Hmmmm. . . what could we do today?  How were we to spend this, the last day in Liz’s city?  What vitally important activity had been left undone?  What loose threads needed to be tied up?

Eating and packing.

We went to breakfast.  I know, that isn’t earth shattering news.  But the hotel has gotten so busy that we were literally seated to eat in the outer lobby of the hotel – the restaurant was full to overflowing.  Good news for Sandy and Liz – they had oatmeal.

Post-breakfast brought on packing.  We had done a bunch of laundry the night before (did I fail to mention that in our previous post?  Lisa says it was fun to come into our room while we are airing out all our dirty laundry!)  So today with a little extra ironing/hair-dryer-ing the laundry was dry enough to pack.  Good times, good times.

The highlight of the day was SWIMMING!  We took Liz for her first official swim.  She has absolutely loved the bath so we anticipated she would love swimming and we were not disappointed, nor was she.  The pool has been closed all week, so this is the first day we could take her.  She showed some initial hesitation, but once she figured it out, she was hooked.  And she looked so cute her in her required swim cap.  She splashed until her heart was content and enjoyed pouring cups of water over everyone’s heads.  She crawled all over the stairs and enjoyed going just deep enough to feel that weightless feeling.  She was all smiles and laughs.  In fact, she laughed so much and so thoroughly enjoyed herself that the young lady attendant that passes out locker keys and what not sat poolside just to watch Liz.

Post-swimming meant more packing.  And then finally we were done and we just kinda hung out until it was time to go.  Tom ventured out into the rain to grab some yummy dumplings, which when paired with a few orders of french fries from the Food Street, made for a yummy farewell to Changsha lunch.  We spent some time with Joe and Lisa and their Changsha friend Anna.  We watched TV.  We checked and re-checked our bags.

Our guide, in an abundance of caution, felt it was necessary to depart from our hotel at 3 pm for our 8:20 pm flight. She assured us this was necessary, as on Fridays the traffic is “crazy and very busy.”  We did make a quick stop at the civil affairs office to pick up the girls’ passports.  That stop took about 5 minutes and we got to stay in the van.  We made it to the airport by about 4:06 pm. Yes, it really was 4:06.  We drove to the airport by way of the Sany factory, which is a ridiculously large manufacturing facility whose largest building in its complex is over 1 km long.  It just kept going and going.

Anyway, arriving at 4:06 meant we were too early to actually check our bags for our flight.  So we waited until about 6:00, just milling around the airport by the check-in and baggage area.  Ate a little KFC.  Took Liz to the bathroom about 30 times (she loves to wash her hands and flush the toilet).  Finally we could check our baggage and head to the gate.  We said farewell to our guide, Shirley and headed through security and to our gate.

At which point, we waited some more.  There were stairs and an escalator immediately adjacent to our gate, so Tom and Seth and I took turns taking Liz up the stairs and down the escalator (yup, you caught that right, you have to walk up the stairs but get to ride down the escalator, go figure).  We took turns because our energizer bunny daughter was able to complete the circuit more times than any one of us could.  What can I say?  We have been shamed by a three year old.

At 7:50 when we should have been boarding our flight we were still waiting.  Ditto at 8:20 when our flight was supposed to be leaving.  Further ditto at 8:45.  At this point minutes feel like hours as a sleepy, strung out 3 year old had declared herself entirely sick of being in the airport.  Around 9 pm we finally took the shuttle out on the tarmac  to our miniature plane (we looked all over but couldn’t see the wind-up lever, but we are pretty sure that is how the plane operated).  Seth even found time to draw pictures with his finger on the fogged-up shuttle window.  We boarded the plane in the rain and quickly took off.  Liz hated the seat belt – we recognize this will present some challenges as we introduce a car seat in America – and fidgeted pretty much the entire flight, which lasted just over an hour.

We eventually landed in Guangzhou and met our guide Elvin, who was unlucky enough to have to wait for our delayed flight as well as the delayed flight of another family.  Talk about putting in a long day.  We, however, were super lucky to score Elvin as a guide.  He is infamous in the adoption world for being one of the best, and he was great to keep our spirits up after such a long travel day.  Tom even managed to get in some good Cantonese speaking during the late hour.  Yay!  Elvin got us safely to our hotel by about 12:30 am.  As Lisa so aptly put it, it’s not every day you get to spend 9 1/2 hours traveling just to take a one hour flight.  Elvin reminded us that we had our children’s medical checkups in the morning, and when Lisa semi-sarcastically commented her snarkiest New York voice that he better not ask her to be available before 9 am, he quickly announced to the group that he would pick us all up in the lobby for the medical exams at 9:01 am.  See?  He’s awesome like that.

Hello, Guangzhou.  Please be kind to us weary travelers.