Well, this was an unusual day. After our traditional morning Hotel breakfast, we were off with our group first to drop off the other 5 families in our group at the American Consulate to get their child's Visa. For us, a trip back to the Exam office to have Shane's TB test read...which was negative! Yay! Since Shane is over 2, the test results are required prior to issuing the Visa so our Consular appointment had to wait for Wednesday. Other children in the group had children over 2, however since their children were adopted from Guangzhou and had their TB tests before we arrived here, they were 2 days ahead of us at the consulate.
After the TB check, we had a little adventure on the way back to pick up the others at the Embassy. A Toyota Camry side-swiped our bus and our driver and the Camry's were outside arguing. There was no damage to the bus and it appeared to no more that a paint mark or scrape on the Camry. But after about 15 mins of heated discussion, the bus driver gave the other driver 100 rmb ($16) and we were back on the road. For Shane, he was just happy to be out and about on the bus...he seems to really enjoy riding around on the bus.
We finally were reunited with our group, made a quick pit stop at the hotel to drop off passports and then were we're off for afternoon shopping and eating on Shamian Island. From Wikipedia: "The island's name literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese. The territory was divided into two concessions given to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing Dynasty government in the 19th century. The island is a gazetted historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and lined by historical buildings in various states of upkeep. The island is the location of several hotels, a youth hostel, restaurants andtourist shops selling curios and souvenirs.". The island has an architectural fill of old Charleston or New Orleans combined with the landscaping of Hawaii...beautiful Banyan trees, banana palms and other beautiful floors. It has beautiful walking streets that some wonderful bronze statues of charatures of Chinese and western folks from all periods. Since the scenery is so wonderful, this area is very popular for fashion photography as well as wedding pictures. We saw several models as well as wedding couples being photographed along the buildings and park areas. Today, the island also caters to the westerner with a few restaurants and a Starbucks that have menus that a nice alternative to the dominant Asian cuisine we had been mostly sampling everyday. Also, several shops are on the island that target western tourists with trinkets, tee shirts, children's shoes and just about anything else you could think of...of course it is buyer beware with many of the shops because quality is always suspect. What is nice is that a couple of these shops are Chinese Christian owned and so we concentrated much of our shopping with them. However, with the decrease of adoptions, it appeared that these shops may be struggling due to the drop in customers. For one shop owner, Jordan, he was being forced to close down in 5 days. You could tell he appeared worried, yet he was smiling and claiming that the Lord will continue to provide.
While on the island we had lunch at Lucy's...a restaurant that serves a little bit of everything from an American style hamburger, a little Italian, curry, and if you are still hungry for Chinese, they have that too. Susie and I decided to have a little of both by ordering Onion rings accompanied with a spicy chicken and peanuts dish. Of course we ordered fried noodles for Shane. All the food was good and quickly we were back out strolling the streets while Susie ducked in and out of shops. Susie was in the hunt for "squeaky shoes" and some Chinese dress clothes for Olivia and Shane. Yes, squeaky shoes are just what they sound like. They are shoes that make the rubber duck squeak sound every time the child steps--kids love them. For Shane who is a active toddler who seems to like to get into everything, knowing by sound where he is in the house will be an advantage. We quickly found out that Olivia was too big for the squeaky shoes, but there were still some adorable dress shoes that were her size.
After shopping we returned to our room to decompress. Shane really likes the hotel room and lights up any time we return. For him, I believe he feels safe. He also knows where Susie keeps all the snacks and he is quick to try and help himself. That evening the Hotel treated us to a room service delivered pizza. It was quite good and made for an easy dinner for Susie and I. Shane nibbled on the crusts and feasted on Chinese Cup Noodles which have Disney Characters decorating the cup.
After dinner, the Amercia World Adoption Agency groups that were staying in the hotel, a total of 15 families met at the play ground for a fellowship, trade emails, and finally to pray for all the children and families--especially one family whose child had been very sick with a fever for a few days. It was a great time for Shane as he played at the played at the play ground and somewhat interacted with the other children. You could tell he was beginning to feel pretty comfortable because he didn't have to have Susie or myself in eyesight. Because it was such a busy day, Shane hadn't taken a nap. For the most part he had done very well but by 7 pm we knew we needed to get him back to the room for his bath and bed. It had been another good day. We have a long ways to go with the bonding and building trust, but I believe he is beginning to recognize us somewhat as his parents. Tomorrow is basically a free day as we wil meet from some of our group for the last time for pictures and farewells. Most will either leave for Hong Kong tomorrow at 5 pm or Wednesday at 6 am.