Beijing – Day 3 The Sand Storm

Wow, today turned out completely different than we expected. We slept in until 8am and had breakfast, then called our facilitator/guide Sara to ask a few questions Then we were going to walk around the city a bit, maybe find a park then re-pack for the next flight.

One concern was when and how we were going to exchange the large amount of cash we needed in Yuan and whether or not they would accept the new Canadian bills we brought. She advised we go across the street to the huge Swiss hotel where there is a Bank of China. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a teller who spoke English so there was a fair bit of confusion. We were too far from the Apple store to inquire πŸ™‚ but after 10 minutes a woman came over who had enough English to fill us in. We were limited in the amount we were permitted to exchange in one day but the Canadian bills were fine. We panicked briefly because we needed the money for the next day (a Sunday) but luckily we discovered that Mom and I could split it up between us and that would cover what we needed. Whew! We were very successful once we’d figured it all out and walked away like we’d just held up the bank. The currency is in much smaller denominations so we had stacks of bills like you see in the movies! Quite a heist πŸ˜‰ I put it in my money belt and I looked pregnant…how fitting!

Our next question to Sara was where I could purchase a SIM card for my iPad. She’s not that tech-saavy so she sent her 22yr old daughter Kimberly to help me out. She was so sweet!! She travelled 40 minutes on transit to meet me. Mom stayed at the hotel. Kimberly and I walked back to our old familiar “Yorkville” haunt and….wait for it…went to the Apple store to ask their advice πŸ™‚ We couldn’t get a definitive answer after trying a couple of places but she called our hotel in Nanchang to check on the wifi situation and I think we’ll be ok. I took her out for coffee afterwards to thank her – she showed me a fantastic cafe that we will definitely be going back to. The Wagas. I had a coconut latte. Upstairs from a very overpriced & packed Starbucks. Apparently no one in China used to walk around outside with their beverages until Starbucks arrived 10 years ago. Then it became a status symbol to walk with your cup, showing your Starbucks logo to the world.

The weather according to my App was supposed to be quite nice today. It didn’t show that there was actually a Sand Storm coming and sure enough, Kimberly and I were out in some of it. Super strong winds and the “sand” is actually particles of pollution that come from the northern factories or from Mongolia (I think she said). You can’t exactly see the “sand” but you can feel it in your eyes and mouth. Hours later now, I’m really feeling it in my throat. Most people were wearing masks today (you can buy them at the 7/11). It was nasty but in a few hours it had blown through and the air was the cleanest it has been since we got here.

When I got back Mom and I had to repack because the weight restrictions are different for inter-country flights. I left my largest suitcase here with a some things we won’t need right away and took my smallest case with my clothes and a medium one perfectly packed with all things Katie.

I have the most brilliant travel scale so we can weigh out suitcases before we leave. Wouldn’t you know the batteries died in just a few minutes, right when I needed it most. Tim…I never managed to get the extra one before I left – you were right!!! I got some help at the front desk and made my way to a local supermarket up the street where they had a small booth with a guy who installed watch batteries. Success!!

The rest of the travel group arrived today and we met Sara in person. She is lovely. She had been facilitating these adoptions for 15 years so I feel like we’re in good hands. We leave at 6:30am and hopefully arrive at the hotel in Nanchang before noon. We just found out that Cindy and Tyler have arrived there safe and sound so we’ll see them tomorrow!!!

Our group will be receiving our babies at our hotel tomorrow (Sunday March 10th) at 4:30pm!!!
One more sleep to Katie Day!!




9 Comments (+add yours?)

    Mar 09, 2013 @ 14:21:22

    Sounds like it’s quite the adventure. Have a fantastic day tomorrow. Love reading your blog
    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


  2. Lisa Shislowski
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 15:13:21

    Love reading your updates. Glad everything is working out, and so excited for you for tomorrow! All the best for Katie Day!!! πŸ™‚


  3. Barb Steinberg
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 16:51:43

    It feels as if we’re there with you and your mom! Katie day will be spectacular! Expect tears all around (of joy, of course)!


  4. Kathie
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 18:16:05

    Oh I’m sooo excited for you too! The updates are great and so are the pics – can’t wait to see the next ones! Wishing you a beautiful Katie Day tomorrow.


  5. Sarah Grill
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 20:11:06

    We are so excited to see a picture of Katie. Risa, your details of your trip are great. Your writing is wonderful.



  6. Bernie
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 20:51:34

    Wow – just amazing reading of your adventure…and looking forward to the next one the most!! Love you!


  7. Liz Spooner
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 02:19:50

    I bet you thought this day would never arrive..,the last day of not being a Mom!
    You must be too excited and nervous to sleep tonight….don’t worry, the adrenalin will carry you for a few days!
    Praying for an easy transition for Katie and you! Can’t wait to see her I’m your arms!


  8. Lisa V
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 06:07:46

    Happy Gotcha day! We were in Nanchang Jan’05 and Jan ’12 to receive our precious daughters. Enjoy every minute! Congratulations πŸ™‚


  9. Catherine
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 17:37:49

    I love that you’re making the best of your time and embracing China! We did that and I’m so thankful for it now as I have such fun stories to share with Hannah!

    One thing I didn’t think to do at the time and now wish I had was at then end of each day I wish I had turned the camera on myself and recorded a video of our day. what we did, experienced, felt and more. What a tresure those would have been to us now.

    Cannot wait to hear more about your sweet Katie!


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