Destination Shanghai
On our last morning, the hotel staff gave us baby dishes for breakfast.  Perhaps they are happy to see us go?

On our last morning, the hotel staff gave us baby dishes for breakfast. Perhaps they are happy to see us go?

Ready to leave Beijing South rail station.

Ready to leave Beijing South rail station.

We left Beijing without a hitch and after a nearly 6 hour ride on the bullet train, we made it to Shanghai. The bullet train wasn’t quite the experience we thought it might be, so we’ll be glad to fly to our next destination. It felt like an airplane as far as the seats and setup (but more to look at out the window, a definite advantage), with the exception of food and drink services. Well, if you are Chinese, you can figure out what to do to get food, but apparently the clueless white people starve. Since we’ve been getting up at 4:30 AM, we’ve been eating early breakfasts, and our train left at 11. We were picturing lunch served on the train for a 6 hour ride. Picture this instead. Me, wandering up and down the aisles, embarrassing the family as I scavenged for food, asking “noodles?” and making the motion for ‘eat’ and pointing at random people’s noodle bowls trying to communicate. Twice I got shooed away and one of the janitor ladies and I tried to have an awkward conversation before she pointed me into the bathroom and laughed and left. Now I fully understand why the people dispersed at the Tower of Babel. Awkward! Finally, Grace noticed a picture of a fork and knife with an arrow pointing in the direction of the back of the train. Duh. We walked about the length of 5 cars and found, lo and behold, a food car! Nothing on it was recognizable except a few bags of nuts and some tiny ramen type cups, which were actually some sort of egg soup (the people with the noodle bowls brought their own- clearly if you are Chinese you know how to do train travel here), but we happily ordered some of that and left the poor train patrons alone after that. I’m glad I will never see any of these people again.

 

 

Corin using his intellect and charm to engage a young Chinese woman.  A chip off the old block!

Corin using his intellect and charm to engage a young Chinese woman. A chip off the old block!

Beauty and cuteness at 307 km per hour.

Beauty and cuteness at 307 km per hour.

We were thrilled when we arrived in Shanghai to see diversity! This place is much more hip and modern and familiar- yay! We drove with our guide, Maggie, about 40 minutes to our hotel downtown- a Marriott Courtyard, but unlike any Courtyard you may be envisioning. While it counts as a 2 star hotel here (so we had enough Marriott points to stay the 5 nights here, in two rooms, FREE!) it is more along the lines of a 4-5 star hotel back home. Marriott employees meeting you at the curb, helping with bags, taking you to your room, another worker standing at the elevator to push the button for you…seriously, top notch service in China. We hurried to drop off our stuff while two workers came in to literally pry the stuck together (with tape) connecting doors to our two rooms apart with tools. Apparently no one usually requests a connecting room. Joey has a friend who lives here in Shanghai that he went to West Point with, and he took us to a Brazilian Steakhouse in an upscale mall across the street for dinner. We were famished and stuffed ourselves silly- and it was a nice change of pace from the traditional food we’ve been eating each meal. I’m not overly anxious to go back to this area again, however, because in order to get there, you have to risk your life crossing the street. While there is a pedestrian crosswalk, pedestrians NEVER have the right of way here, and cars never stop for you. You have to basically play frogger with your life, darting in and out of traffic hoping you can outrun the rapidly approaching vehicles, making sure not to gamble with the huge buses, but taking your chances on the smaller cars. However, walking is often preferred to driving, which is also a risk of your life, since road rules are either non-existent, or just ignored and seen as ‘advisory’ and not mandatory. People even drive up on the sidewalks to get around each other, another problem if you are a pedestrian. Sidewalks aren’t even safe.

Shanghai, translated, means, "upon the sea".

Shanghai, translated, means, “upon the sea”.

Shanghai, we have arrived!

Shanghai, we have arrived!

We made it back to the room and prepared to meet Carrigan- unpacking and setting up his things and a bag to take with us to meet him tomorrow. I’ve stared at every little Chinese boy we’ve seen (staring is not at all rude here, so I’ve had no qualms about it- in fact, it is not considered rude at all for the waiters/servers/workers at restaurants to come out from the back and gather around your table, staring at you while you eat and talking about you and pointing), wondering how big Carrigan will be and imagining what he will be like. We will be meeting him at about 9:30 AM (PM Eastern Time Zone in the U.S.) TODAY!! We are so excited and just cannot believe it is already here- it feels so surreal. Please pray for him as he leaves everything he has ever known to be thrust into the arms of complete strangers today. While we are excited and happy, adoption is painful and difficult and begins with tragedy. We have missed the most formative first 5 years of his life, and we have a lot of time to make up for with him. The healing begins today!!