Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day


This morning is the 26th for us but I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas. Yesterday, our Christmas was all about travel and crying. Our guide Erin brought Xiao Chun' s (or Chun-Chun as we call her) passport and came back at 1:30 to take us to the airport. Chun-Chun has a fussy time after breakfast each day and takes a short nap. Problem is that she's also fussy and crying after her nap. Then she's fussy and crying packing, getting ready, getting into the taxi and going through airport security. I'm sure by now the CCAA is getting letters from Chinese travelers about how we ever qualified to be parents for this unhappy child.

I have to take a moment here to explain something to the reader. Xiao Chun comes from the poorest province in China. She was raised in a city called Bengbu where I'm sure she rode in a bus and car before and is familiar with the sound, motion and smells associated with this kind of transportation. I'm also sure that she's seen a "Fei Ji" flying overhead. She's made comments about them before. However, she was COMPLETELY unprepared for what was about to happen.

Getting on the plane involved more being picked up, pushed around, getting strapped in and generally being restricted. Soon we were somewhat settled (with some tears) when the pilot decided it was time to start the engines. Poor Chun-Chun immediately shot straight up in her seat restricted only by her seat belt. It was as if she were filled with helium with both arms and legs sticking straight up in the air. I swear her face turned purple with a look of sheer terror. She was positive that (2012 aside) this was the end of the world.

After we were in the air she cried herself to sleep which gave everyone a break. It's a really good thing that her foster parents sent her with her favorite security blanket. We wrapped her up in it and she sucked on the corner until she fell asleep. This lasted for a good part of the flight until we began descent, then there was more crying. Once we were on the ground, I stood her up in her seat to get her ready to go again. Again, I'm sure there were a lot of people who wondered how we thought we could be parents.

We were greeted by our guide from Holt and arrived at our hotel, The White Swan, shortly after sunset. We all agreed that Chun-Chun was too weirded out to go to a restaurant and I was delegated to go in search of take out. This is when my adventure began.

Something I've noticed about the Chinese is that they like to have an excuse for a party or banquet and Christmas is a really good excuse. The streets became pedestrian zones by unanimous acclamation due to the fact that there were so many people walking in the streets that cars couldn't move. I had found in my research of Shamian Island that there was a McDonald's here (later I learned they had closed). Failing that I thought I'd try to find a restaurant that would do a take out order. I began walking and walking and came upon a store called Susan's place that advertised they were a grocery, gift shop, laundry and everything else. I stopped in to look around (there really wasn't much in the way of groceries) and the owner, Dong, invited me to have tea with him and his two CHICOM soldier friends. Dude, I had tea with the RED CHINESE! We had a nice conversation about Florida, my job, cooking, etc.

Dong gave me the use of a stroller and a "special discount" for laundry. I really had to extricate myself and continue my fruitless search. I went to a couple of restaurants who were completely unfamiliar with the concept of take out. Then I remembered that there was a Pizza Hut that delivered to the White Swan. I bought adult beverages and headed back. Poor Chun-Chun was in her crib crying and unable to go to sleep. I laid her down on her back and BOINK! she was out--score one for dad!

As far as Pizza Hut goes - they apparently will not deliver to the White Swan anymore. It seems a hotel staffer once refused to permit an employee on the property so they won't deliver here. I asked the management about this and the response was that it was nonsense. Pizza Hut can wait in the lobby while the customer can come down to get his pizza. When I called again to place my order, the English speaking order taker never called my room back. We had to make do with leftover snacks from the airline for dinner.

Let Pizza Hut know what you think:

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