Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Guangzhou Arrival Debacle

If Beijing was all about the Chinese Government, then Guangzhou is all about the American Government. In Beijing we did paperwork for China. In Guangzhou, we will do paperwork for the American Government and get JJ an American Passport and a visa.

We got into Guangzhou around 1am. If you were to look at a map of China, not that you would want to, but if for some reason you passed one and stopped to look, Beijing is north, Guangzhou is south and a 3 hour plane ride away. We circled for another hour or 5, so it seemed, and at one point I remembered reading "Outliers" and thought in horror that the plane had ASIAN pilots!!!

Anyway, the dis-embarking was a cluster (read prior note about dis-embarking horror) and then we had to take a bus to the terminal and walk and walk... And the heat and humidity, oh my...

First impressions were of heat, smoke, humidity, people people people!! And then baggage claim - I was made to go to Guangzhou because I am a fighter. People just rammed into you, and went through your luggage with their carts, and I was basically yelling at people and you know? They were unfazed. UN. FAZED. Really.

We made it out to the waiting lobby area, looked for the red China Adoption with Love sign, and .... Nothing. Hmmm. So we waited. 10 minutes later, I walked back to "see" and.... Zip. Nothing. Still. Hmmm. Maybe it's not a red sign? So panic started welling up. I do it again. So, what is that definition of stupidity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Yah. And since it didn't work for me, Joseph decided to try. But this time he took a piece of luggage with the bright yellow tag that signified our travel group. And sure enough, the guide finds us. Actually, Joseph found the guide.

And then we go outside. OMG!!!!! Teaming Mass O' Rude People!!!! And the pickup area was a nightmare. And we had to wait about an HOUR for the driver!!! And then we had to drive another hour to the hotel!! Ok. Maybe it was shorter but at that time of night with total physical exhaustion - 5 minutes... 60 minutes.... Same thing.

On the ride to the White Swan Hotel JJ fell asleep. Poor thing. And when we got to the hotel, we had to wake him up. OMG. I've never seen such disorientation, legs buckling, head wobbling, body crumpling, it was funny and horrifying at the same time in a voyeuristic way. Ok. That's my Horrible Mommy Moment.

In the meantime, the guides were having a mini drama of their own. There was a lost family. Really. As in te Guides couldn't find them. YIKES! They had landed 45 minutes before us. They couldn't be found. Hmmm... Does not conjure up warm and fuzzies. This family was a mom traveling without her husband, a 9 yo son and her friend. We knew she was picking up a 2 1/2 yo. All alone. The guide had waited for her. They were trying to get in touch with the guide where she got on the plane. Here it was after midnight, no family, no Guide on the Other Side of the Flight, and no cell phone, no nothing! We left. And in the middle one of the guides got off at the bus stop to go back to find them. So we went on without her.

At the hotel, right before we checked in, in walked the Lost Family. And they were PISSED! I cannot tell you how happy I was to see them. They had waited for an hour and no guides showed up. Then they went out into the Teaming Masses of Rude People and waited. In the meantime, the guide had gotten another family onto a bus and had gone inside to look for them. In the end, the Lost Family took a bus, then a taxi and survived. So what do you think happened? Yah. Ships passing in the night. The Lost Family gets the MVP award. Especially because none of them spoke a lick of Chinese.

We made brief arrangements with the guide for the morning and managed to get JJ to brush his teeth and then right into bed.

Oh. And my wrist hurts. I have no idea why.
JJ is fine. Nothing phases him. Not even my wrist.

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