Sunday, September 24, 2006

The White Swan

For months I have been hearing about the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. It is very close to the American consulate, so most adoption agencies have their families stay here. So far it has exceeded our expectations. We awoke this morning to the best breakfast buffet yet. And the hotel staff is excellent. For example, there is an attendant on every floor who greets you as you come off the elevator. Today when we came up, they informed us our room was being cleaned --after one night they knew who we were and which room we were staying in! At lunch we (me, Jerry, Doug, Katie, Zoe and Mom) went to the buffet again, sat down, decided it was too much food and too expensive, and decided to leave. We explained to our waitress we'd decided on something else, and went off to a deli in the hotel. Well, while we were sitting there, a manager approached to inquire as to why we had left the buffet -- he was concerned that the service had not been satisfactory! We assured him it was perfect, and we'd just changed our minds. He was so nice, we felt bad!

When they made up the room today, they left a complimentary gift. "Adoption Barbie" -- a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fashionalby dressed "mommy" carrying a Chinese baby! We got one in each room, so both Zoe and Katie have one. Mattel makes them special for families adopting from China.

Mom, Zoe and I were the only ones who joined the rest of our group this morning for a visit to the Cheng Clan Temple. Rui told us it was young -- only about 100 years old. Although many temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, this one was not, because it was too beautiful. We enjoyed seeing it, and visiting the gift shops. Then we stopped at a silk and jade store, before returning to the hotel.

Jerry and the kids visited the pool. It was outdoors, with a waterfall they could swim under, and they did not have to wear bathing caps, so it was a hit. They also walked through a park, looked at some neat statues, and saw a bunch of people playing badmitton.

In the afternoon, Mom watched Doug and Katie, Jerry went to Rui's room to fill out some adoption paperwork, and I took Zoe to the clinic on the 3rd floor. She still has a rash, and I think it woke her up last night. A doctor and a nurse looked at her, and diagnosed scabies. I brought a prescription from home for that, just in case, so I told them I'd apply it tonight. They said that our medicine doesn't always work on scabies here (!?) and to bring her back if the rash did not clear up. I am not convinced it is scabies. The nurse from our group did not think so, and Jerry checked it out on the internet, and wasn't sure, but we decided to treat it "as if" anyway. We talked to Linda later, and learned that Molli got the same diagnosis at the same clinic, so tonight our whole group is applying Elemite before bed. Tomorrow we will make sure the linens are changed and send out all our laundry. Hopefully, Zoe and Molli will clear up, and the rest of us will not break out. Interesting note: I was charged 30 yuan at the clinic (about $4) and Linda was charged 60 yuan!

This hotel is packed with westerners with their Chinese babies. The sheer number is amazing. The area around here really caters to us. There are tons of shops with "must haves" for both parents and baby. Most of the shops also "rent" strollers for free. We couldn't figure it out at first, but after getting our stroller, and spending quite a bit of yuan in that store, we understood.

Zoe had a rough day today. For the most part she was not happy unless I was holding her. That was fine the first part of the day, because I had her in the carrier at the temple, but later it was harder. After some teething tablets and a good dinner tonight, she seemed much happier. It is hard to tell if she is fussing because she's teething, she has an itchy rash, she's grieving for her former life, or a combination of all 3.

Tonight, I was talking with Katie before bed. It is funny to get a 5 year old's impressions of the trip. She told me she liked Hefei, because she was "used to" the hotel, the lobby, and the breakfast buffet there. I told her Guangzhou was fun, because of all the shopping, she agreed, but reiterated she was "used to Hefei." Then she said she couldn't remember Beijing, or the hotel we stayed in, it was "so long ago." I described the Poly Plaza, the lobby, the escalator to the breakfast buffet, the pool, etc. and it all came back to her. She then brought up the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and asked why it was forbidden. I said a long time ago only the emperors and their families could go there, and it was forbidden to everyone else. We talked about how now everyone wants to go, and she said she didn't know why, because it was "very hot and very boring."


At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Sandy Harris said...

'YAY: Mattell!!! I love the Adoption Barbie thing - how sweet and what a wonderful memento for Sweet Zoe. Thanks for the great perspective from Sweet Katie - one more reason why this blog/'diary' will be even more wonderful in the years to come. We are just so anxious for you ALL to get HOME. Be safe and know that we love you.


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