Sunday, June 20, 2010
I was so tired last night after the Great Wall Adventure, I didn't post much, so I wanted to say that I survived using my very first "squatty potty" at the the Restaurant where we had the duck in Beijing...it just reminded me how I handle things when we go camping, no biggie! If you do not know about this look one up-I will have to try to get a picture some time to post while I am here. This morning we were up early and quickly bused back to the Beijing airport. It was very crowded and with 17 or so families it gave the guides a run for their money getting everyone where they were going on flights to various provinces. We are lucky that Cindy flew to Hohhot with us as our very own guide. We had a really nice time in Beijing but the smog is so thick there is really no point in pictures for the most part. Even the Great Wall pictures would have been ten times more beautiful without it. Still it was so amazing to be there and actually see what it must have taken to build so long ago. Flying out this morning we could view the ground as the sun was brightly shining. I sat by the window and watched as we flew over the most incredible mountains. They were very jagged with green growth. I could not see any houses on the mountains but in the valleys between all the peeks, there were villages...so tiny I could not tell much about any people. As we got past the mountains, the land went very flat and it looked much like patchy quilt work with land that had been cleared, or planted, green or tan with dirt. Then most became brown with no grass and in the middle of thousands of miles there were just little areas of maybe 30 to 150 houses, most with red roofs and then just the long lines to the next village across miles and miles. As we got closer to Hohhot for the landing, these little villages got close enough where I could see that they were pretty crumbled and old, with stables very close to the house. Hohhot appeared to be a very big city just not as big as Beijing of course. There are 2 million people livjing here. All I could think is my little Hongmei's birth parents probably lived in some of these shacks, of course there will really be no way to know. It's just sad to think about. So anyway, we landed and our van driver picked us up for the 30 minute ride to the hotel. (Holiday Inn) On the ride, I enjoyed people watching more than anything. In Beijing most of the street signs had English below them so it was easy to navigate, but in Hohot the signs have Mandarin and then the local dialect for Inner Mongolia. (Evidently the language here is different, though some speak Mandarin....great two years of listening to CDs learning to speak Mandaring and my child probably does not!) So we checked in the hotel and got to our room and unpacked for the first time on this trip. It is nice not to live out of a suit case. Once settled, I got on the computer and realized my email will not open, but luckily my Dads will so we can still email Mom and Dakota. (My friend will post this for me-thanks Jenna!) After we settled, I told "the boys" I was going to find a McDonalds! (I have had enough Chinese food and since I was sick for the first 24 hours in Beijing...the thoughts of more chinese food just didn't do it.) Chuck told me I can't be tired of Chinese food now, but I wanted something good as I have not eaten much since getting here. Just a couple of blocks down we found McDonalds and the lady taking our order took one look at us and handed us a card to point to. We made it simple, ordering 3 cheeseburgers and fries! That is the best meal I have had since I got here! I may eat there quite often! (Wish I could find Taco bell!) Hohhot has incredibly busy streets too. Chuck and I took a walk around the market area. Very weird! Everything from a cart with a donkey to a moped or bike and then here comes Honda car or even a mercedes or BMW. There doesn't seem to be a method of staying in one's lane...as we walked, Chuck had to tell me to get out of the way...they honk at you once and you better mover or you lose the frogger game. The market area was pretty dirty. I would not eat anything from those vendors but I enjoyed walking through. Once an old man passed us and said, "Hello", he made eye contact and we both said hello back....he kept walking and laughed as I guess he was proud of himself for knowing what to say. He laughed and laughed as he continued to walk. As we kept walking several others would come up to us and say hello and nice to meet you...when I returned the comment they would laugh and pat each other on the back...guess they are happy they know the right words. It is true not many English speaking people must come here. In the few shops we went into, no one at all spoke English. We bought a case of water for us to split with Dad at one shop and managed to do that with sign language, but the ladies were nice. Dad keeps telling me to pretend we are on Survivor and to eat the food. I might have some soups unless of course there are fish heads floating. We were told not to eat the pork here as this is a very muslim area and due to many people not eating pork they do not know how to cook it well. (No problem here!) We have set up the hotel room where Shiloh's toys are out and she can see just what we have for her. We get her Tuesday at 12pm but the guide did say that it would depend on traffic, she could arrive earlier or later. Evidently they will bring her to our room and not the lobby of the hotel. I think this is good, maybe less stressful for her. Some of the families that flew out this morning were getting their children today and the rest get theirs on Monday and then we get Shiloh Tuesday....wait two years and now have to wait just one more day! We have talked about Hohhot since November and finding Shiloh....we are here, not long now!