I’m back to continue the recap of our adoption trip to bring Collins home. On our final full day in Beijing we loaded up the bus, once again sat in horrific traffic (do we sense a theme here?), and headed to The Great Wall of China.
Seeing the masterpiece that is The Great Wall truly is a once (or twice 😉 ) in a lifetime experience.
Anderson’s take on it? “This is awesome!” Not many first graders in Indiana can say they have walked on the wall.
This shot shows how steep most of the steps are. Straight up and a lot of the steps are tall. Like above my knee tall. Anderson was determined to be the first in our group to the top.
Meanwhile…Climbing these steps is hard work! (Notice him trekking along without us behind me. He did not want to get beat.)
First to the top! Mission accomplished!
When we adopted Quinn in 2015 our travel group sweet talked our guide into taking us to the Mutinayu portion of the great wall where we were able to take a ski lift up and a toboggan down. Unfortunately, this time we weren’t so lucky. Our agency typically takes groups to the Juyongguan area and that is where we went this time around. While it was nice to visit a different area, we MUCH preferred the Mutinayu portion from our previous trip. The highway literally ran right through this area of the wall which took away some of the charm, plus the views were not as vast. Our biggest disappointment with this portion of the trip was that Anderson didn’t get to experience the toboggan ride down the wall. That being said, it was still an adventure of a lifetime.
Why yes, I did bring my selfie stick. When in China…
Surveying his kingdom. The mountains are beautiful.
If you would have asked me in 2015, I NEVER would have guessed I would be standing on the Great Wall again with this guy.
Visitors had been using these little lookout towers as a restroom and the maintenance guy was not happy about it.
I’m pretty sure if I were stuck on the wall during a thunderstorm I would be more worried about all of the umbrellas and selfie sticks acting as lightning rods than the cell phone in my pocket.
He worked up an appetite climbing all of those stairs. Thankfully mama came prepared with an Oreo treat.
Shane is an excellent model of safe behavior.
Anderson wanted in on the selfie stick action.
What an amazing experience.
Once the group was loaded back onto the bus we made our way to a jade factory owned by the Chinese government. First we enjoyed a lunch served family style.
Lots of beautiful jade pieces plus an entire showroom of jewelry and souvenirs for sale.
Due to the, guess what???, traffic, we left the jade factory and headed straight to the acrobat show. Last time we opted out of this activity because we had heard mixed reviews. We figured it was something Anderson would enjoy, so this time we said yes. The show was in an old movie theater and was packed with people. Prior to the acrobat show there was some sort of charity auction where a gentleman wrote these huge scrolls then people bid/volunteered to go up on stage. All I know is that it was all in Mandarin and we had absolutely no idea what was going on. At that moment it hit me. This is what we will sound like to our new children. Someone speaking a million miles an hour in a different language and you have zero idea what they are talking about. It was a sobering moment.
The acrobat show turned out to be a lot of fun. Our favorite act was these two guys spinning around in two giant spinning hamster wheel type things. They had no fear! Another highlight was the motorcycles in the sphere. Anderson definitely loved that part.
After the show our guide handed each of us these awesome panda hats. Because nothing says “acrobat souvenir” like a winter panda hat. These silly hats turned out to be Quinn’s favorite thing we brought home.
Back at the hotel we headed out on our own for a bit more exploring. I know just reading that we were wandering around Beijing at night on our own is giving my mom hives. Sorry, mom! We found a delicious pizza place for dinner and Anderson fell asleep at the table. I wish I had snapped a pic!
All over China we encountered groups of people dancing, exercising, or other fun group activities. These folks were doing a beautiful dance with scarves.
The next morning we were fortunate to meet up with some friends from our previous travel group when we adopted Quinn. They live in Beijing and were kind enough to take us out for the morning (even though it was a rainy day). Anderson made quick friends with their little guy who insisted on holding his hand everywhere we went.
We had a delicious breakfast that included some of the best oatmeal I have ever had. Due to the nasty weather we just sat in the cafe and talked for a couple of hours while the boys ran around the table.
Channeling our inner Mary Poppins.
We absolutely LOVE this family! We are so grateful we were able to connect with them.
We said our goodbyes and it was time to head to the train station to make our way to Collins’ city of Zhengzhou. We got completely drenched on our way inside. All of those ponchos and umbrellas were doing us a lot of good inside our suitcases. Ha!
We made it inside! Time to find our train. The station was super busy but we stuck together as a giant group of American families and pushed our way to our gate.
We had about 10 minutes before our train boarded so we grabbed some golden arches for the ride.
When the train stops you only have a couple of minutes to disembark with all of your luggage before the doors close and the train departs for its next destination. We were a HUGE group with more luggage than you can even imagine. But we made it!
Hello, Zhengzhou. We meet again. Fun fact: both of our girls are from here.
After meeting our guides and depositing our luggage at the hotel, we headed to Carrefour. We were sad to learn that the Walmart across the street from our hotel had closed since our last trip. Thankfully the Carrefour is within walking distance. Our guides took us around and showed us where to find items like formula, diapers, and popular children’s snacks.
The day you arrive in your child’s province you are given a paper listing their daily schedule, sleep habits, favorite foods, and other bits of information. The information we received about Collins stated she was primarily formula fed and supplemented with rice and noodles. Her favorite foods were listed as apples and peaches. (Remember this tidbit of information because it comes into play later.) We also learned that she had recently been moved from the Show Hope unit in the orphanage to a foster family on site. It said “she cry every day since moving to foster family”. The thought that she had recently been moved from the only place she knew absolutely broke my heart for this little girl. Her world was about to be turned upside down again.
Finally, we headed out for a quick dinner and landed on these “Chinese hamburgers”. The best way I can describe it is a sloppy joe inside a flaky biscuit. At only about a dollar each, they were surprisingly tasty.
After dinner we settled in for our last night before meeting our girl. Up next is Gotcha Day! I can’t wait to share about the day we met our newest girl.