Saturday, December 8, 2007


Several days ago, Jacquie and I discussed that we count ourselves truly lucky to have experienced so many different regions of China, with varying customs, dialects, cuisine and geography. We have seen farmlands and cities, oceans and mountains, beaches and golf courses. We have seen farms from right out of a Pearl Buck novel and fast-paced cities that are well into the 21st century. This is our daughter's birthplace in all its glory.

We have left the island of Hainan and gone north to Guangzhou, where we will get our daughter an American visa and officially make her a citizen at the consulate here. Xiao-Ling approves of our room, and indeed has already declared her bed to be bounce-worthy. She also tried the pool with her mom, but it was too cold.

Guangzhou is in some ways the most "Westernized" city we've been to so far. McDonalds, 7-11's and Pizza Huts are in abundance here, catering to Westerners who cannot abide the thought of being away from American cuisine. On a walk near the hotel, I found several sidewalk vendors selling what looked suspiciously like chicken feet and duck bills, which I confess to be too cowardly to try without the support of my family. Maybe later.

While waiting for our flight at the Sanya airport this morning, I finally got my coconut. For 15 yuan (about $2) I bought a fresh-off-the-tree coconut. As I watched, the man at the bar bored a hole in it, inserted a straw and handed it over. Fresh coconut milk is truly delicious, sweet without being overpowering,

We have finally joined forces with the other CHI families, with their new children from all over China. All of them (the children, that is) are adorable infants, although we of course are proud enough to claim that our Xiao-Ling is the most adorable of the lot.

Tomorrow is a free day, and we get down to work with medical exams and consular paperwork on Monday.

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