Tuesday, August 30, 2005


We Made It!

Well, its 2am in the morning on Tuesday here and 2pm on Monday there. We are still messed up on the times zones, so after sleeping about 5 hours I got up and decided to let the outside world know that we made it here okay.

Saturday was hectic getting the house all closed up and the van packed for the trip. On top of that I had the great idea to let Tiana give me a haircut with the new clippers we bought. She usually does a great job but we hadn't used these clippers before and they had an angle guard to cut around the ears we thought we would test out. Well, if you've got an angle guard for your set of clippers go ahead and throw them away becuase they cut 4 lines in my head like pre-Surreal Life Vanilla Ice. I screamed, Tiana screamed, and she made an emergency hair appointment with her "stylist" Theresa. She was able to give me the "high and tight" military cut which eliminated the rapper hairstyle in due course.

The rest of Saturday went without event. We spend the night at Mom and Dad's house in Honor so we would be closer to the airport when we awoke at 6 a.m. the next morning. Only thing is, we were so excited we woke up about 3:30 a.m. instead. Reidar slept like a champ, though. So we gathered our stuff and drove to the airport. On our way past the mall a flock of ducks flew in front of the van and one of them bounced off of my front fender, falling lifelessly to the roadside. I wonder if the dead duck has some kind of meaningful Chinese mythological signifigance?

It must have been a good omen because we made it to Chicago just fine. While spending our layover in the terminal, I was able to watch 5 workmen wang away at the front wheel of our aircraft which had some type of malfunctin with one of its doors. It delayed the boarding of our 747, but we still took off about 12:30 CST. The flight was long but not as agonizing as we had expected. Our seats were close to the bathroom and Reidar was on his best behaviour for the entire trip. He played Gameboy and worked on activity books. He even slept for two 2-hour shifts. They fed us and gave us free booze, all of which we took complete advantage of. They also showed four or five movies which helped to pass the time. The size of the plane allowed us to walk about and chat with the other families on the trip who were also going to Beijing to start the adoption process with us. Tiana slept a bit but I only got in about 20 minutes of sleep despite the fact that I had plied my system with a couple of Bloody Mary's, two beers and a Xanax.

When we got to China 13 and a half hours later, we deplaned into the clean and architecturally elegant Beijing Inernational Airport. All of the families in our group except one found their luggage. One couple had the misfortune of what appeared to be an accidental switch up. Someone else grabbed one of their checked bags. Thank God I attached a pink bandana to each of our roll around bags to make them a little more identifiable among the sea of black luggage. We found our fabulous guide Joy who herded us all to a bus and we made the 20 minute or so drive to the Beijing International Hotel. At the hotel, we checked in and exchanged our money (8 Yuan to the dollar) and the porters brought our luggage to our door. One other family's luggage got lost in this process. Hopefully tomorrow we'll find out taht they got it back. The whole process seems pretty organized but I guess there is always something that happens during a trip like this.

The rooms are nice but when we first got there we couldn't get the lights to turn on. You have to insert your room key card into a slot which which keeps the power to your room on so you can use your lights and other appliances. We cleaned ourselves up and walked the 30 minutes or so down Long P Street to the Silk Alley shopping center. This is where the adventure began. We went with our new friends Jesse and Lisa from Indianapolis and for the four of us (plus Reidar) to walk down the long rows of designer bags, shoes, electronics, and clothing was difficult for two reasons. One: the ladies were determined to spend money. Two: the salespeople are so aggressive its like running the gauntlet in Midieval times. The constantaly cojole you, some grab you, and they won't take no for an answer. Inside of five minutes Tiana had two designer purses. The great thing is that whatever price they give you, you cut it in half and negotiate from there. The negotiations usually end up with the merchant being a little bid angry that you took advantage of them--thats how you know you got a good deal. We bought games for Reidar's game boy, some shirts, a complete silk Kung-Fu outfit emblazoned with a dragon for Reidar, and some silk clothes for the girls.

After shopping we were hungry but the only place we were brave enough to eat was the Pizza Hut down the street from the Hotel. We'll eat some authentic Chinese food at places approved by our guides. No need to get too adventurous right now.

We have to get up at 6 a.m. to climb the Great Wall tomorrow. We will also tour a Cloissone factory but I don't know what the hell that is so I'll fill you in tomorrow. They will give us some more free time in the afternoon so I think we'll go back to silk alley so we can buy some more cheapo stuff. They make it all right here you know! Then on Wednesday we'll go to the Forbiden City and take a rickshaw tour. We've already seen some interesting characters so this has all been quite an adventure so far.


I feel like I am right there with you.

Thanks for the update.

HEY!!! You can almost hear it even though I've typed it, right?! So thankful you all arrived safely. I'm loving this blog thing; can't wait to receive more updates. T -- keep up the shopping! Take care guys.

Love, Jen
I laughed out loud about the dead duck. It kind of seemed like a cartoon.
Cean and Tiana -
Our hearts are bursting with joy for your family - what an adventure. Thank you for including all of us in such an exciting event for your family. We will continue to look forward to and enjoy the update. Hugs and kisses for the big brother.

Judy O and Davy Crockett
PS I hope you made duck sauce!
Great to read about your adventure, Cean. Keep up the interesting news. Hope everything continues to go well!
Hi guys, we're SO glad to hear that you made it safely. It sounds like you're all doing well. We're loving Cean's updates, so keep 'em coming!

Kim & Ed Ng
Tiana and Cean,
Can hardly wait until you pick up your little girl. I shared your account of your trip with your Dad Tiana. He is living in a different century when it comes to the internet!
Thanks for the update. It's fun to follow your journey.

Love, Aunt Judie
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