Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shamian Island Shopping

We spent all of Wednesday, February 4, 2015 simply passing time until we could pick up our Visa for our flight home the next day.  We spent the entire morning shopping on Shamian Island.  This could have been a great place to have relaxed strolls and enjoy the architecture, but it was really very cold....and it rained.  And none of us came prepared for rain.  Our guide dropped us off and then told us what time to meet the bus back to the hotel, so unless we wanted to venture to a taxi on our own, we had to wait the whole time.  It was another difficult day for Hannah and she chose some really opportune places to have tantrums (with the whole Chinese stare going lovely).

The story behind the island is that this is once where the US Consulate was located, so every adoptive family had to come through here.  It is also where the world famous White Swan hotel is located.  This was the first (and only) five star hotel in China for quite some time and was built to accommodate the many western, adoptive families that were coming to stop at the US Consulate.  Since that time, the US Consulate has moved and is no longer on the island.  The White Swan has been closed for renovations for three years now and no one knows when or if it will reopen, so The Garden has become the hotel of choice for many adoptive families.  What was once likely a bustling and busy place is now more of a quick stop for tourists and a great place for Chinese photo shoots.

We did enjoy the shopping here and found a store where the owner, Michael, was very helpful.  He was able to help us pick sizes for clothing for family back home and was really just willing to do anything you needed.  We bought quite a bit dresses for the girls, t shirts for grandparents, and other items.  They were so friendly and everything was very reasonably priced. 

After the shopping was done we spent most of the time trying to either get Hannah to sleep in the stroller or keep her asleep.  As I mentioned, not one of her best days.  So we walked a lot and had lunch at a nice restaurant.

 We couldn't believe she cooperated!

 This statue is a must stop for all adoptive families!  If you follow any China adoption blogs, you've seen this a million times!

 Friendship Garden on Shamian Island.

I was so excited when I saw this hanging on a building on Shamian Island!  Jesus!!!! In China!!

Then we went back to the hotel and waited for the magic hour of 4:30 to arrive so we could pick up her passport and visa.  Hooray!  Success!  We got it!  Our ticket OUT of China and IN to the US!

 Horsing around in the hotel.  She really liked getting in and out of this basket and was one of the things that would make her smile in China.

 Daddy spent all two weeks in China trying to earn his place with Hannah (and honestly, home almost three weeks in the US, he still has to earn it daily).  Snacks are the way to her heart and this was the first and only time she sat on him in China.  It was brief, but it was a baby step!

 The golden ticket!! We have a Visa!!  Let's go home!!!!!!!!

After that we spent the evening with the R family since this was our last night with them.  What was supposed to be a really quick trip to go get ice cream turned into quite the adventure and the most expensive ice cream I've ever eaten....with an added stop at Burger King since the ice cream turned out not to be quite enough food to count as "dinner."  Despite being an adventure, it was a fun time with the R family.

 We Americans were thrilled to delight in a big dish of ice cream.  Hannah was not a fan.  Chinese people don't eat a lot of things cold (even water comes to your table boiling hot).  Ice cream was way too cold for her!

Time to head out in the morning for the thirty hours home.  Hard to believe our time in China is done!

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