We went to lunch at Lucy's and then headed down to the White Swan. There were lots and lots of families there waiting for the 1:45pm bus to the Consulate. We all got on the bus and took the 40 minute ride there. We went walked up to the 5th floor and then went through security before being hustled into the waiting room. We waited there until 3:30pm which gave us the opportunity to visit with other families that we hadn't seen before. It's always so interesting to hear how we've all been brought to the same place, although we've not all taken the same road. One mom has adopted 3 deaf children. Another family is made up of all little people. The mom and dad are both little people and their new Chinese daughter is a 9 year old little person. Some families have lots and lots of adopted children. One family was in China to adopt two children. It's just amazing to see how God has worked in our lives. I love it!
Once we got back to the island, we decided to 'walk across the bridge' to Guangzhou which is very different from the island. The island caters to adoptive families. There are lots of shops selling adoption souveniers like t-shirts, dresses, shoes, etc. The island is also pretty western. Most every one speaks English or at least just a little. As I said in an earlier post, it feels like Savannah or New Orleans here. The buildings are Western, there are huge trees that line the streets with Spanish moss swaying in the breeze, and people walking everywhere. The thing I've noticed about Shamian Island, it is THE place to have your wedding pictures. Every day, with the exception of today strangely, there have been no less than 5 bride and grooms having their pictures made. The dresses are beautiful. Not all of the girls have veils, some have little teeny tiny hats with feathers, lace, or some other kind of doodads on them. It's kind of cool. But not only can you have your wedding pictures taken here. No, you can have some MODELING photos taken, too. We've gotten a few giggles watching the girls either try to change in the street or climb into the little pop up tent that serves at a wardrobe room. It certainly makes walking around more fun!
Ok, so back to my original thought. We decided to walk across the bridge. I had only been over there by foot once before and it was getting late so I didn't get to stay long. It was also getting late when we walked across tonight, but it only added to the circus like atmosphere. We walked through the Chinese medicine area where you can find all sorts of herbs and things, from mushrooms to dried lizards splayed out on sticks. All of the shops are very tiny, about the size of a master bedroom closet, and the walls and sidewalks in front are lined with either jars or large bags filled with stuff. Once you get passed the medicine market, you get to the pet area. There are the same kinds of shops but these people are selling pets. Cats, kittens, puppies, fish, turtles, lizards, you name it. They have it all. They also have 50 lb bags of dog food that are open and you can buy by the scoop or bag. There are pet beds, toys, mats, leashes, collars, and bowls. And I can't leave out the fish bowls, aquarium decorations, and plants. It's very interesting.
Once, you get through all of that, there are lots of real shops that sell clothing, shoes, sock, undies, jewelry, street food, books, makeup, and I'm sure more, but I've drawn a blank. The streets are closed to cars and there are hundreds of people walking around. The buildings look fairly new and there are brightly lit signs on them. Some stores have people standing out front clapping and yelling to try to get you to come into their store. And then, there are some alley ways in between the stores that also have things to buy. They are a little bit scary so we only went down one. Anyway, we walked around for awhile. Our friends, Karen, Ethan, and Mei Mei, were with us. She bought a few things. Then we ate at McDonald's and while we were there, we saw our friends, Kimberly, Abby, Wei Me, and Grandma. It's nice accidently running into people you know when you feel like you're a million miles away from familiar.
We headed back to the island late and the babies were a littel cranky. We got Parker ready for bed and of course, no matter how tired he is, he wants to talk it up at bedtime. That, of course, is how I know he is MINE! :o)
I hope you have a great day!