Wednesday, December 17


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First of all, Happy Birthday to Karyn!!  29 again, eh?

Today was another day of travel/transition for us.  We left Jiujiang feeling a bit melancholy, as we realize that we may not rush to come back.  The hotel has been a challenge the last couple of times we’ve been here, but the safety factor this time is a real deal-breaker.  It’s been a scary couple of days for me and the girls and I hate feeling like I can’t go out and walk around, even in daylight.  Anyone that knows me knows that when I travel, either for work or vacation, I like to get out and be on foot and see the sights.  Can’t do that when you’re afraid of being accosted.

We got up quite early today to have one final meal with Danny’s relatives in Jiujiang.  We had some congee and dim sum in the hotel restaurant and bid them all goodbye.  Sadly, almost every time we come here one of the relatives has passed on since the last visit, and we’re always aware of that when saying goodbye.

Danny’s nephew had kindly offered to drive us to Yangchun City, about 3 hours by car.  He and his wife (who my girls love) had decided to make a day of it, so we all hopped into their car just after breakfast, and headed for the proverbial highway.

The first stop was a local bakery for some sweet buns to bring on the road with us.  Amazing how happy and quiet you can make Stephanie with sweet bread!!

The drive is a wild ride, much like any other travel in China.  The rules of the road are more “rules”, a.k.a. suggestions of the road.  In fact, the only certainty is that size determines right of way.   If you’re in a big truck, congrats, the right of way will be yours all the time.  If you’re on a scooter or motorcycle your life is constantly in jeopardy.  

The ride was exactly 3 hours, with one quick bathroom pit stop.  I use the expression “pit stop”, not as in a car race pit stop, but as in the bathroom (squatty style) is in fact just a pit.  Luckily, the girls only needed one quick stop and we were able to make it the rest of the way.  Actually, Emily fell asleep shortly after the bathroom stop, and slept most of the way, so she was well rested and happy when we arrived.  Stephanie on the other hand, entertained “aunty” and I in the backseat the whole way.

We arrived in Yangchun with trepidation in our minds, remembering what a disastrous hotel visit we had two years ago.  Those of you who “traveled” with us then will remember the mould filled hotel that we checked out of early.  This time around we got very lucky.  There is a new hotel in Yangchun, the East Lake International Hotel, and it’s great.  Cheap by Canadian standards, but really good.  The room is clean and tidy and everything seems fine.  My only complaint is that I can’t get coffee (even instant coffee) without creamer in it.  I need coffee, even if it’s only instant, and while I could get it in Hong Kong, I couldn’t in Jiujiang and apparently not in Yangchun either!

We had a chance to visit with Danny’s niece’s husband, who owns a business here in Yangchun.  His business makes clothes for Barbie dolls, fancy hair accessories, silk flower arrangements and the like.  He’s very friendly and nice, and the girls enjoyed the visit, especially because they left with sparkly hairbands they hadn’t arrived with!

We again had the opportunity to visit the orphanage (SWI) that both of our girls were looked after in as infants.  Yu Hong Ying kindly gave us free reign and we got to see Sandra at the House of Grace, too.  She was very kind, and offered to let us photograph some babies whose parents are awaiting travel approval.

The weather was gorgeous again, about 25 and nothing but sunshine! 

We invited the orphanage director, Yu Hong Ying, and her boss Mr. Chen, and her former boss, Mrs. Chen (no relation) to dinner, along with Danny’s nephew and his wife, and his niece’s husband.  We had a great meal, with lots of conversation, in a private dining room here in the hotel.  Yu Hong Ying brought along a gorgeous young girl, 10 years old, who is going home to her new American family soon.  It was very nice to meet her.  She is going to make a family very happy.

By the time dinner was done, so were the girls.  You can see by the photos that they crawled into bed, still in their t-shirts, and watched some movies on their PVR’s.  Long but good day.  Hotel success.  Colour me happy!