The Nanjing airport was new, very modern, well lighted and sparkled. The
floors were shiny and bright. This was in contrast to the Beijing airport
(and Detroit for that matter). For those of you keeping track, the Nanjing
airport does have western bathrooms. The people in our group were the only
ones on the flight that claimed luggage.
We waited for one couple that was flying in from Hong Kong, then we
boarded our bus to go to our hotel, the Dingshan Garden Hotel. We had been
kind of concerned about this hotel. We didn't know the name until
the last minute, and didn't find anything about it on the web. Our
fears were groundless, it was a very nice hotel, also decorated for Christmas.
The room had dark wood furniture, a bathroom with lots of marble, CNN International
on the TV, and a service bar with refrigerator. The key chain for the room
key was in the shape of a large key and had to be placed in a receptacle
near the front door to turn on the power to the room. After our bags were
delivered to the room, we hurried down to the lobby. One of the couples
was going to get their girl today. We were in the lobby when a little
2 ½ year old girl came walking into the lobby with 2 escorts.
They took the elevator up to our floor and went to our guide's room.
A little later (seemed like hours) they came out and walked to her new
parents' room. She was so brave! The entire group was in the hallway,
beyond her new parents' room. The group was very quite, and had at least
a half a dozen video cameras going. So not to scare her, the group
took only two flash pictures. They walked into the room and the director
of the orphanage explained to the girl, that this is MAMA and PAPA. We
then closed the door so that they could get familiar in private.
Excited, exhausted, and nervous, nearly everyone in the group went to
the bar. The bar was small, perhaps 14 chairs. We rearranged the
furniture into a circle and talked about what we had just saw while we
sampled the local beer and enjoyed a huge bowl of hot cashews.
We went to dinner with two other couples. One of the couples was
from New York and the other from Arizona. We had corresponded with
both via the Internet before the trip. The couple from Arizona were our
unofficial medical team, the wife was a nurse, the husband a Ob/Gyn doctor.
It was comforting to have them in our group, although we hoped not to need
their services. I was, however, a little concerned about the
good doctor's enthusiasm for using his suture kit when I told him about
my split toe. His wife graciously offered some iodine swabs which I gratefully
accepted. The menu had some familiar things, but it also had duck's feet,
eel and snake.
Our language tutor had prepared several cards for us to
help us communicate. Such things as "We are from the United States" , "We
have adopted this girl", "Where is the bathroom?" . We also had the words
for foods we liked and how to ask if they were spicy. Ginger made sure
that some of them had shopping stuff on them.
The waitress saw the cards and was trying to look at them discretely
over my shoulder. I noticed and offered them to her. She quickly
took them, then huddled in the corner of the dining room with several other
waitresses, going over the cards again and again. Copies of these cards (in a
Acrobat PDF file) are here.
After dinner we explored
the hotel and sent some more email from the business center. They
had Netscape, but the menus were in English and they weren't quite sure
how to use it. I typed up my message and then the attendant sat down,
read my message, dialed in, and sent my mail. I was a little surprised
that he read my message, but figured that he was responsible to make sure
that the computer wasn't used for any nefarious purposes.