"Adopting a Child won't change the world; but for that Child the world will change."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

We're back!

So sorry we couldn't access blo.ger while we were in China!
We had a fabulously exhausting time! We stayed in most places 3 days, before moving on to the next adventure! Everything we saw was fantastic.
We visited the Pingyuan SWI. Amazing. The Director is a lovely man, who genuinely cares about what he's doing, as do the Ayi's. After an interesting banquet put on by the Director, he offered to take us to Tiny's finding place.
What can I say but WOW! I still well up with tears, thinking about it now! Its funny how from reading the report, I had imagined what the place would be like... it was very different! I expected it to be near the city or a very public place, but it was in quite a remote rural area. I'll tell you how it all progressed... the director hopped in the van, and after driving further and further away from the city, he eventually asked the driver to pull over, and he'd ask for directions. He walked up the driveway, of a pretty ram-shackled little house, and started talking to someone in the front rice paddy / garden. A little lady emerged from the garden and talked with the Director for awhile. The Director motioned for us to get out of the van, and come over. Our guide spoke with the Director for a bit, then looked at us with an odd look on her face, and said "This is the Auntie that found your daughter".
Oh my. (my stomach still drops, and I still cry, when I think about it!). We are still in absolute awe and amazement, that we actually met this wonderful lady. Without her, we wouldn't have our daughter. Without her, our daughter most likely would've died. She was quite beside herself to see Tiny again. She even waved peopled down off the street as they rode past on their bicycles! Our guide said everyone in the village/area knew of Tiny because she was such a small newborn. She was just so so happy.
Absolutely incredible.
I booked our trip "solely" because the airline released a new route, and had cheap flights. We always intended on going back, but we thought we'd wait til Tiny was about 5-8 years old. You know... it's funny how you do things, because you think it's "your" good idea... turns out God was the mastermind?!!! We were meant to be in Pingyuan on 14 March 2012! Just the say as Tiny's Guardian Angel, walked along that road, on 30 September 2007.
Pics from our trip in posts below!

Pics Beijing

We stayed at Lee Garden Apartments - 2 bedroom apartment - 5 min walk to Wangfujing Street and 15 min taxi ride to Forbidden City / Tiannamen Square. Great accommodation, with washing machine. Doormen very helpful.
Next stop - Chengdu

Pics Chengdu & Jiuzhaigou Valley

We stayed at Chengdu Grand Club Hotel - which has been recently renovated, so was really nicely furbished. Couple of issues with hotel - its the banking district, so we found it hard to find a restaurant open for dinner! The staff speak very little english, and the hotel reception is on the 4th floor! I booked our Chengdu & Jiuzhaigou Valley tour through Jiuzhaigou Holidays - they were really good.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is spectacular. It is 3,000m above sealevel, so the air is a bit thin, but well worth it. I ended up having a massive puke fest while there (made the mistake of having cold and flu medicine, which reacted in a very negative way!), so I didn't get to actually visit all the beautiful lakes - but my wonderful family and guide took lots of pics and videos for me! We stayed at Intercontinental Jiuzhai Paradise Hotel. It was our most expensive hotel, the hotel itself was massive and spectacular, but the rooms could do with an upgrade. Unfortunately, the bathroom in our room stunk to high heaven! The room was big, and had a "sunken lounge area", and the view from the balcony was gorgeous! Specially when it started to snow! We don't have snow in our State - so it was totally cool!!! (literally!!! It was minus 10 degrees when we landed at 2pm!!)

Pics Guilin & Overnight train to Guangzhou

We stayed at Starway Grand 0773 - had "fantastic" reviews when I booked... but the price should've given me warning bells!! It was definitely clean, and had a good shower - but was definitely a budget a hotel! It was in a great location, 5 min walk to everything! (Elephant Trunk Park, shopping and KFC!) I booked our Li River Tour through Lychee Tours - they were excellent, ended up booking all our train tickets through them as well, and our car and driver for our Pingyuan SWI visit - best prices, Nancy hand delivered our train tickets in Guilin! We booked "soft sleepers" - which is a private cabin, with four beds in it. As there was four of us - we had the whole cabin to ourselves, but be aware that if there are only 2 of you, or 3 of you, you may get a stranger in with you!

Pics Guangzhou & Meizhou

Train to Meizhou

We stayed at Pengman Apartments in Guangzhou (2 bedroom with 2 double beds, kitchen with washing machine/dryer), just for one night, before we took the train to Meizhou. The Apartment building is in a very new area of TianHe, so the apartment was quite new, and well furbished - unfortunately there's not much around the area, other than buildings still being constructed! The people we booked with, have a little office / reception on 23rd floor! The security man didn't speak english so it was very tricky trying to find them!!! We did find a really cool park, UU Park - which had an underground shopping complex with a games arcade that kept the boys very happy! Tiny's orphanage is one hour from Meizhou, in a small, rural City in the mountain of Pingyuan. Meizhou is quite a big city, 7 hour drive or 5 hour train ride from Guangzhou. We stayed at the Ramada Meizhou, which was a fabulous hotel. We opted for the Deluxe Double Room, that was really a Suite! It had 2 queen size beds, separate bathroom with a massive oval tub, separate vanity area, office desk, lounge suite and tea and coffee facilities. The bedroom itself was massive! It was very reasonable priced (book through ctrip) and good breakfast for only RMB30.

Pics Pingyuan

I'm not going to show all my pics of Pingyuan, particularly the SWI etc, as the Director was so gracious to allow us to take pics etc, for Tiny's record. I don't want to exploit his grace. If your child is from the SWI, please email me, I'm happy to chat and send you the pics I have, for your child's information.
Main Road, driving into Pingyuan City.
Pingyuan SWI building. Only 3 of the rooms in this building are for the children.
Small garden at the rear of the buildling. We have a couple of pics of Tiny, sitting on a blanket on the lawn, when she lived here.
Tiny next to her bed. A tiny baby boy, now occupies this bed. He came to the SWI in January this year.
This is Mr T with a 5 year old girl, whose paperwork is with the Govt. now, she is waiting for a family. She was facinated with Mr T! She is very little like Tiny, but is pretty clever, she was mimicking lots of things we were saying! If you'd like more info - please email me!
Local area of Pingyuan:

Pics of silliness on the train & Guangzhou

We stayed at the Guangdong Victory Hotel, for 2 nights when we returned to Guangzhou. It was the hotel we stayed in when we adopted Tiny in 2009! We stayed in the West Wing this time, it definitely had the softest beds in China! The rooms were small, but well equiped and the bathroom was recently renovated. Breakfast was great (more western than chinese) and the staff spoke good english! Oh! It was my birthday when we were there, so the staff brought me a little cake to my room (with candles! but we didn't have a lighter to light them!). Did lots of shopping for shoes and dresses on Shamian Island and went to Lucy's for dinner!
I took H-Man to Beijing Road to go shopping (poor Mr T had a pukefest the night before my birthday, so he chilled at the hotel with Tiny, who was very tired), I tried on a pair of converse high tops, that I was about to pay RMB59 for, but my gorgeous son, whipped out his money and bought them for my birthday! We went to Pizza Hut for lunch, and he whipped out his money, and paid for lunch as well!!! Its nice to know our training is paying off!!! He is such a sweet heart!
Next and final stop (in China): Beijing