Sunday, September 17, 2006

Welcome to Hefei

We landed in Hefei this morning at about 10:00 am. The airport was tiny (a lot like the one in Burlington, VT). All the kids wrote in their journals for pretty much the whole duration of the 1.5 hour flight. Doug couldn't wait to start writing about climbing to the top of the Great Wall with Jason, Sean and Katie. We (the parents) were very proud of them for all the kids. Ryan even made it almost all the way to the top - MUCH farther than Linda, Lisa and me.

The Great Wall, by the way, was amazing - definitely the highlight of the day. I would have to say that half of China was located at Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City yesterday. I was scared to death that we would lose someone. I must have counted Varon/Derfuss/Paquette heads 3,000 times in three hours.

On the way to the bus after the Forbidden City (which is enormous and seems never-ending), we were accosted by beggars. Many were deformed in one way or another, and some women were walking up to us with dirty babies in their arms. This really affected almost everyone on the tour and the mood was very somber when we got on the bus. Rui tried to make us "feel better" by telling us that the women probably had stolen the babies and were using them to get money. This didn't make me feel any better. It was reality of life in China slapping us in the face. This place is very poor in spots. We are SO lucky to be healthy - SO lucky to live the life we do.

I should fill you in now on the pants mishap mentioned in Lisa's post below. I got my shorts back, thanks to Lisa and Rui. Lisa was typing the post about my missing shorts AS I was freaking out in the room. I had just realized that my pants were gone, packed, taken away! We were LEAVING the hotel at 6:30 am. No stores were open. Noone had any I could borrow. I was in full paanic mode. I was thinking that I would have to cut some holes in my pillowcase and wear it like a diaper on the plane. This would be the greatest embarassment of my 36 years on the planet. I finally came to my senses and called Rui to explain that I had accidentally packed something VERY important. She said "important?" I said "yes, my pants" She laughed, then asked if I could meet her in the lobby. I said that "I" couldn't, but Lisa would be happy to. Anyway, I'm happy to report that at around 10:45 pm, everything was OK again. Imagine, though if I hadn't had this epiphany until 5:00 am. I would have had a VERY bad day!

Our Hotel in Hefei is great! We have an adjoining room with Kathy (Lisa's mom) and it's like a suite with a fold out couch. The crib and a stroller were waiting for us in our room when we arrived. As I write this, we are around 12 hours from meeting Zoe for the first time.

We ate lunch at a neat place called noodles and chopsticks here in the hotel. We got four different kinds of noodles, which came in large soup bowls. We also had two 36 oz beers and two bottled water which fed six of us. The total bill - about $15. The food was fantastic in flavor and fun to eat with the big chopsticks. Even the kids had fun. After that, Lisa, Linda and the kids went to the swimming pool, where the all swimmers had to wear bathing caps. SIDE NOTE: The four kids swimming caps were purchased for $50 US at the hotel in Beijing - Damn right we're going to use them! END SIDE NOTE. Katie hurt her toe at the swimming pool. After losing some blood, Lisa wrapped it in bandaids and medicated her up. She and Jason are laughing right now.

More pictures will come later tonight.


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At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it sounds like your tip has been great. with lots of things that you will never forget..

jerry incase you could not get the scores of the football game

the gators won 21 to 20.....

and clemson won in the clemson fsu game....

we can not wait to see more pictures


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