I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post more updates! We figured out how to use our internet in Xi'an as we were walking out the door so I had no time there so today is the first chance I've had to be online since we got here. But I'm keeping a journal on my computer so I remember everything.
Also, no pictures. Sorry. I'll get some as soon as I have a chance and choose posting over a nap (probably never... ha) Our time here has been amazing and I can't believe it's been almost a week since we left home. There's a lot of things we miss but I've relaxed and am enjoying this country and especially the people so much. Don't be surprised if I come home with twenty Chinese children.
Well we made it to the hotel, uh… I don’t even know what night, Thursday? Thursday I think. We were behind the other car by a fair amount so when we finally got to the hotel we assumed they’d be there already. It was 1:00am, too, so not much was happening. We finally got a hold of the other car and they had taken a wrong turn and were lost [google maps: 1 iPhone navigator: 0]. When they eventually got there they went to check in and the hotel had overbooked their room and given it to the other people who rented it. REALLY!? So they called another hotel (a 15 minute drive away) and got them a room there. Just how we wanted the trip to start.
Hannah, Rachel, Madeline, Jeremy and I were in the one room that didn’t get taken. We pretty much went right to sleep. Madeline didn’t sleep horribly that night, but it wasn’t her best night either. We got up with more than enough time to shower and eat breakfast. When we got to the typical continental breakfast the hotel provided we were the only Caucasians. Culture shock got a head start on us. At the other hotel, breakfast was not provided and about $12 a person so we told dad we’d get them some food from ours before it closed because they wouldn’t get to our hotel in time. I sent Jeremy, Hannah, and Rachel down to get muffins. They came back with one for everyone. So I suggested they go back and get a few more. They also brought back yogurt and then I sent Jeremy down for some sausage. After three or four trips to the lobby we got a call from Dad saying their hotel let them have breakfast for free….. oops. We just left the fifteen muffins, eight yogurts and ten sausages in our room. Happy eating housekeeping!
We took shuttles to the airport. Everybody that saw us loading up the two vans to get there kept telling us we were crazy. At one point I asked dad, “Are you sick of being called crazy yet?” We were quite the sight scurrying through the Seattle Airport. Each of us has our own carry on suitcase because we’re too afraid we’ll loose our baggage checking it. We also all have a back pack along with two strollers. One for Elizabeth and one for Madeline. Oh and two boosters (that we haven’t even used) and a carseat (which sadly hasn’t been used too much either). We ate our last meal in the US at the RunWay Grill. We all ordered a cheeseburger thinking what a great way that would be to leave the country. It was n.a.s.t.y. and way over priced. But hey it filled our bellies.
They let us board first. Something about thing we’d take forever? Weird. Right before we boarded one of the stewardess called my name over the intercom. “Woolis, Saaawah”. I don’t know how I even knew that was my name. The lady was Chinese. Chinese airline so even in Seattle everyone that had anything to do with our flight was Chinese. She wanted to tell me they didn’t have a basinett for Madeline. They were supposed to have one but it didn’t get here in time. We hadn’t asked for one so I was like, “Oh don’t worry about it! We didn’t think we’d have one.” She was extremely relieved. Like she thought I’d bite off her head or something if they didn’t have one. We boarded and were pleased to find out we were in the first row behind first class so we had TONS of leg room! How often can you say that when flying? Sorry for the rest of my family they were a lot further back and in much tighter seats. Sorry!
Overall the flight was pretty good. Madeline had a REALLY hard time falling asleep. She sleeps really well in her crib, but she’s out of the snuggle-and-fall-asleep-in-your-arms stage. She took a short nap during the first half of the flight and then slept for almost the entire second half. 5 hours! Awesome! They gave us a meal about an hour into the ten hour flight. Rice with some chicken that I didn’t attempt. It also had some steamed vegetables which were pretty good. I’m kind of a picky eater. The goal is to lose like ten pounds this trip :) After our first meal they dimmed the lights and made us feel like it was time for bed even though it was only 4:00. We got another meal about two hours before we landed. As we were descending the plane kind of dipped a couple times and made all of our stomachs feel like we were on the tower of terror. Scary. Just then Jeremy pointed out the window and we saw a bunch of lightning. I didn’t think we were going to make it to China alive. But we did. Phew You’ll never guess what the first thing we did was when we got off the plane. We ran to the bathrooms to see if squatty potties were a really existed. We just wanted to make sure people weren’t making that up. They’re real. And they stink. I think that’s one thing I’ll never miss about China. It smells like smoke and porta-potties everywhere.
Our ten hour flight only took us to Beijing and then we had a five hour layover and another flight to Xi’an. We got to Xi’an after midnight China time. I don’t know what time it was in Spokane, but regardless we were really confused. We all took naps on the floor of the airport in Beijing. We met our guide, Sally (that’s the English name she chose) and she led us to the bus that was our transportation for most of our time in Xi’an. It was SO NICE to have someone to translate. The language barrier is HUGE! I had no idea it would be such a challenge. We got checked into our hotel and just about collapsed. A bed never looked so beautiful to me.