Thursday, September 13, 2007
For some reason, we couldn't pull up the blog for the last day so here is a recap of our last day in Guangzhou (tomorrow we might get around to the trip home and settling in). However, if we posted it all at once, how could we keep all of our faithful readers coming back for more.
The big event for our last day was the swearing-in ceremony at the US Consulate. Since it wasn't scheduled until the afternoon (we were supposed to leave the hotel around 2:45), we had time for a little shopping trip. When we had went to the pearl market a couple days earlier, we noticed that there were lots of little shops in the area, so decided to head back there. It was only about a 5-10 minute cab ride from the hotel (grand total of 8 yuan before tip...yes, that is like $1.05 for the 3 of us. Try THAT in the US). We searched in vain for some special candy for a friend back home (sorry Emerson!). While we did find a decent sized candy store (more on that in a minute), they didn't have the right kind. After walking around for awhile, we spotted the ever-famous KFC and decided to take Sarah for her last KFC China-style. When ordering, it took us a bit to get out the no ice requirement (while most places right around the White Swan speak very good English, as you get a bit further away it is hit or miss). Luckily one of the ladies spoke enough English to understand the pathetic Americans and their lack of Mandarin.
The KFC was inside a mall, so we decided to look around for a bit afterwards. One store had a collection of toys and Hello Kitty items. Since Deb and Sarah both agree that Hello Kitty is just the cat's meow (sorry...had to do it), that was a required stop. Sarah picked out a Hello Kitty purse.
Next stop...candy store. I wanted to pick up some candy to take back to the office as well as some to try a little variety. This was a mix-n-match candy store with most stuff the same price. While picking out a good-sized mix, we noticed a few "unique" items on the wall. One was a package of very small crabs (in the shell) about the size of a 50-cent piece. There were maybe 10-15 in the bag and they had some kind of coating. Another was a duck liver paste. We decided to pass on both of these...imagine that.
After another super-expensive cab drive back to the hotel (this time we didn't make it past the minimum 7 yuan fee), we rested for a bit before getting ready to go to the day's big event. Sarah and Marty (one of the fathers in our group) had a good time picking on each other in the bus on the ride over. As our guide was going through the instructions, one of the key items was that we were supposed to make sure we "held our babies up to the window" as we checked in for our paperwork. We tried to get Sarah to jump into our arms so we could hold her up, but she wasn't going for it. After we got the paperwork, we got a few instructions about getting back into the country, took our oath, and bounced on back to the hotel.
We decided to join Marty and family for dinner (in addition to their new daughter Julia, they brought their adorable little girl Mary...Sarah and Mary became fast friends on the trip with Sarah playing big sister). Sarah decided it was time for a little squid on the dinner menu. Its hard to see in the picture above, but the squid came with the little legs and everything. She thought it was quite tasty. For the record, I tried a little bit and it wasn't too bad. A little like scallops, but with a little tougher texture. Along with the squid were a couple of jumbo sized shrimp (cooked, but with heads and all)...Sarah loves the shrimp. The picture of the White Swan above was taken on the way back...lots of neon in Guangzhou.
One last purchase on the way home was another suitcase so we could fit everything into the bags on the way home. Since we were going on an international flight, each person got 2 bags plus carry-on. While we didn't go overboard with the souvenirs, we did accumulate a fair amount of extra stuff.
That covers most of the day's highlights...now it was time for our last nights sleep before returning to our beds at home. Thinking about the wake-up call coming at 5:15 the next morning was not one of bright spots.
One last note -- in the comments section of the last entry, Sheila mentioned Shen You from Nanjing. Sheila, I'm sure Sarah knows her (I'm pretty sure we saw her on our visit). I couldn't find an email address on your profile, so let us know your email address or send us one at bracker at mchsi dot com if you'd like to chat more.
Posted by Kevin, Debbi and Sarah at 5:35 PM