Thursday, May 8, 2014

Goodbye Hohhot - Hello Guangzhou!

I can't leave writing about Hohhot and Baotou without telling everyone about the delicious food Inner Mongolia has! The day we visited Baotou, we went for lunch at a traditional Hot Pot restaurant.  So yummy and one of our favorite Chinese experiences! This was seriously some of the best food I have ever had.  And we were hungry! We enjoyed the company and conversation with our travel mates, guide and driver.

Everyone begins with a pot of broth, flavored spicy or mild, and the waiters come light each pot to start the cooking process.

Our guide ordered our food (thank goodness!) - a variety of fresh vegetables (broccoli, chinese yams, mushrooms, spinach), meat (lamb), pastas and bread. Such beautiful food!

Each person cooks their own food in their own "hot pot".  It's multitasking at it's finest! Cook, eat, cook, eat! This peanut sauce... super yummy. 

Stella ate well and promptly fell asleep in her high chair.  The day was exhausting for her.  As we were leaving the waitress serving and watching us said to us "you love them just like biological children".  Yes, yes we do.

Squatty potties... for our friends who have never experienced these.... Most public places in China do have western style toilets, but not this restaurant! Taking toilet paper with you is a must pretty much wherever you go.  And forks too if you're not savvy with the chop sticks!

Our driver for the day was quiet on each trip, but his conversation during lunch is one I will never forget.  As we talked and compared experiences in the US and China, he had this conclusion - "different cultures, people all the same".  As we paid and thanked him after arriving back at the hotel, he said "God bless you" to us.  He was a Christian.  How I wish we had talked to him more about his life in China.

Some of our favorite Inner Mongolian goodies we picked up to bring back home (from the grocery store)- milk teas, milk candy, milk lollipops and some weird flavored Chinese potato chips (Numb and Spicy flavor anyone? Or how about Spicy Fish Soup Hot Pot flavor?)! Stella was given a traditional Mongolia dress, and an ornament from our guide and the international adoption worker.

We left Hohhot's mild, dry air (much like Colorado here in the US) and headed to Guangzhou's tropical, humid climate.  Guangzhou is where all US adoptions are finalized as the US Consulate is located there. Everyone gets an appointment date to go over the US side of the paperwork and the goal is to get Stella a VISA to enter the US.

Stella's first airplane ride went incredibly well as she was pretty much oblivious to being on a plane and then took a nap.  Napping in anything moving - cars, planes or buses was her napping location of choice on our China trip.

We were pretty much paparazzi material wherever went in China and people were always trying to take our picture (either straight out or snapping selfies with us in the background).  We just smiled! This woman on the plane must have had a whole album of us on her phone...haha! Now she's on my blog!

Exhausted, we arrived in Guangzhou feeling like we had just left China and entered a huge international city (Guangzhou has a population of 14 million people!).  We got checked into the Garden Hotel then went out to find food.  We don't usually eat McDonald's at home, but when you are tired, familiar is good.  McDonald's China style it was! A face time back home to end our day and we all crashed into bed.  As long as the pillows are soft, it doesn't matter how hard the bed is... Missing home but feeling like the end is in sight on this day.  One more week in China.

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