Anyway -- Guangzhou is located in the south, about 3.5 hours away from Hong Kong, and nearly a 3 hour plane ride from Shandong province. I'd been worked up about this flight since the day before we left, as Chinese airlines have different regulations than American airlines do. Our baggage could not exceed 44 lbs. (compared to 50 lbs. at home) and there were strict carry-on requirements -- certain sizes (which we barely met) and couldn't exceed 11 lbs. Oh, and because Madeleine sat on our laps, we were technically not allowed a carry-on for her. We managed to come in right at 40 lbs. per piece of luggage, no one measured or weighed our carry-ons, we got to go through the VIP security line because we had an infant, and they looked the other way with Madeleine's carry-on. Madeleine was a rockstar the first hour of the plane ride. The second hour, she was her typical quiet self. And then hour three, she had a meltdown, falling asleep about 10 minutes before landing.
Overall, Guangzhou is much better than our previous cities. The climate is similar to Florida's and there is a little of that Florida feel here too - palm trees and such. We're staying at a Marriott with quite a few other adoptive families. The staff is super helpful and speaks English. Plus they left us an adoption gift in our room - a helpful booklet about where we can buy supplies, including baby products, a container of Johnson's baby wash, and a small stuffed bear for Madeleine (which she hates). Marriott, you may have just completely sealed my loyalty from this point forward.
Oh, and the best part of this hotel? The air conditioning works! I had a mini-meltdown last night about how hot and sticky I was, how tired of being hot and sticky I was, how I was tired of feeling hot and sticky after taking a shower, so on. I've tried to dry my hair every day for the past week and a half, but couldn't finish because it'd get so freaking hot in the hotel room it wasn't worth it. (You all remember the last season of Friends when the group travels to Barbados and Monica's hair becomes 5x its normal size? That.) I've barely slept for the past week and a half because I was so stinking hot. I had asked for a king size bed, but they only had doubles available. Thank goodness for that, as CJ and I can now cool off in our own separate beds and actually get some sleep. #spoiledamericans
So today, Saturday --
We met up with the other families from our agency for a few appointments. First up was getting Madeleine's visa photo taken. She had fallen asleep about two minutes before the photo was taken, so the picture is pretty amazing. Then we had her medical exam, required by the US government in order to get her visa. There are typically 4 stations to visit, however since Madeleine is under 2, she was able to avoid the dreaded TB test. One station took her weight, height, and temperature. Another station was with an ENT and the third was a general exam.
After that, we had the pleasure of visiting a supermarket. Actually, I'm not quite sure you can call it a supermarket. It was 4 stories tall and you could buy everything from groceries to clothes to Halloween costumes to elliptical machines. We ran out of clean clothes yesterday, so we were able to find a pair of shorts for CJ (in 3XL, which he's not, but their 3XL is similar to our Large). We also stocked up on bottled water, food for Madeleine, and beverages for us. That place was crazy...people everywhere, trying to cram their way into lines, squeeze around people....and of course a million degrees inside too. This is yet another example of why I use Amazon Prime and Peapod.
We've now sent some of our laundry out to be cleaned, our paperwork is organized for our US Consulate appointment on Monday, and Madeleine is taking her nap. We plan to hit up the hotel pool sometime today. (Hint to Grandpa: Madeleine really loves the water and sure would appreciate you getting that heated in-ground pool installed sooner rather than later.) Tomorrow we go shopping, Monday is our US Consulate appointment, Tuesday we get her visa, and Wednesday we go home!