Our night’s sleep in Beijing was fantastic, really.  The room was extremely comfortable.  Actually our whole experience in Beijing helped sway my opinion about the city a little bit.  It’s always been my least favorite Chinese city … but it’s come a long way since I was last here.  I think they are actually interested in joining global society!

Anyway, breakfast at the hotel was AMAZING!  They had a buffet that was loaded up with Chinese and American favorites.  It was huge, of excellent quality and the service was completely on point … very nice.  Next time you’re jumping through Beijing … try the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel … awesome.

So quickly after breakfast it was time to jump on the airport shuttle and make our way to the next flight … a two hour hop from Beijing to Nanjing.  The hotel staff recommended we be there at least two hours early to make sure we didn’t miss the flight.   It took us about 30 minutes to get through ticketing and security … so we read and talked for the next 1 1/2 hours before the flight left.  Below is a video of Terminal 3 at the Beijing Airport … it’s huge!  I don’t know if it will come through in the video, but seriously, it’s massive.

This flight was probably the best of the bunch in terms of turbulence, moderate in terms of food … but honestly, it was just so nice to be that close to settling down for a few days.

Upon arrival in Nanjing we met with Denise, our Nanjing guide who will help us through this first phase of the adoption.  She is a 33 year old mother of a 3 year old daughter and is great.  Excellent English and just a very nice person.  Below are 2 short videos of some of our trip from the airport to the hotel. By the way, this apparently is not the same airport Sandy and I experienced 15 & 16 years ago. This “new” one was built in 1997, but looks like it was built in 1887.

After arriving at the hotel (Mandarin Garden), Denise helped us go to the bank to exchange some money and then took us over to a VERY western style mall (there’s an H&M!).  We went to a grocery store and grabbed some water, fruit and other supplies.

Side Note: Sandy and I are both shocked at how much more modern and westernized Nanjing has become since we were last here.  The sea of bicycles we remember has been replaced by a sea of motor scooters.  It really is remarkable, it feels a ton like I remember Hong Kong.  I think most Americans would be pretty darn comfortable here as there are plenty of familiar services.  Immediately adjacent to our hotel is a 24 hour Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Haagen Daas, just down the road is a second KFC and a McDonalds.  The mall I mentioned has a Starbucks where Sandy has already purchased some much needed and appreciated hot chocolate (it’s a bit cold and rainy here).

Denise left us to ourselves after our grocery store trip and so we rested for about an hour.  We then headed back out in the drizzle to find a post office and explore a little bit.  We discovered a very cool shopping area and a neat little river front (Yangtze River outlet) area.  We then went in search of a place to eat and stumbled into a place that looked fancy on the outside, but was pretty unimpressive on the inside.  We shared a plate of sweet and sour chicken at a cost of about $3.25 US dollars (which was excellent … it’s amazing how different and how much better authentic Chinese food really is) and then headed back to the hotel.  Sandy lasted until about 7:30pm before she could no longer keep her eyes open.  I lasted until about 8:30pm before my time was up.  We are still pretty exhausted and trying to recover from the time difference (we are 14 hours ahead of Utah time).

It is now early Monday morning and we are about to go try find the gym and then off to breakfast.  We’ll skype with Seth, Kate, Zane, Grant, Mom and Dad Weeks in a little while.  Then at 2:00pm our time we head over to the adoption offices and receive Claire!  Unbelievable and what a blessing!

Here is a gallery of all of the relevant photos we’ve taken so far …