We made it through the spice market and I got some good photos. I will try to load the one with the lizard skins stretched onto sticks. I have no idea why one would want such a thing, and John was not with us to ask, but I assume it is on the order of the leg part. This is the year of the dragon, which is lucky, and he made the comment lizards might be the most sold pet this year, so maybe it is lucky to have the skin of one in your home? I was glad I bought the girls matching t-shirts at the Safari Park yesterday, as they were easy to spot together in the huge shopping crowds - two white t-shirts together really stood out!
Aleah has bug bites covering her legs from the Safari Park and Ava took us to a Chinese pharmacy, where she had me purchase Chinese medicine called "Gold Medal Medicated Oil." Per the instructions, it is good for: "Relief of Giddiness and Headache, Colds, Influenza, Nose Block, Travel Sickness, Sprains, Muscular Pain and Insect Bite." It is made of Menthol Crystal and Eucalyptus Oil, Camphor, and other things. When the girls ran ahead of me down the sidewalk on the way home, I didn't have to wonder where they were - I just followed the smell!!
John asked me about where we lived this morning. I told him I am worried Ava might not like it, as it is in the country and not in a city, nor even near one. He asked how far away it is to the nearest neighbor. I told him maybe a quarter mile, but our driveway was as long as the Mariott is wide. John said "That is like a palace." I laughed and said "Oh no! It's not!" (It's a modular home.) John asked "How many driveways have you seen in China?" REALLY GOOD POINT!! Then John said he would like it there because he is "so used to living with so many people." He thought it sounded wonderful "to get away from all the people and have your own 'space.'" We'll see . . . . Poor little Ava will be culture shocked!
We said good-bye to the other family we have been with today. They will take the train to Hong Kong tomorrow night and we will leave for the airport the next morning. They have been so gracious to spend time with us and offer to take us places. They are a wonderful family and I know they will do well with this adopted little girl who already adores her "baba" (father). Interestingly, she likes Ava, but they cannot communicate, as the little one only speaks Cantonese. Yesterday they were playing pat-a-cake through the glass window of the Marriott until a Chinese cleaning lady came by with a basket strapped to her hip that had a cleaning cloth in it and she chased them away by washing their fingerprints from the glass!
Other American parents told me they had no choice in how they exited China, and were told to take the train to Hong Kong, then fly out. I was given a choice and thought the train sounded like an adventure, but the family before me took the train to Hong Kong and said there was a "monster" line at the airport and they couldn't get seats together. Aleah did not want to fly if she couldn't sit with me, and vice versa, so we gave up that idea. We will fly to Shanghai and then on to Chicago. At least one other family will be flying into Chicago from Hong Kong. Perhaps we will see one another there. They have adopted a Chinese daughter and two Haitian children already. This one was an adorable little toddler boy! I saw one single mom trying to hold her toddler on one hip while trying to manage her paperwork with the other hand. Adoptive families are always so friendly! As you meet them in the street in Guangzhou (where all the families have to exit), they ask questions and offer advice - about restaurants, places to shop, things to do, where to find necessary items, how much things costs, etc.
We will miss our 7-11 next door. We went early one morning and it was full of school children stopping off for their breakfast. One teen girl knocked a shelf off of chewing gum (in white plastic bottles) and the lady at the cash register came around and slammed the shelf back on, then kept slamming the bottles of gum onto the shelf so hard they kept bouncing off. She was soooooo angry! I can only assume she was short-handed, as there are usually at least two workers there. Another morning there were two police officers there (young boys) buying breakfast for about six people. I guess it is not only in America that law enforcement officers gather at the local eatery!
I had planned to eat at the Cantonese restaurant John told me about, but we could not find it! Possibly we did not walk far enough, but I walked long enough to have blisters on my feet and still we did not see it. We did find a candy store, and Aleah found a candy that smelled familiar to her from when she lived here. I bought some for her and she had me try it. It was some type of dried fruit. They sugar their fruit and dry it and sell it as "candy." When we couldn't find the Cantonese restaurant, we just told Ava to find us noodles. She seems to know the places to go to find noodles! They actually offered "hot pot" there, but she did not order it. I was so surprised! Evidently, she must love noodles more than "hot pot." I had roast duck with noodles and a boiled egg floating in the soup. It was good!
The girls found a little shop equivalent to our "dollar stores" in America. There they showed me a little wooden box that said "A Surprise For You Inside." I opened it and a black rubber lizard flipped up and out at me. I was quite startled and they found that quite hilarious! During our dinner, they recounted the story and laughed some more! I can see they're going to gang up on me!!
Tomorrow we only have one thing on our agenda - to be in the hotel around 5:00 when John will deliver Ava's Chinese passport with her Visa stamp allowing her to enter America. When we land in Chicago, we have been told we can go through either line - the immigration line or the regular line, whichever is shorter. They recommend the regular line, as it is quicker. John will bring me a sealed packet of documents and when it is opened in Chicago, that is the moment Ava becomes a U.S. citizen! She will receive her citizenship certificate in the mail a few weeks from now. An entire year's worth of paperwork is finally drawing to an end!!
I will close this and try to post some photos! Looking forward to a good night's sleep and maybe sleeping in tomorrow morning!!