet, there wasn't much to be found. There really is much more to do in the area than is advertised. I am so happy that we got to experience it.

Jess's first airplane ride! We didn't buy her a seat since she's under 2. You can see Jason's Gameboy in his hand. He ended up dropping it or forgetting it somehow which made for some long nights at the end of the trip. We got off and met our new guide, Daniel. Sharon and Dan weren't there yet so we went on the van and another guide met us at the hotel to help us check in. Our room wasn't ready yet so we had to go to the bar and wait. I was a bit irked but we got a couple of free drinks.

We finally got to our room which was nice. It's a lot smaller than the suite we had in Jinan, of course, but still nice. Our room looks out onto the street with all of the shops. I saw Sharon and Dan with their daughter Keira - so cute!! Jess was in a whiny mood so I hung in our room for a while.

My favorite statue. It shows the female progression from ancient times to traditional to modern. It's located at the top of the street near Lucy's.

Daniel took us sightseeing and we saw finger and palm pictures being made. The artist makes amazing pictures using his fingers, palms and sides of his hands - no brushes. It reminded me a little of the graffiti artist we saw in Vegas.

This man can write with both hands simultaneously. He can also paint with his feet. He composed a couplet using Jess and Jason's names.

This is where we ate most of our meals. The first night we ate at the hotel buffet and spent over $100. That was a bit much, especially considering Jason eats so little. At Lucy's, we ate American friend chicken (what we would call Chinese restaurant style chicken fingers), sweet and sour chicken, vietnamese style egg rolls, and satay. Jason got 2 orders of rolls each time and some corn. The inside is decorated with American movie stars. There's a park right before it where women exercise in the morning and kids play in the afternoon. We saw some young adults playing hackysack.

My favorite picture at the White Swan. I loved the waterfall. I tried to get some pictures of Jess near it but we must have been taking too long, because one of the lobby guards came over and told me we couldn't stay there (sitting near edge of wall). I have to say that I find the atmosphere much more stuffy and cold than either Beijing or Jinan - rather disappointing. If we come back to China with Jess later and come back to Guangzhou, I think we may try out the Victory.

The Red Couch Picture - most adoptive families take a pic on the famous red couch. The kids were all dressed in traditional clothing. Jess was upset because I hadn't brought her anything to eat and the others had crackers. She attempted to steal Keira's right out of her hand!

There was another park nearby with the swings that Jason likes. I tried them out - they're harder than they look!!

We visited the Guanzhou Zoo. I enjoyed watching the bears. There were two cubs who were playing with each other and were so adorable!

This sign was outside several of the animals' cages. Amazing that people need to be told to stay out of a lion's cage.

Couldn't resist a cute picture of my "joeys".

Our last day in Guangzhou we went to the consulate for a swearing in ceremony. We were quite thrilled to find western toilets upstairs (squatty potties were on the first floor). We waited in line for one last look-over by government workers and then all stood together to swear that we would take care of our children. Afterward, everyone else in our group went to the airport with Daniel. We went back to the White Swan. Daniel seemed very stressed over the fact that we were returning on our own and would be catching the shuttle to the train the next day. We assured him we'd be fine and we were. How hard it is to watch for a van that says "White Swan" on it?

And We're Off

The next morning, we ate breakfast and packed. We caught the 9:30 shuttle to the train station with no problem. Our train seats were great. We had 4 facing each other in 2's and no one was in the 4th seat. There were some delays due to construction but we still made good time.

When we got to the train station in Hong Kong, we took a van to the hotel. When the driver told Mike he could sit up front, Mike went to get in on the right side of the car - wrong!! In Hong Kong, the driver sits on the right. You can see the Mickey head on the highway sign in this pic.

Our room wasn't ready so we walked around the hotel for a bit. It's very nice with an art deco style.

While walking around the building, we discovered the pool. It was a bit cool outside, but the water was very warm. We decided to go swimming. The pool has a piano theme with a keyboard tiled bottom. Jason loved the waterslide. Jess thought it was a giant bathtub and loved it after her first few seconds.

If the clothing police could see us now!!!

Castmembers were sketching chalk outlines of characters. Later they invited the kids to fill them in with colored chalk.

We took a walk to the other hotel along Magic Road. Appropriate name for the area*S* After getting to the hotel, we continued on towards the park. The path has Disney music piped in and was enjoyable to walk down.

Here's a picture of the other hotel- Hong Kong Disneyland. This is the back view. There's a hedge maze in the back that Jason and Mike went through. Jess was sleeping in the stroller so we didn't go through because the stroller wouldn't have fit.

Some of the plantlife along Magic Road.

Before we turned back from our walk, we came to a fountain near the entrance to the park. At 7, there's a light and water show which was great to watch. Jess was entranced.

When we got back to our room, we checked out the amenities. The little washcloth penguin was adorable!
Our first night, we gave Jason the choice of eating at the buffet with us (which we knew he most likely wouldn't like) or staying in the room and watching his dvd player while we went to the buffet. He chose staying in the room so we got him some cereal and sprite from the coffee shop and left strict instructions not to open the door for anyone. The buffet was very good but we were right that there was little Jason would have found appetizing. I tried different foods and we saw the fireworks in the park through the dining room window. The dessert buffet was awesome! I ate mango pudding, creme brulee and fruit dipped in the chocolate fountain.

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