Good morning, Wednesday.  Guess where we started out? If you answered the breakfast buffet, DING DING DING!

Today we had scheduled a shopping expedition with a personal shopper to help us get a few items for Liz that we hope would help her feel connected to China as she grows older.  We wanted Liz to have some pearls for her wedding day, and also a traditional Chinese silk dress to wear during the Chinese New Year celebrations.  We had also hoped to go to a bookstore and pick up some children’s books that are in both Chinese and English.  Lisa and Joe had asked to come along, so off we went!

We took two separate cabs to the Pearl Market and all was well.  Our guide Ann helped us pick up some lovely pearls with matching earrings.  The process took quite some time.  We then walked over to the jade market where Seth was able to buy some jade to fix a necklace that had broken at the pearl market, and Lisa got a jade bangle for Nola when she gets older, as she has them for her other daughters.

From there, the plan was to head over to purchase some silks … specifically, we were hoping to find a silk dress for Liz to wear at this year’s Chinese New Year celebration.  Once again, we hailed two taxis.  Ann quickly told our cab driver the location we were looking to meet at.  She then ran to the next taxi to help Lisa and Joe.  After about a 10 minute ride, our driver stopped in what looked and bit too much like an alleyway and informed us this was the location Ann had told him.  After waiting 20 minutes, it became clear to us that it wasn’t the place.  Sandy, Seth and Liz waited in a central location while I ran around trying to see if I could the rest of the group … about 3o minutes later we finally gave up.  Luckily we were right next to a metro stop.  We jumped on and were back at our hotel about 15 minutes later.

A little while later we were able to track down Ann’s cell number and gave her a call.  They had been looking for us as well but had given up and were on their way back to the hotel.  Long story short … she didn’t charge us, but double charged Lisa (what?!) and we’re happy to be done with the experience.  By all accounts, she also nearly forced Lisa to purchase silks even though she wasn’t interested in them and that stop was for us, not her.  Oh well, we know better now.

After getting back, we settled into the hotel area for a while.  Sandy tried to get Liz to take a nap … she wouldn’t.  Seth, Joe and I went out to explore a bit.  We walked across the street to the Trust-Mart which is a large “buy anything” store recently acquired by Walmart.  It’s quite a bit smaller, but same idea.  I haven’t really had an opportunity to just wander here in Guangzhou, so I co-opted Seth and Joe in the endeavor.  After chasing some promising leads on finding street Chasiu that turned out wrong, I finally decided to give up and head back to the hotel.  One problem … we were completely lost.  After about another 15 minutes we found ourselves in a beautiful park.  A few questions later we were on our way back toward the hotel.  I really had taken us far afield because it took quite a while to make it back to the hotel.  Fun for me … stressful for Lisa (Joe’s mom) … I don’t think she expected Joe to be gone that long.

We tried out the pool today as well.  It was very nice and very pretty.  But very much like our last experience swimming in Guangzhou at the White Swan … very cold as well.  Liz was not a fan of the temperature and would only let me get her wet up to her belly button.  In fact, after about 10 minutes with me … she didn’t want my help at all and spent the rest of the time with Sandy and Seth who were in shallower waters.  We spent about 30 minutes in the water before we all decided it was time to back to the room for hot showers.

That night we called the Abla’s to see if we could join them for dinner.  They gracefully assented and they took us to a nice Vietnam joint close to the hotel.  Good food, though Liz struggled a bit and Sandy had to switch meals with her because it just wasn’t working.  I forgot that most chefs don’t remove prawns from the shell in SE Asia and so eating my dinner proved a bit more difficult then I wanted as well.  Anyway, it was a great dinner and we ended the night with Slushies from the nearby 7-Eleven … thanks, Marc!

We can’t believe that our time here is coming to an end … it seems it has all passed so quickly.  Seth and I are voting to have his brothers and sisters shipped over here so we can stay a bit longer … like maybe forever.  Oh well, I guess we’re close to getting back to the grind:(