Sunday, July 21, 2013

China Day Fourteen - Business and a Birthday

On Tuesday, July 2, we got the opportunity to wish our little boy a "Happy Birthday" as he woke up. What a magnificent feeling that was! Originally we wanted to have him home by this date, but it was just an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate it WITH him.

We had to wake up early and squeeze in breakfast before heading out to our consulate appointment. We were the only Lifeline family to have an appointment this day; the other five families had their appointments the previous morning. The consulate had a white powder scare and closed for a few days in June; since then they cracked down on what you can bring in and who can come with you. We were allowed to take our passports and travel wallets, but no watches or cell phones or cameras. Everything for Davis had to be in a clear plastic bag (diaper, wipes, sippy cup, toy). Not even the guides are allowed to go in with you anymore and while Wesley and Parker would have been allowed, Grandmommy and Granddaddy would not. It just seemed simpler to leave the big boys sleeping with Grandmommy and Granddaddy on duty. Our guide Helen took this picture for us in the lobby by the consulate sign (and then held our camera while we went upstairs).

Once we got upstairs we got into a line to verify our appointment time (12 families at 8:30am and 12 families at 10am). Then we went through security and our meager belongings x-rayed. Finally we were allowed into the office area. For as important as this appointment is for getting your child back to the United States, you would think that there would be more pomp and circumstance. But really it is like going to the DMV, except the only people in the waiting room are adoptive families with Chinese children. A consulate representative eventually came to the window and gave us some instructions about the packet of paperwork that would receive later which needed to be delivered to immigration back home. Then he had everyone stand and raise their right hand and repeat an oath after him that we had filled out the visa applications truthfully. Then two windows opened up with clerks and each family was called up by name. We were the second family allowed into the waiting room and the second-to-last family to get called to the window. We had to give them Davis' Chinese passport (picked up from the police station the day before) and the paperwork from the medical check that he had passed. Then we signed one form and we were done! His visa and the infamous packet of paperwork was due to be picked up the following afternoon.

Back at the hotel we joined up with the other families to go for a visit to the Guangzhou Zoo. We had already paid for this as part of our touring fee ahead of time and since Davis enjoyed the animals at the Safari Park we figured we would tag along again. It wasn't near as nice as the Safari Park, more like a city zoo back home.

Parker was born in the year of the Monkey.

Wesley was born in the year of the Pig.

The highlight of our trip was the giraffes. We paid for the boys to be able to feed them and it was really a neat experience for them and to be SO close to the giraffes.

Bamboo path.

The red pandas in the trees were pretty cute too. 

Again with the sign translations.

The bears were pretty entertaining too. Someone was feeding them from up above. 

Back at the hotel we had lunch brought in and then 
Davis got to enjoy his birthday cake, compliments of The Garden Hotel. 
He loved the inside and we loved the outside shell!

Later while Davis was napping, Wesley and I went down to the United Airlines office and confirmed all of our tickets for our return flight on Friday. You know you are staying in a swanky hotel when most of the airlines have ticketing offices inside the hotel!

It also gave us a chance to see what was going on out front. Two days before they had covered up the entrance and rerouted all the traffic. Something about making the front entrance more grand. Wesley was impressed with the demolition.

For dinner that night we joined up with the Queen family again (from our time in Beijing) and went out to celebrate Davis' birthday at the Shanxi Noodle House. Sweet boy enjoyed his dinner - with the hot tea and the two egg custards plus the spicy noodles.

Annalisa Queen and her sons Matt and Hudson.

Grandmommy and Granddaddy with Daryl and Tom Queen.

We didn't drink any of this with dinner, but I couldn't resist getting a picture of the sign.
We stopped at the 7-11 for ice cream on the way home to the hotel - needed energy for the packing! 
It was to be our last night in The Garden Hotel and on the mainland of China.

The spectacular ceiling in the lobby.
The elaborate flower arrangement in the lobby - there were fish swimming in the middle of the bowl.

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