Saturday, January 16, 2016

An inauspicious welcome

We have arrived in Guangzhou. If I were feeling nice, I would leave it at that. I am not feeling nice. Evidently, the change of venue from province to Guangzhou for the visa paperwork is my own personal nadir in the adoption travel schedule.

I was really hoping it would be different this time. Our flight didn't leave at the crack of dawn, it wasn't delayed into Guangzhou (a minor miracle), and we were arriving in the middle of the day. We were set-up for it being a pretty smooth transition. Except...

This is probably not news to anyone, but China is not set-up as a country that makes life navigable for people with mobility issues. I was thrilled when we left Zhengzhou and actually were able to make use of a jet way to board the airplane. This was a marked improvement over the typical way of boarding aircraft here, which is get on a crowded bus with approximately five seats and take a ride out to the middle of the tarmac where you climb metal stairs to board. Often, when planes arrive at a terminal, we've also had a jet way, so I thought we were set. I got my hopes up too soon. No, this time, we arrived (possibly in Hong Kong and taxied back to Guangzhou) and stopped on the tarmac. This meant we had to descend the metal stairs and enter a bus to take us to the terminal. Now, while a pain, this is really not a problem if you are able bodied. Traveling with my two new daughters makes this far more a circus than it needs to be. J. was carrying most of the carry-on bags, and I had Y. by the hand with R. right behind me. This meant that we spent what seemed forever as I walked behind Y. holding her hand to keep her steady and to stop her from plummeting down the stairs if her legs suddenly buckled, while encouraging R. to keep moving and not just come to a dead stop and refuse to move. Like H. when we adopted her, R. seems to have some significant issues with depth perception. This makes doing things such as going down metal stairs that feel treacherous to begin with, feel really, really scary. R. tends to freeze when things feel scary. I was holding Y.'s hand, so I couldn't hold R.'s. It took us a long time to get down those stairs, with nearly the entire plane waiting behind us.

The bus was then navigated and we made it to the terminal without a disaster happening. Add in collecting luggage and helping two vaguely disregulated girls in the restroom with only Asian toilets, and I was wiped out even before we finally boarded the bus to get to the hotel. I was looking forward to getting to our room, settling in, heading down to the less-expensive hotel restaurant for dinner. (We had lunch on the plane, with breakfast hours earlier, but well, it was plane food.) We were hungry and tired. And trust me, things don't look so rosy when everyone is hungry and tired.

This could explain why my loathing of the Marriot China Hotel continues to know no bounds. It is a very nice looking hotel. Five stars, looks impressive, employs more people than some small countries... a pretty typical five-star hotel. (And I apologize if this sounds like sour grapes.) But, if you are an adopting family(or any family), it really kind of sucks. (Yes, you can tell by my language exactly how unhappy I am.) The rooms are pretty small, you are nickel-and-dimed for everything, despite the steep price tag, and we had to spend the first half an hour informing the front desk of everything that wasn't working. Most got resolved... the safe now works and there is a roll-away squeezed into the last empty space, but the sink still drains more slowly than the price tag warrants and some of the charging outlets still don't work.

Well, we got all that settled, squirreled the bags away in every available nook and cranny, and decided to take our overly tired and hungry children down to the restaurant. A pretty average-for-the-price and the only affordable restaurant in the hotel. (Did I mention it was now raining?) Except when we get there, we are told, rather rudely, that there are no more tables available. We can't eat there.

Just. Great.

I'll just spare you all the drama and end this sad saga by saying for the second visit to Guangzhou in a row, we have eaten McDonald's (which is not even a place we go to in the US, much less want to eat in China)for a late dinner in grumpy, grouchy moods in our hotel room. There are some other things that have made me tetchy, but this isn't the venue for them. I'll leave it at I'm just not good at top-down directions and schedules.

Tomorrow will be another day and we will sort ourselves out again. It's not a city that has over-done the welcome, though.

On another note, we have noticed that when Y. helps to push the luggage carts, she is far more stable and can go a lot faster than when she is trying to walk on her own. It makes us think that until we get her seen by the appropriate doctors and get her the appropriate braces and such, that a pediatric walker could make getting around outside the house so much easier for her. Do any of you, my faithful readers, have a pediatric walker just kicking around your house that we could borrow for a bit? Or know of where we could borrow one?

I'm going to stop here and go to bed now, and spare you all having to endure anymore of my bad mood.

3 comments:

Shecki Grtlyblesd said...

We actually DO have a pediatric walker. I think it would cost nearly as much to ship it to you as ordering a new one, though. Ours may be too little for your girl, as well. It's pretty darn tiny. The smallest one they make, actually. Ours is very like this one: http://amzn.to/1Q5FHus but in the TODDLER size, not child sized.

If you have a local friend at home who wants to help, you might ask them to call nearby med supply places and ask if they RENT child size walkers. If you only need it until you get her vision squared away, renting might be cheaper.

Have fun at the medical appointment! Hopefully tomorrow is a better day?

to china and back said...

There are lots of cheaper options around the hotel that you can walk to. There's a pretty good middle eastern restaurant that is very close by. Trying to think of what else--there's a big Chinese food place that Catherine (if you're with Holt) knows about because she took our big group there one time. But I was able to go on my own with the kids too. I got desperate enough to feed everyone noodle cups from the 7-11 a couple of times too. Or hot dogs. You can buy an umbrella stroller, too, if you end up deciding you need one.

Shriner's will come up with all kinds of amazing options eventually to make walking easier. It has been so long I have almost forgotten how much walking trouble I had with two of mine in Guangzhou. Now they have equipment and so pop along with no trouble whatsoever. I wanted to cry getting luggage and children around in China, though! Maybe I did cry. :)

Sherryanne said...

We have the walker that 5'0" tall Alicia no longer uses, if you would like that upon your return. I will leave it in my usual deposit spot tomorrow. I love to have Alicia push the grocery cart, as it stabilizes her and has room for her to take a step forward. BTW, we bought a cheap collapsable stroller for her to push in France. our coats and purses went into the stroller while she walked. With uneven pavement, it was better than having her ride in it.

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