Friday, December 19


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First things first, for those of you who’ve asked, Emily is much better.  Either there was something real in those ear drops or there wasn’t really that much wrong with her ear.  Either way, it’s a relief that we aren’t trying to seek medical help while in China.

This morning we left Yangchun City with Danny’s cousin by car and headed for Zhanjiang City, China.  Danny’s cousin and his extended family live in Zhanjiang and are anxiously looking forward to meeting our family.  They have never even met Danny, let alone the rest of us.  The car ride is about 3 hours long, but his cousin drives a nice new Toyota, so we rode in comfort.

Before departing, we had a nice breakfast with the officials from Yangchun City, the orphanage that our daughters were cared for in, and the former Yangchun City director.  It’s a bit of a formality, but the girls really like Yu Hong Ying, the orphanage director, so that made it an easy meal.  The food was ok and then we were off!

The drive was lovely and scenic, as you can see.  This is the part of China that I like best.  Not literally, since I’ve never been to Zhanjiang, but the rural parts of China, where you see oxen pulling farm implements, small mud homes, and really basic living.  This is the China that makes it worthwhile to get on the bus and head in from Hong Kong.  The drive passed quickly and easily.  Danny’s cousin will never break any land speed records, but he is a good enough driver, and his choice of music was soothing.  Emily slept most of the way and Stephanie had a brief nap. 

When we arrived in Zhanjiang, Danny’s cousin checked us into our hotel.  Definitely not five star (or four for that matter) but it will do for two nights.  Then it was downstairs to the hotel restaurant, where his cousin’s wife was waiting to meet us.  She was absolutely a delight to meet.  Kinda funky local hair and fashion sense, but absolutely lovely.  We had a nice lunch, although the girls’ behavior was less than stellar.  The original plan they’d made had us meeting a bunch of their extended family today, but we decided that without naps that was a really bad idea, so we agreed to take the kids upstairs for some quiet time and meet later.  Danny’s cousin came to get us about 4:30 and proudly showed us his factory.  He has been very successful in his business making control valves for water heaters.  His factory employs about 200 local workers and is very well organized.  He gave us the tour and then we were able to meet his son and daughter-in-law, as they work at the family business. 

After the tour, they took us on a brief tour of the city, and then we decided that dinner should also be at the hotel restaurant. 

Brief sidebar:  If you travel into China, unlike Hong Kong, you can not get even instant coffee easily.  In fact, I have been searching the last couple of cities, desperate for at least some Nescafe instant (without the whitener they sometimes add) without success.  I had mentioned this to Danny’s cousin’s wife and guess what she brought to dinner?  Nescafe instant coffee.  A whole jar!   Never been so happy to see a jar of instant coffee in my entire life!  I could have hugged her.  She’s awesome!

Dinner included his cousin’s son and daughter-in-law and some seriously ratty behavior by my kids.  The food was ok, but we were all tired after the long day of travel.   So as soon as we’d finished eating we headed back upstairs to call it a night.

As soon as I got upstairs I set to boiling the kettle for… guessed it…..COFFEE!