March 11, 2013

Day 7 in Guangzhou (and Hong Kong): LEAVING!!!

We spent our last day in Guangzhou doing pretty much nothing except impatiently waiting to leave. We had a late breakfast and spent the rest of the morning, organizing, folding, packing, weighing, re-organizing, re-weighing, etc. until we got everything to fit appropriately. Since we had to be checked out at 2pm but didn't leave until 4:30 we had some time to kill, so we mixed up some food for Meili and just hung out in the courtyard area on the fourth floor of the hotel to enjoy the nice weather before we left.

Believe it or not, it was ME that suggested we take a few pictures of our last few moments in China.

We're wearing our comfy sit-on-a-plane-for-20-hours clothes, but at least we captured the end of our trip :)

There is a cute little pagoda in the courtyard and I thought it might be a fitting place to take the last pictures...

....and these images pretty much sum up Meili's feelings about our last week there.

Oh poor Jon! How we BOTH wish she could be content with him!!

We received our documents from the consulate at 4:30 and immediately hopped into a van to drive to Hong Kong. Flights directly out of Guangzhou tend to leave at inopportune times of the night and only go to LA, so aren't very convenient for certain connections. It was a three hour trip to Hong Kong and Meili seemed nervous most of the time. Then we realized the last time she was in a van for three hours was when they gave her to us.

We thought maybe we'd get to see a little bit of the China countryside on this drive. We were WRONG. It was a three hour drive of giant, smoggy city after giant, smoggy city. If you live near me in the Midwest, next time you go outside take a big deep breath. And don't even complain if it's cold, because it's CLEAN. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate clean air now. We're convinced the reason we got these nasty colds is because of the air pollution. It's just flat-out disgusting.

Now, let me tell you about Hong Kong. I seriously considered writing a post entitled "Why I Hate Hong Kong" but decided against it simply because it just didn't seem very "nice." We should have known we wouldn't be thrilled with the place when our first experience there was at a Shell gas station that had ONLY squatty potties with no toilet paper in them. Or out of them. No toilet paper ANYWHERE. Or paper towels, or kleenexes. Awkward....

The plan was to spend the night there and get up to catch our 8:30 flight. So really we needed nothing more than a bed to crash in. However, we had been advised to stay in the hotel connected to the airport to make the morning easier. Ok, fine.

Oh, by the way, this hotel is super-nice and $250 a night. Grr....easy is good, so I guess that's fine too.
And the help there is rude. Good thing we won't be here long.
And you'll be starving after traveling for three hours and it has like 17 restaurants, but none of them are kid-friendly and none of them are cheap. Seriously?? 

So we ordered a pizza from the Italian restaurant. Cheese pizza. Meili was exhausted and there was no way I was waiting in the restaurant for it so Jon made them box it up and brought it up to our room. It was seriously the smallest, most expensive AND worst pizza I've ever had - at the same time. Tasted like the cardboard box it came in, was about 8 inches in diameter and cost $25. We actually laughed at it while eating it.

After having to pay $250 for the room, we got up early to eat breakfast at the included buffet. It paled in comparison to the other amazing buffets at our previous hotels. Our bill for this fine establishment when all was said and done: Just over $300. We could have stayed 5 more days in China for that!

We grabbed our luggage from the room and one piece promptly broke so Jon had to pull it apart to get the handle to go down. Because of this, we had to strap our two big suitcases together which made it impossible to get through the Hong Kong airport because for some reason they feel the need to put posts about 18 inches apart everywhere so you can't walk between them unless you have small pieces of luggage. So at every staircase or entry way we had to stop, unbuckle the suitcases, move them through one at a time, then attach them again on the other side. 

We wanted to exchange our money back to US dollars and of course, managed to get the guy who was a trainee and couldn't figure out how to do it properly....and waited....and waited....and waited....JUST GET US OUT OF HERE!!!

Thankfully, our flight was on time and we couldn't wait to get out of that city! The flight to Tokyo was about 3 hours and that little jaunt made our Tokyo to Minneapolis flight only 10.5 hours instead of the long 13-14 hour ones other families dealt with. I had initially just wanted to get it all over with at once, but I think the connection was a good thing.

Meili did amazing on both flights. I can tell ya'll were praying for us because based on our previous flying experiences with her, we expected these flights to be a NIGHTMARE. And they weren't at all. She slept for about an hour on the first flight, and about four ours on the long one.

She was entertained for at least half an hour by the crinkly pretzel and peanut snack bags.

A friend who arrived home with her son last Fall suggested a bag of toys that were saved for this flight so they would be "new" to Meili. GREAT advice. Coloring for the first time entertained her for over an hour.

By the time we got to Minneapolis, she was about ready to be done with it all. AND officially a US CITIZEN! I had an adorable dress that she wore for this event but after 23 hours of traveling, we forgot to take a pictures of it!

All three of us were asleep before our last flight from Minneapolis even left the ground, and we all woke up when we landed, so that one couldn't have gone any better!

Jon's sister did get one picture of her cute-ness when we landed.

My dad and Jon's sister met us at the airport and an hour later we were HOME.
And so, so glad to be there!

1 comment:

  1. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You made it! congrats! So great to see that adorable girl in person today, she is even cuter than her pictures if that is possible! So happy for all of you!