Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thoughts on Our Journey -Travel to Hong Kong

The first leg of our travel was from the States to Hong Kong.  We decided not to try and fly out from our city because our city airport is very small.  Instead we left for the airport from my office in the afternoon on December 8th, 2010.  We elected to stay in an airport hotel where we could leave our car for the two weeks we would be gone.  That night we tried to go to sleep early - we had to be up at 3:45 am to take the first leg of our flight from Jacksonville, FL to Chicago's O'Hare airport.  It was hard to go to sleep, we were both terribly excited to finally be on our way and I was nervous about being on a plane for such a long time. 

Then on Thursday we got up, dressed and took all our luggage downstairs to meet the shuttle bus.  There were only a few people on the shuttle with us.  We both picked at the flight bag breakfasts we were provided by the hotel and were on our way pretty quickly.  Things went smoothly and we boarded our flight relatively quickly.  I was a little nervous because I had a large amount of money strapped to my stomach under my shirt and we had a large pack of official papers we had to safe guard.  (A quick note about the money.  We were told to be sure the bills were all new and with no wrinkles or rips.  Fortunately for us our bank was very accommodating and we didn't have too much trouble getting the funds.  We also were lucky in that our agency was able to wire our orphanage donation for us directly - so we didn't have to carry as much money as some have to.)

We had a five hour layover in Chicago before we finally got on our plane for Hong Kong.  Something happened after we boarded, we never really found out what it was, but we wound up sitting on the Tarmac for 45 minutes and we had a fourteen hour flight ahead of us.  We had booked economy plus seats, so we had slightly more room than some, but it was still a very tight amount of space for such a long trip.  I watched our match day video on the way and tried to read, but it was hard to concentrate when all I could think of was how close we were to becoming parents after so many painful missteps along the way.  After you go through infertility it becomes hard to be positive and even as we were on the plane I was still a little scared that something terrible could happen.  The flight attendants were attentive, but we never got very much to drink when they would come by - generally just enough to keep your mouth moist.  It was almost impossible to sleep too.

When we finally got to Hong Kong we got through customs quickly and our ride into Hong Kong was uneventful - other than several warnings about pick pockets.  The size of the buildings in Hong Kong were impressive.  I've been to New York City, but Hong Kong seemed much larger.  Our Hotel was nice and the bed was much more comfortable than we had expected it would be after being told to expect the mattresses to be very hard.  We spent one day in Hong Kong - I would have enjoyed having more time, if it wasn't for the fact that it would have delayed getting our girls.  

We had a nice tour of Hong Kong that included going up a mountain, we didn't have much of a view as it was very misty, but what we could see was lovely.  We also drove by a house that belonged to Jackie Chan and a lot of other buildings that had interesting architecture.  

The view on the mountain.

A photo of me and my hubby

We went Jade shopping at a large jewelry store.  They had huge display cases filled with all kinds of jewelry and precious and semi precious stones, we chose a couple of things for ourselves, but chose to wait for Nanchang to shop for the girls.  We went to a dim sum restaurant (I didn't really enjoy any of the selections - the textures seemed off), but the atmosphere was really nice.  While we were there we saw a lot of families who were out for a special meal.

But the part of the tour I enjoyed the most was the Aberdeen Fishing Village.  The fishermen who live there are born on their boats and many never live on land their entire lives.  We all got to ride on a sampan to tour the harbor.  Our Sampan was driven by an elderly woman and we saw a lot of boats, including many where families were living, some were very expensive and new and many were old -they looked like they had been in the water a long time.  We got to sail around the Jumbo Floating Restaurant which was very impressive in size and beautiful to look at.

On the Sampan

This is the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

On a side note, stateside we purchased the girls a cute book called, Chopsticks by Jon Berkeley.  It is about a little mouse who lives in the floating restaurant.  The girls love the book - in it the mouse Chopsticks learns how to help one of the wooden dragons to fly. The story is simple and lovely and the illustrations are beautiful.

Above is a view from our Hotel Window. The woman in the photo was practicing Tai Chi.  We saw people in parks exercising everywhere - most just in their regular street clothes.  

We did go out for a short while the second night, but were so tired that we called it an early night because we knew that the next day we would be flying to Nanchang.  When we were out that night we saw a lot of very people out dressed very nicely.  Hong Kong was like China and then again very different.  You can clearly see the influence of year of British rule. Another funny thing was while the TV stations were limited we found one station that played Haiwaii Five O (the original episodes).  That night I thought I would not be able to sleep, but I was so tired that I slept like a rock.  It was a good thing because it was the last night of good sleep I was to have for almost two years.

Next: The Day We Become a Family

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