Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday 11-22-12

Thanksgiving was a travel day for the group and the day we split off from everyone to go to Gaoyou where Jemma's orphanage is. Susan and her daughter Rebecca joined us and the rest of the group headed down to Zhanjiang Zhanjiang. We had a long day - a two-hour flight to Nanjing with an hour delay, and then a three-hour drive in the van to Gaoyou. We were met by Denise, our new guide, who I liked right away. She had a good sense of humor, and a very warm energy about her.
It was cold and dark and raining so it was a tedious ride, not to mention our driver honked his horn every few seconds. We went straight to dinner at a local restaurant, which was lovely but a far cry from turkey and stuffing! Once again we had our own dining room with people peeking in on us every so often. The food was very authentic - chicken heads and feet in the chicken dish, and lots of tiny fish bones in the locally-caught fish - but it was all delicious. The women who cooked and served us wanted to be in photos with us. We stayed at the Run Yang Hotel, supposedly the best hotel in town, but it was shockingly bad. I took to calling it the Run Down Hotel. Just shows you how little tourism there is in Gaqoyou, China. I asked if we could move to a non-smoking room and was informed to just open the window... I'm not kidding.
That night we went shopping at the Tesco for gifts for the orphanage - milk powder and baby clothes. We had very little information to go on other than there were five babies there between the ages of one and two. It was fun to zoom around the Tesco and the girls liked the ramped moving sidewalks to get to the other floors. Shopping at a local super store is always fun, and I especially appreciated staying out of our hotel as long as possible. Despite the rock-hard beds, the non-stop horn honking and the musty, moldy smell, we managed to get our longest sleep and best night's sleep in the Run Down Hotel. The breakfast buffet was only Chinese food - none of the American choices to be had and no coffee!!! And Denise made me eat a boiled duck egg - Jemma thought that was hysterical and thankfully, it tasted pretty good. The only plus about this hotel was that the rooms were huge! So huge that Jemma and Rebecca promptly created a gymnastics routine together and rehearsed it for a few hours.

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