Our flight from Newark to Beijing was uneventful other than I did not know I had to order a vegetarian meal ahead of time, rookie traveler mistake! I made do with the side dishes and Heather shared parts of her meals with me so I didn't starve for the FOURTEEN HOURS we are flying. I am by no means a world traveler so thought it was so neat that on the video monitors around the plane it listed how far we had gone, how many more miles to go, local time and even showed us our route we traveled, so cool! We flew at 40,000 and the lowest the outside temperature was recorded was -92! We did fly through Greenland and Siberia so that explains the temperature.
We arrived in the Beijing airport and went through customs and security with no problems. We did, however, notice how conspicuous we were! We were quite literally the only Caucasians in the entire airport and we certainly got our share of stares and pointing, oh well:) We ventured around a bit and finally settled on a restaurant to eat in and had to order based on the pictures, thank goodness for pictures! Heather got spring rolls and I got vegetable noodles. Another rookie mistake is not carrying my own silverware but I did quite well with my chopsticks and Heather only laughed at me through half the meal. We wanted to take pictures around the airport but there were several signs saying no pictures so we decided we didn't want to push our luck.
We had a long layover so just walked around or sat until our flight out to Nanchang. By the time our flight boarded we were literally sleepwalking, I have never been so tired in my entire life! We were the only Caucasians on the plane of 120ish passengers. It doesn't help that we are both tall so are a bit more conspicuous than normal. We took our seats and both fell asleep before the plane even took off. Heather is a much better sleeper/traveler than me, I wasn't able to sleep much (even with Tylenol PM) because my mind was just racing.
We were met at the Nanchang airport by a man holding a sign with our agency name on it, made us feel a bit important! He never said a word to us, just nodded, took my big suitcase and gave me his cell phone. On the phone was our Nanchang guide, Maggie. She welcomed us to Nanchang and told us about our drive to the hotel and explained how she knew we were tired so already called ahead and checked us into our hotel............WONDERFUL! Our driver just turned around and walked outside so we followed him around the dark parking lot until we got to his car and then spent a harrowing 30- minutes driving to the hotel. The cultural norms are different here than what I am used to, lanes are not for staying in, turn signals are not used but horns are! LOL And although I am trying to follow the cultural norms and agency recommendations, I already did one thing wrong! When we got to the hotel, our driver helped us with our bags and then transferred us to the hotel busboys. I turned around to give him money for a tip and he was gone! I feel awful about it but know I will probably embarass myself many more times during our stay here in China:)
We walked into our hotel lobby and were amazed by how nice this place is. We had no less than 4 busboys help us with our bags and up to our room. Here is the lobby...............
Overall we are doing well, we were able to sleep about 5 hours last night so that is good. We will head down to breakfast in a few, I know we am starving! I was able to skype with Tony and the boys this morning so that felt great. The boys excitedly told me about their days and Ben asked, "Where's the baby?" , "Are you coming home the next day" and "Can I have a yogurt stick, Mommy?"....adorable! Our guide here in Nanchang said she would be here around 2 today and then we hope to go get a few things, stroller, water, etc.
This entire trip has felt like a dream, part of me doesn't believe this is actually happening, that I am actually in China to meet my daughter! Tomorrow is the big day (Sunday night for everyone in the US as there is a 13-hour time difference) and I will meet my daughter.....SURREAL! Will share another picture of Miss E, cannot wait to see a smile on that face!
Will post more tomorrow about our meeting with Ellie, I have never been more nervous in my life! Well, maybe not since yesterday when I flew across the world:) Thanks for your support everyone, love you and miss you all!