Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life on the Island, But It Ain’t Jamaica, Mon

Sunday afternoon we boarded a plane in Beijing, and flew to Guangzhou, a city in southeastern China, where we would meet Emerson and spend the next 12 nights of our journey. We are staying in a section of town called Shamian Island, surrounded by rivers. Shamian Island is about 5 blocks long and 2 blocks deep, and it didn’t take us long to find the Starbucks and the Subway.

For reasons we haven’t quite figured out, adoptive families who are adopting from all over China end up on Shamian Island, in one of several hotels here that cater to adoptive families. Shops on every corner sell diapers, toys, and Chinese souvenirs. Store owners compete to do your laundry, and bargaining is expected. We have found a couple of shops that loan strollers out for free, and will let you sit behind their desk and surf the internet on their computer in exchange for your business. Even this tiny island has two 7-11’s.

The architecture on Shamian Island is different from any other part of town. It is very “European”, for lack of a better word, and we have come upon many photo shoots in progress.

At a park at the other end of the island, about 50 Chinese people were playing their version of Hacky-Sack, with these feathered Hacky-sack things. I’m talking about professional Hacky-Sack players. They were flipping them over their heads, catching them with their feet, and pitching it to the other “players” several feet away. Significant amounts of time had been devoted to the Hacky-Sack game. One guy wore a knee brace to protect himself from Hacky-Sack injuries. Tournaments were probably held in better weather.

And I’ve decided that being an old Chinese person would be great fun, as they spend their days playing cards and dominos with the neighbors,

taking ballroom dancing lessons in the park by the river,

and singing songs in groups of strangers.

Being an adopted Chinese kid on Shamian Island is not a bad gig, either. The shop ladies pay lots of attention to you, and try to get your new mommies and daddies, who are quite the suckers in this phase of the relationship, to buy you strollers and squeaky shoes, Chinese pajamas and Christmas ornaments. You get to play soccer among the pretty flowers

and pose by the dozens of statues that pepper the island while other Chinese people take your picture with your new parents.

Unfortunately, this particular adopted Chinese kid is still on “chicken pox precautions” and spends the vast majority of her time not in the shops, but outside walking around with her new parents or in her hotel room.

This little island is our home away from home for the next week or so, and though I miss my babies so, so much, it could be much worse, I guess.

*if you missed it I updated my last post with more pictures from Gotcha Day


lindy said...

I'm getting settled in to your house for the weekend! Harper is napping and Aidan and I are hanging out...I showed him these pictures and he said "wow, she looks fast!"

Adrienne said...

Aidan is right: she does look fast! (Yay, another soccer player in the family!) Great pictures, Mandy. Emerson looks SO CUTE with the little bows in her hair, too! :)

Karen said...

Awesome Mandy!! I love the picture of Brandon holding her hand and she's looking back at you. How sweet is that?!? You will all be a complete family very soon!! Yay!!