Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guangzhou Zoo

Monday was another tourist day in Guangzhou while we waited for things to process with the visa and for our consulate appointment to finalize the application.  Today we visited the Guangzhou zoo.  The weather was gorgeous for this and all the kids in our group seemed to really enjoy this trip.  The zoo was a pretty typical zoo, though I will say it reminded me a lot of what older zoos were like in the US.  Less "natural" barriers for the animals and more concrete slabs and metal cages around them.  Regardless, the kids loved this trip, and Hannah was no exception (aside from the portion she slept through).  We even got to see pandas, though it was too warm for them to come out, so they were inside their little "house".  You could still see them a little bit.

After the zoo we ventured to the Aeon store, which is a lot like target.  We needed to find more formula for Hannah and replace a bottle nipple for the bottle the orphanage had given us (in order to drink, Hannah bites the nipple, rather than sucking.  Obviously, biting really wears the nipples down and the one we were given had several holes in it.  I was concerned she would bite it entirely off and then we would be without for our flights home).  This trip was.....not our best outing.  We'd been to Aeon before and purchased cheerios (the smallest, most expensive box of cheerios I ever bought....we paid more than the HUGE box price here at home and got a box that Chris could have easily eaten for one serving).  We felt pretty confident in how to find it and get what we needed.  Our guide had helped us with the formula, writing out on a slip of paper exactly what I needed.  Well, the formula purchase turned out to be a total disaster.  They did not carry the brand Hannah was used to (apparently formula varies from province to province and she was on a "local" brand).  Our guide had written down a back up plan for us so we showed this to a clerk in the store (clerks in almost every aisle....there must be a theft problem in China!).  Well, the clerk took my note to mean that I spoke fluent Mandarin and just started babbling away and showing me a can.  I kept saying I didn't understand, English, English, only English.  Then she started ferociously showing me the writing on the can, trying to get me to read it.  Ha!  If I don't understand you, there is no way I can read the can.  Then she gives me an empty can.  Through lots of pantomime I get down to the fact that this can is empty.  She fills out a slip of paper and gives it to me and takes the can away.  We figure out that the can she is giving us is over $50!  Um, no thanks.  She's almost two.  We can skip the formula bottles and we had just enough of her other formula to get us to touch down in Lexington.  We knew American formula would be different and had hoped to bring home Chinese formula with us to mix, so as to ease the transition, but that was an utter fail.  We walked away frustrated.  As it turns out, after talking to our guide, we found out that you have to PAY for the formula FIRST and then go back to the aisle to retrieve your goods.  Oooooooo.  And I think all the clerk's pantomime was to show me we were trying to purchase an imported formula (our guide did this on purpose, because it would most closely match American formula), which was tons more expensive than the local Chinese formula.  Hindsight?  I would have purchased the cheaper Chinese can and paid first!  Ha!  I almost cried during that whole fiasco and we still had to find a new nipple to fit her bottle!  Up to the third floor we go, stroller on escalator and all, despite the sign that indicated strollers were not to be used on the escalator (we had an incident the last time we visited of being utterly trapped in the elevator, faces against the wall, and since there is not such thing as waiting your turn in China, we almost got trapped on it!  No more elevator for us!).  The bottle nipple situation was also challenging...we had a Chinese brand bottle and they did not carry that particular bottle in this store.  Thankfully, we had successful pantomime with the clerk in this area and she found us an alternative and even opened the package, allowing us to ensure it did, indeed, fit our bottle.  We made that purchase and got out of there!  Oh the joys of being in a foreign country, with not a lick of the language to use aside from Hello and Thank You.

So excited about the panda exhibit at the zoo!



Daily occurrence, she fell asleep in the stroller during an outing.  The stress and emotions were running high for all of us and I think she was truly exhausted from all of it.  Her file did not indicate that she took more than one nap per day, but in China, she did.

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