We woke up this morning and we were STILL in China.  At this point it feels like we have been here for years.  We are truly enjoying ourselves, but also desperately missing Kate, Grant, Zane and Claire and eager to move on with real life.

Thankfully we had nothing on the schedule for today, which meant we could sleep in before heading down to breakfast.  We really needed the extra sleep after the long night, so this was a nicely-timed blessing.  We thought for sure we would be the last of our group down to eat, but at 8:45 am we were actually one of the first.  Seems everyone got the “go ahead and sleep in” memo.  The last family actually missed breakfast when the buffet closed at 10 am just as they were coming in.  That’s when we were leaving breakfast.  Yes, it took over an hour for the four of us to eat – well, that is what we say to be nice to Liz, who is, without reservation, the world’s slowest eater when left to ingest food at her own rate of speed.

We had thought we would go to the Safari Park today, but the weather forecast indicated a 70% chance of rain, so we decided to finish the shopping that Tom and Seth started yesterday.  Lisa and Joe and Nola decided to join us (a decision I think Lisa regretted by the day’s end) for what turned out to be an action packed day of power shopping.  We took the metro back over to Pedestrian Street and found souvenirs for Kate, Grant, Zane and Claire, as well as a few pair of cheap tennis shoes for Sandy.  The boys had a great time bargaining for items and the little girls, well, they were troopers.

After our re-visit to the pedestrian street we headed for our second trip to Shamian Island.  Tom wanted to pick up a thing or two he regretted not buying when we were last here, and Lisa wanted to return a dress.  We were long overdue for lunch (said our fussy 3 year old) so we did that first.  We ate at the famous Lucy’s restaurant.  It’s famous because they have a fairly full western menu, which many parents are clamoring for by the time they hit Guangzhou and have been eating lots of authentic food for a week or so.  Seth had a cheese burger and fries.  Tom and I ate Chinese fare (what can i say, we are die-hards?) Liz ate Chinese noodle soup – and french fries with lots of ketchup.  In fact, we had to order a separate basket of fries just for her and Nola.  Awesome.

We also witnessed a wedding celebration.  Since Shamian Island doesn’t have lots of adoptive families on it anymore, its wedding business has grown quite a bit.  In fact, there are multiple photography studios on the island, and everyone reports getting to see brides while they are there.  The wedding celebration was funny.  They were having this giant tug-of-war, literally, with a long rope and lots of chanting.  Before we could see it we could hear it, and I thought to myself, “Shoot, we are going to be caught up in some sort of protest.”  Nope, that angry, deep shouting sound was the mark of a party.

The adventure really began when we left the Island and tried to find a taxi.  Don’t judge – we just had a lot of shopping bags!  But finding a taxi during rush hour in a less-popular location proved impossible.  The few cabs that did come by were already full of passengers.  Plan B was lugging all our stuff onto the subway, which was a bit ambitious to start with, and made even more ambitious by the addition of Nola’s stroller.  Lisa might be from New York, but she lives in the suburbs, so not exactly a subway veteran.   Nevertheless, she rocked the underground with a stroller in her left hand and three bags in her right!  She swore when we were done she would never travel “Weeks style” again, to which we Weeks reply, “That’s just how we roll!” To add to the adventure,  because we were such prepared travelers and the rain forecast, we were also hauling around umbrellas all day.  Not the compact pop-up kind, the extremely-awkward-to-carry-especially-in-the-subway-long-handled-mary-poppins umbrellas.  And, as Murphy’s law would have it, it never rained.  Not one drop.  So glad we made the effort to be prepared.

We did make it safely home.  And though I think Lisa might now use our name as a swear word, we look back on the day as a grand adventure, China style.  Plus, we got lots of cheap stuff.  That’s fun, right?