Tuesday, March 25, 2008


We are a couple of exhausting days into our trip and just spent our first full day in Beijing. It is clear that China has a very rich culture of which it is very proud, and we are really enjoying being in the birth country of our son.

We are traveling in a group of two other families and all of us are getting boys from the same orphanage. Joshua is the oldest by about three months. One of the other couples will become parents for the first time on Thursday and another woman is here with her brother and two daughters that she adopted previously from China. They are six and four years old and very cute. Seeing her with them made me feel guilty for not bringing Grace and Caleb, but I got over that when she told us how her four-year-old couldn't sleep last night and the challenges of getting them to use a squatty-potty.

Phil, by the way, is becoming quite the fan of squatty-pottys. Me, not so much. Phil is also quite skilled at using chopsticks. Me, not so much.

The breakfast buffet at our hotel this morning was very impressive. Crepes, sushi, and everything (and I mean everything) in between. As we stuffed ourselves, I was thinking, Maybe this is why adoption is so expensive.

Lunch consisted of several different dishes, including one with a fish head and french fries. Actually the fish head one was my favorite.

The Great Wall

In China, they say you are not a true hero unless you have climbed the Great Wall. So we are true heroes now... and we are sore. The climb to the top is seriously hard. Stairmaster, move over.

The way up is very, very steep and the way down is very precarious. The steps are very uneven, ranging from about an inch high to well over a foot high. I spent much of the way up looking for a good spot to throw up. I do have to tell you that I was the only female in our group to make it to the top. I was feeling rather proud of myself until I saw a little girl about three years old near the top. She didn't look nearly as winded as I was.

Also on the wall, we saw a surprising number of men in business suits and dress shoes, a woman having a very animated conversation with herself, and some buddist monks carrying someone partway up in a wheelchair. Another surprising thing I learned is that monks listen to ipods... who knew?

We also visited a jade factory, a vase factory, and saw the all the stuff being built for the Olympics. At the end of the day, we went to a Chinese acrobatic show, which was beautiful and fascinating.

Tomorrow we leave Beijing and fly to Hangzhou, the capital of Joshua's province. We get him in two days!

Our hotel in Beijing
I was surprised how many things are in English. They don't always make sense, though.


Sharon said...

Great to see you made it to Beijing and are enjoying the trip. I never became a real fan of the squatty potty, Phil. Try using one on a moving train! Keep posting so we can follow your journey. Sharon and I are praying for you. Marty

natalie said...

You made it! We are so excited for you. What an amazing adventure. It is so cool to say that you climbed the Great Wall. It's one of those "once in a lifetime" accomplishments. I don't know why but I thought it was something that you stand there and look at. Ha! How educated am I?
You are going to have to exlain the squatty potty thing. I have never heard of this. BTW we really enjoy your new video. It makes me emotional every time. You are such a blessed family. We are praying for you.
Natalie (for the Valiente fam)

Julie B said...

Those signs are hilarious! Enjoying your wit, as usual, Angie! BTW, I backed out of a business trip to China based solely on stories I heard of squatty potties! And I still have no regrets! LOL