Adopting Again The Trip

Thursday, March 04, 2004
Departing
Waiting at O'Hare Airport
While waiting to board the plane in Chicago, we met several other families from who were traveling to China to adopt as well. Most of them were from another agency, but it was nice to have a bit of camaraderie before we left.

We decided to arrive in China a day earlier than necessary so that we could see some of the famous attractions in Beijing. An early arrival would also give us the chance to shake the jet lag from our systems.

It would be a long 12 ½ hour airplane ride from Chicago to Beijing, especially since we had to wake up early in the morning to catch it. Thank goodness it was non-stop. However we were cramped into the 2 middle seats of the center section and had very little legroom for the entire trip . By the time we touched down in Beijing we were worn out, but extremely glad to set foot on solid ground once again. We also felt very privileged to have the chance to return to China to adopt another child. Once we passed customs at the Beijing airport, Mark, from our travel agency, greeted us, had our luggage loaded into a van, and then bussed us to the hotel.

We stayed at the Beijing Novotel Peace Hotel which is a 5-star facility near the very center of Beijing. It is an elegant hotel and quite reasonable by American standards. It has a very nice buffet, nice rooms, courteous staff, and is located in the heart of Beijing near the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Our room was spacious, clean and quiet. We also had broadband internet access, but unfortunately, this website was blocked in China. I guess it contains too much propaganda. Fortunately, we were still able to send pictures and email back home to our other daughter Stephanie who stayed behind.

After dumping our stuff into the room we did a bit of exploring. Down the street, a few blocks away, was a shopper's paradise - full of great malls, shops and restaurants; including a McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Starbucks. Even though we were in downtown, the prices were fabulous. Mark bought several CD's for around $8.00 total.

We had hoped that the traffic in Beijing would be different from other the cities in China which we previously visited. In other cities, stoplights are merely a suggestion and you took your life into your own hands whenever you attempt to cross the street. In Beijing, traffic was no different. Crossing the street was a bit like playing "Frogger" where you constantly have to dodge oncoming or turning vehicles no matter what the stoplight "suggested".

Worms & Scorpians on a Stick
A few blocks from the hotel we found a wonderful food court. It consisted of nearly 100 small, identical stands selling exotic delicacies. Mark was dying to try some of the food because it smelled so delicious and we were hungry from the flight, but we were warned not to eat from street vendors. Besides, once we got a closer look at the kind of food that was being sold, we decided to eat at the hotel instead. Their main menu consisted "Bugs on a Stick" (millipedes, worms, scorpions, crickets, etc.). Somehow they didn't seem too appetizing and we began to hope that the hotel restaurant served something that couldn't be found in a Roach Motel.

After a bit more exploring, we returned to the hotel, ate a decent, non-entomological meal, and hunkered down in our comfortable room to rid ourselves of jetlag. We are looking forward to visiting the famous Great Wall of China tomorrow.

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