Saturday, August 23, 2014

A night on Shamian Island

We took the metro tonight over to Shamian Island. It’s the part of Guangzhou that used to house the American Embassy and the famous White Swan Hotel, where most US families stayed while waiting to complete their visa application week here.

The embassy moved and the White Swan closed for renovations three years ago but hasn’t come back yet. There used to be a booming business of little shops serving the adoption community, but they say some have closed. The buildings there are colonial in style, and half of them look like they could have been an Embassy. The middle of the street is a double-wide walking park with shrub gardens and a collection of bronze statues. Tonight we didn’t really go for the shopping or much more than a brief exploration, but we did find a great spot for dinner right on the river.

This is a famous adoption picture spot. The violinist leads a line of little kids (behind her)
and there's a spot where an actual kid can fit. Primrose wanted nothing to do with the statues and thought
they were creepy (see, she's so mine!), so I decided to correct the violinist's terrible pancake wrist instead. 
 We sat in the cool (or at least not as hot) evening breeze and watched the boats light up on the water. The heat here is a constant. I am always either sweating or at least damp. I wonder if that is one reason food tends to be fairly salty; people need to replace what they sweat out. Looking around the train, it sometimes seems I am the only one whose hair has frizzed up, makeup has dripped off and clothes are sticking sadly to my back. My feet are blistered, not from walking but from walking in constant swampy heat. My clothes are just about shot and I’m pretty sure washing them in the sink will mean they might dry by Thanksgiving. People hang their laundry out on their decks and I can only assume they check them in four to six weeks to see if they’re done.

Florescent trees are a whole thing!

So with the ever-present mugginess, finding a place outdoors but fairly comfortable was a treat. Being right above the river helped, and we learned at the East Lake Park in Wuhan that Primrose adores water. Maybe in six or seven years she’ll be out snorkeling with the boys. I’m sure we’ll have to take her fishing in Montana because she would love the Brook Trout that generations of our family have had for breakfast out camping.

Just beautiful! I think this is called the Pearl River.
We didn't miss a single boat, thanks to our pint-sized early warning system.
She kept pointing to the boats and shrieking happily, similar to her reaction to every single thing on travel day.
Turn your volume down for this one:

She’s also fond of her new face making games. With the open-the-bottle game, the raspberries-on-bellies game, and several others, she’s developing quite a repertoire.

On the way home she was getting tired and feisty and the train was still just as crowded as before. She started to do something a bit naughty, I can’t even remember what, and I gave her “the look”. Then I exaggerated it and zoomed in right next to her nose (which was like 2 inches away anyway). She got that I was kind of teasing myself and went directly from cranky to laughing. Smart girl. I saw a Chinese lady standing behind her smile at the interaction, too.

It would be so wonderful if she continues to bond with us so easily, lets J hold her and is ready for being part of our larger family and community at home. It's so hard, this adoption thing. We want nothing more than to spare her more trauma, but it takes a little more of it to finally be forever home. 

Now I think I’ll take my third shower of the day (no joke!) and relax a bit before bed. We have nothing for the next two days and I’m looking forward to exploring the city and the hotel pool. I’m on a quest to buy her silks for the next few Chinese New Years and am eyeing one of those round stone bead bracelets everybody wears here.

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