So we went to China to adopt a daughter, and all we got (as a souvenir) was a box of rain. It has rained every day we have been here. The weather report has called the rain: “heavy,” “heavy at times,” “drenching,” “cloudy with a downpour.” Or the forecasters have given up and simply written “rain of varying rates.”
Saturday’s forecast was “heavy” with the obligatory Accuweather exclamation point. And so, there was no, or very little rain.
Our day inside a museum was scrapped for a trip to the Guangzhou Zoo, with its white tigers, pandas, and howling gibbons.
The zoo was a mix of old and new zoo cultures: cages with cement structures and glass walls for easy viewing; grassy, hilly, tree-filled expanses where the lemurs hid from view. In other words, very much like the Philadelphia Zoo, or any other zoo built in America in the 50’s that began reinventing itself in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s.
Then we went swimming. The Chinese phrase for go swimming sounds strangely like “Yo Yo Ma.” Shi Hui is not yet a swimmer. The pool at the orphanage was smallish, and only two feet or so deep. She loves to sit on the side and play catch, or ride on mama or papa from one side to the other.
A minor sprinkle sent us scurrying back inside at Shi Hui’s insistence. Why wait for thunder, when raindrops will suffice as a warning?
This time, no heavy rain, and so, back to the park, and Mei Mei (younger sister) had another adamant request. The “Rapid Torrents” ride. For 20 yuan a ticket papa, mama, and Mei Mei rode the one rise one fall log flume. Giddiness. Busch Gardens? Get ready.
Our day finally wrapped up with a search for clothes. I know, you’re thinking clothes for the new daughter, but no. Our adoption agency counseled bringing a small amount of travel wear, and planning on doing laundry once at the hotel. It’s a bite the bullet circumstance, since it costs 60 yuan to wash one t-shirt at the hotel. What, you don’t know the value of the yuan? 1 dollar=6 yuan. One time for laundry, and no, there are no coin operated laundromats around the corner.
Unfortunately, Ellen under-packed by about two days for her and Katherine, so instead of laundry? Clothes shopping. It’s less expensive to buy t-shirts and sock than wash them.
We started our mile long trek through the Yuexiu district by heading right out of our hotel, passing our favorite restaurants until we were in parts nearly unknown. Phones with gps and street maps? CHECK! We gave up on the clothes and decided just to head back to the hotel. Someone finally began to drag, and hitched a ride.
When we were 100 yards from the taxi entrance, what did we find? Clothing shops. 100 yards to the left. Rule of thumb? Go left.