Piper Files

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tiananmen Square/Forbidden City

August 11, 2006

Right now, it is about 5:45 am. Why are we up at this point in the day? We have been asking the same question now for about 2 hours. After a very long and tiring day that started at 3:30 in the morning (home time), we finally went to bed last night at about 10 pm (China time). With about 30 hours since we woke up to go to the airport, we figured we would be ready to sleep in a little this morning. No such luck. At about 4 am, we both woke up, and have been wide-awake since then.

Our travel was uneventful, but long. We met two of the other families from our group in Chicago and have traveled with them since. One of the families, like us are about to meet their first child. The other family is completing their second adoption, and is traveling with their 8 year-old daughter. Everyone’s luggage made the journey safely, even though there were a few tense moments as we waited for the our bags to make there appearance. We quickly made our way through customs, and into the largest sea of people we have ever seen. In the crowd, we were able to spot William, our Beijing guide.

On the bus ride to the hotel, we were told that he had just spoken to Piper’s orphanage director that morning, and that all babies are doing well. We will me the director along with the baby’s care-givers on Sunday. While it wasn’t a lot of information, it was wonderful to hear about our daughters. It is so hard to imagine, but on Sunday, we will hold Piper in our arms. We were told that the girls from Jiangxi are often referred to as “spice girls”. This is in reference to the spicy food of the region as well as their hot temper. I think she will fit in with our family perfectly.

After we checked into the hotel, exchanged some currency, we were off to see the Beijing Acrobats. While all of us were extremely tired, the show was enjoyed by all of us. It has been cloudy and rainy since our flight landed. We are told Beijing is normally dry, and that it rains for important people to visit.

Flight Information (for Papa and Buster). Our flight to Chicago was very short, and uneventful. We were in the very back row of the CRJ-700. Landing at Chicago, we had a 5-knot wind from the SE. After a 4-hour layover, we boarded the 747-400 that would be home for the next 13+ hours. Luckily for us, we were not in the last row this time. We sat in row 46. This is an exit row, and provided us with a much leg-room as we wanted. However, it was right next to the galley, and the extra activity in this made sleep more difficult. The rain and storms in the Beijing area forced us to travel west of Beijing, and circle back.

Today, we are off for some sight seeing, and we will welcome the other families as they arrive.

Aug 11, 2006 (Part II)

After an early morning of not being able to sleep (as noted above) we started today with a wonderful breakfast and more time getting to know the families that had already arrived. Shortly after breakfast, we welcomed another family in our travel group. They actually arrived late last night, but today was our first chance to meet them. It has been wonderful to meet and get to know those that have been on this journey with us. We were then off to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The size of both these areas was more than we ever imagined. While very much enjoyed, the combination of lack of sleep, heat, and humidity made for a long day.

Everywhere you look in Beijing, you can see signs of the city preparing for the 2008 Olympics. We have seen many signs counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the opening ceremony. Other signs of the coming games include improvements throughout Beijing. Many parts of the Forbidden City are currently undergoing restoration.

After our time sight seeing, we returned to our hotel to meet one more family. The final three families will arrive later this evening. Tomorrow we are will visit the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. Sunday, it is off to Nanchang where we will meet Piper.