Matthew’s Adoption Diary

Saturday September 25, 2004

Ah yes… sleep… I seem to remember getting some once…

  • Time to make the donuts at the local Hong Kong Dunkin’ Donuts of course!
  • Aelex makes a friend in Hong Kong.
  • Composition. The hallmark of a fine photo.
  • Mmmmmmm…breakfast noodles.
  • Dorothy and Aelex in front of…I guess it has to be something.
  • Teaching my Daddy to swim.
  • Living the high life.
  • While the language barrier prevented us from understanding we were no less entertained.
  • I can do that…

We arrived at our hotel on Friday night at around 8:30 P.M. Aelex was already asleep and Dorothy joined her by no later than 9:30, so that left me with nothing but a couple of Tsingtaos and a diary to write. Since I had been able to procure a few more hours of sleep on the plane (my remarkable ability to sleep through anything up to, and inclusive of, a nuclear explosion, coupled with the lack of any ocular or tactile stimulus on the flight over afforded me this luxury) I figured that there’s no better time than the present. So I got to it and used the next 4 hours before I finally went to bed to try and get my money’s worth on our hotel internet connection. Let me explain…

Our hotel is really nice. Not jaw-dropping, oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-we-are-actually-staying-in-a-place-this-nice nice, but it’s pretty nice. So we check in and get to our room and the ladies fall into a deep slumber so I figure, what the heck, let me get online and do my thing. I discover that I need to get an access code from the business center before I can login through the hotel’s network. No problem. I dial the number, the guy says give him a minute. Almost exactly a minute later he calls me back with my access number. Now all I have to do is fire up the old Powerbook and get surfing. I’m up. I logon. I nearly pass out.

I’m not going to embarrass anyone by quoting the exact charges that I am incurring by logging onto the internet from our hotel room, but let it suffice to say that for what I am paying for approximately 24 hours of access, at home I could get over a month of internet access from AOL. And I hate AOL!

Regardless, I am downloading everything that I can think of to use up as much of the hotels bandwidth as I possibly can. They can make me pay, but they can’t make me use the internet with dignity. Come to think of it, that may not even be possible under the best of circumstances.

The early bird catches the worm but he’s gotta take a nap afterwards.

We were all up by 4:30 A.M. No one’s fault. It’s just that adjusting to a 12 hour time change is difficult for the most disciplined traveller to say nothing of a 2 ½ year old. With that in mind though, I must say that Aelex has been getting along remarkably well all things considered. She has had her moments where she has started to lose it, but after a while she regains her composure and gets herself under control.

So we sat around playing and laughing and having a pretty good time until breakfast started at 6:30. We went down and ate a run-of-the-mill overpriced hotel breakfast and went for a walk. We took Aelex to a local park where she made a friend with a little native Hong-Kongian (?) girl about her age. 3 years old and bilingual. Pretty impressive.

We stayed there for a while until Aelex and I could not even keep our eyes open anymore and returned to the hotel for a much needed nap preceded by the 745th showing of “Charlotte’s Web” on the trip so far.

Dorothy was fine so she went out exploring on her own while Aelex and I spent the next 3 hours sawing logs. She snores just like her Daddy. I am so proud.

Hong Kong? It’s not so phooey.

Eventually Dorothy was able to get us both up so we all decided to head up to the roof of our hotel and take a dip in the pool. Let me tell you, it was pretty darn trés chic. “Rooftop bathing with a spectacular view of Victoria Harbor, how did you spend your Saturday?”

A lot of the Chinese here in Hong Kong will come up and start talking to us about Aelex. “Where is she from?” “How old is she?” That type of stuff. Nothing too personal and they are all genuinely curious and very friendly. We get a lot of “lucky girl” comments to which we invariably reply that “no, we are the lucky ones.” Aelex then usually starts yelling at the top of her lungs and/or purposefully knocks something over and runs away while laughing hysterically. This usually causes the interested party to eye Dorothy and I strangely as they back away slowly.

After the pool, we took the hotel shuttle bus into the heart of Hong Kong and walked around. We ate a late lunch/early dinner at a real deal Hong Kong restaurant. We looked around for one with no other westerners in it and went on in. The food was good although our chopstick skills were a little rusty. Plus I am pretty sure that we were using the plate when we should have been using the bowl and our warm-hand towel usage timing needs to be tweaked as well. Regardless, no one seem to care and we left satiated.

Afterwards we walked around town trying unsuccessfully to avoid the seemingly endless stream of hawkers practically begging me to come into their tailor shop and have a suit custom made for me on the spot. Obviously they thought that the shorts and tee-shirt I was wearing was only my weekend getup rather than my daily uniform.

We wound up walking the beautiful waterfront promenade with not only spectacular skyline views but also some great people watching possibilities. Eventually Aelex fell asleep and the lack of an afternoon power nap finally started to catch up to Dorothy so we decided to head back to the hotel.

After a brief glass of wine Dorothy was asleep and I returned to my Sisyphean quest of trying to make the hotel regret ever giving me internet access to begin with.

Tomorrow afternoon we fly to Hefei and await Monday’s special event. Tomorrow is sure to be the longest day we spend in China. Our anticipation grows as the time until we finally see Matthew grows shorter. So until tomorrow friends and neighbors…

Paying by the keystroke…