Sunday, June 10, 2007

We're in Nanning!

We're at the Majestic Hotel in Nanning! Not quite as exciting as the last two times I was in Nanning -- for Zoe's and Maya's adoptions -- but it's pretty exciting nonetheless.

Our flight left Xiamen around 4:30 this afternoon; we got to the airport really early because it was raining and I wasn't sure what traffic would be like. So we had a 2-hour wait for our flight. Luckily, there's a play place at the Xiamen airport and the girls had a ball in the ball pit. The time really passed quickly for them.

When we got to our gate, I realized for the first time that our flight to Nanning was not nonstop -- we'd be stopping in Shenzhen (we flew on an e-ticket, and all I knew was the departure time!). It wasn't much of a lay-over -- maybe 20 minutes. And we left Xiamen a little late so it was 8 p.m. before we made it to Nanning, and 9 p.m. before we hit the lobby of the Majestic.

The ride into the city center from the airport is just as I remember it -- miles and miles of a virtually empty 4-lane expressway. And then we hit the city center. The first thing that struck me was the bikes and motor bikes. They are EVERYWHERE! I'd forgotten the infestation of 2-wheel vehicles in Nanning, since we don't see anywhere near that many in Xiamen. Our guide, Dennis, who picked us up from the airport, tells me that there are 500,000 licensed motor bikes in Nanning, with a population of 2 million. He says that 5 years ago the city government stopped issuing permits for motor bikes, but it'll be years before the number really starts to drop.

It struck me as we were flying here that the "Nan" in Nanning must mean "south" -- after all, we live near Da'nan, the university's south gate. And that's next to Nanputuo, which means south temple. And the road outside the gate is Siming Nan Lu, which is South Siming Street. Dennis confirmed it -- Nan means south and ning means peace. Nanning was the emperors' wish for a peaceful border land in the south.

The Majestic is just as we remembered it -- the marbled foyer and the fountain, and the staircase where we posed for many a picture. We'll have to recreate those moments later. Our first priority was getting to our room and COLLAPSING! It's not like traveling around the world to get here, but travel is tiring even when it's a short hop.

The girls were thrilled to see a bathtub in our hotel room. It's been 3 months since they've had a bath -- all we have in Xiamen is a shower. The first thing we did this evening was take a bubble bath.

The real adventure starts tomorrow. We meet our guide at 9:30 a.m. to go to Mother's Love. We need to check out of the Majestic, but leave our big suitcase here and just take enough for one night, because we leave for Guiping as soon as we finish at Mother's Love. Then Tuesday in Guiping, and back to the Majestic in Nanning. And on Wednesday we take the train to Guilin -- I'm really looking forward to going on the train!

It's almost 11 p.m., and the girls have conked out. Ah, peace in the south! I'm not far behind them. I'll post more when I can.


mimifrancoise said...

Thanks for letting us know you are in Nanning. I hope you get to see Maya's foster family. I know the girls were happy to find a bathtub. Were they excited to be in Nanning or were they too tired by the time you got there?
bises from a lazy Sunday in FtW.

Dee said...

How wonderful to be able to go back to show your daughters where they spent their first months of life. They will never forget it, I'm sure. Have fun! Post lots of photos!

Wendy said...

So glad to hear you made it there safe and sound. Thanks so much for the info about Nanning's name--I love tidbits like that!
If you get this before you go to ML please pass on well wishes to the directors--we adopted last May (they probably know our daughter as Jie Jie, her nickname); Feng Li Yun was her foster mother.
Have a wonderful trip!

Anonymous said...

Good thing for that ball pit. Maggie would travel all the way to China just to play in a ball pit like that, since you won't find them in the U.S. anymore! It won't surprise me if we find one or have to go looking for one when we are there in July. And that is a familiar-looking tub, in about the same condition as I recall from 3 years ago! Sue

Anonymous said...

Oh, nan = south, xi = west, dong = east, bei = north. The way I remember them is that Nanning is in the south, Guangxi is in the west, Guangdong is in the east, and Beijing is in the north. Sue

Anonymous said...

First, let me say I am single, a litigation attorney and mom to an incredible Guangxi Girl, who had been adopted in 2001 (sounding familiar?). Two years ago my daughter and I made a whirlwind tour of China. As an afterthought we decided to spend a day in Nanning. Dennis was our guide too (we loved Dennis). Through a friend of a friend we were able to arrange a visit to my daughter's orphanage. I was hesitant as all the experts said no. When we got there, the nannies scooped my daughter up in their arms, took hundreds of photos with her and I don't think I saw her for an hour. (Dennis followed them and my daughter and took many photos for us.) When we left the orphanage my daughter, then 5, looked at me and said, "Mommy, they really liked me there". What an incredible feeling for my daughter to have about the people who took care of her the first year of her life.
That evening we went on a journey to find my daughter's finding location. We didn't make a big deal of it. Dennis actually kept my daughter occupied while I looked around. The next day as we were on the plane heading for the States a boy asked my daughter about her father. She said she didn't have a father. He was quite upset. However, she didn't skip a beat in telling him that she had a birth father and birth mother in China, that they couldn't take care of her and left her in a safe place so that she could be found. Wow, all that from a 5 year old.
What had been planned as a very minor portion of our trip ended up being the most significant. The questions, the uncertainties...everything disappeared. What had been an issue was no longer an issue. I think, in a way, my daughter was made whole.
I hope your trip is every bit as powerful and fulfilling for your girls.