Aelex’s Adoption Diary

Sunday March 2, 2003

Life is easy on the Chinese Riviera.

  • Get the hell out of here! Can’t you see I’m taking a damn bath!
  • View from our hotel room: daytime.
  • View from our hotel room: nighttime.
  • Don’t worry mommy, I will help you unpack.

The Chinese mind apparently has no concept of standing in line. Trying to get off a plane loaded with Chinese businessmen is akin to running with the bulls. You had better keep moving at all times if you want to avoid getting gored, and if you hear footsteps behind you and turn back to look, you are already dead. It is nothing personal mind you, everyone is simply an obstacle to be overcome, not just us Americans. I have seen more bloodletting in one Chinese grocery store checkout line than in a whole season of NHL hockey. This has nothing to do with anything, it is simply an observation.

You all may be confused to be seeing me (Mark the wiseass) writing the column today instead of Dorothy as promised yesterday but today we flew in from Nanjing with Aelex and boy are Dorothy’s arms tired (this is not a joke, her arms are really, really tired). Aelex was actually pretty good as far as not screaming at the top of her lungs for the whole flight, which is really all you can ask of a 1 year old on an airplane in my opinion. But keeping her from having a total meltdown in the cramped confines of your average aircraft is no easy task. We went through approximately 129,763 Cheerios on our two hour flight today and our daughter was passed back and forth between us on the average of every 4.3 seconds. Suffice it to say that she was somewhat restless. All of this makes us quite anxious for our flight on Thursday which will be 8 times as long as today’s (buy your stock in Cheerios now!) If anyone knows of an FDA approved sedative for children (sleeping pill, knockout drops, what have you) for the love of god e-mail us today!

So here we are in steamy Guangzhou. It is a balmy 78 degrees as opposed to the wintry conditions we left up north in Beijing and Nanjing. Not only is my body still unsure of when to go to sleep, and when to wake up, but now it thinks that I am trying to kill it by putting it through some type of medieval climate change torture.

The city itself is quite lovely. Dorothy is thrilled because now she can dress our daughter up in the other suitcase full of summer clothes that we brought for her. My two pairs of jeans and 3 tee-shirts was apparently good enough for the cold, and it’s good enough now. Aelex has more hats here than I have pairs of socks. I kid you not. You cannot make these things up. Anyway, as I was saying before my tangential interruption, Guangzhou is really nice. Very, very European as this was a major area of imperial concession before the Communists came to power. There are many consulate buildings around the area of the hotel which itself is quite lovely (just down the street is the Polish Consulate, although they think they are in Namibia — come on tell me you didn’t see that one coming! All angry Poles please send letters of protest to the address on the other side of this page.) We are in a hotel called the White Swan with great views of the city’s skyline and the Pearl River delta. The rooms are beautiful and spotless. Dorothy is sitting in the king sized bathtub as I type enjoying her first bath of the trip.

I do have one major complaint however (stop the patronizing sounds of shock, this is serious). I am, for the first time on my whole trip in China, being charged for internet access in my hotel room. O.K., so this is probably not the end of the world and most people could care less about this, but I am a geek and they might as well charge me $10 for a can of Coke (wait… strike that last part…) In the other two places we stayed, I had FREE BROADBAND internet access. Here I am being charged .10RMB a minute for dialup modem access! I haven’t dialed in anywhere for years (he said quite smugly). So what if this works out to about a penny a minute, that’s not the point. With the prices we are paying in this joint you figure they would throw in some quality internet access for free. Cheap %$@#*&’s!

Now that that’s out of my system, I will say that what we have seen during our brief stay so far in Guangzhou has been enjoyable. We went out for a walk earlier and noticed that every other person here is adopting a baby. It is quite a sight, and I have not been around so many families with young children since… well, ever. We ran into Mike and Lisa earlier and their new 4 year old daughter. She is a beautiful kid. As well as Mark and Dene (all folks from the plane ride over to China) and their new baby girl. Everybody seems very happy if not a little tired and a tad homesick.

The coming days promise to be a whirlwind of hurrying up to wait. We have lots of reading paperwork, sorting paperwork, filling out paperwork, filing paperwork and waiting for paperwork to be processed. Hopefully we can find some time in between to enjoy ourselves and see a bit more of the city. For now that remains the story of the day folks, truth and circumstances from the banks of the Pearl River…