China Days 1-4: Shanghai and Traveling to Zhengzhou

I started writing posts in China, but never got around to publishing them! But, I really want Kai to be able to read about our time in China, so I decided to add the pictures and finish these posts, 6 months later!!

Well, I’m up a 4 am again, so I figured it was finally time to dust off the blog!

Thursday, Janaury 11-

Bags were packed and we were ready! Our sweet friend Racheal offered to take us to the airport, and we were so thankful! She brought us to the airport last time so it only seemed fitting!  We told the kids goodbye (not many tears right then, but there had been many in the days leading up to us leaving!

We got everything checked in, got through security easily, and headed to the Centurion Lounge for breakfast. I think at that point, we finally realized what we were doign! it’s like we were just checking things off the list for the last few weeks, not really having time to think about the actual trip! Ha!

We boarded the plane and got ready for our 15 hour flight! I brought Crazy Rich Asians (yes, I felt like I needed to cover up the book cover) to read, we both watched a few movies, I slept a good few hours, and then we were there! When we landed in Shanghai, we got off the plane on the tarmac! And it was freezing! We had to board a bus and we were PACKED in with people from our flight. The bus ride was maybe 5 minutes until it dropped us off at an airport entrance. Toto, we are not in Texas anymore. It was now 4pm Friday, and we were hitting the ground running!

Chinese airports are CRAZY. Shanghai’s was a bit easier to navigate- many signs were in English. As we were walking to baggage claim, Trey got a text that one of our bags would be delayed. I started praying that wouldn’t be the case! We waited for what seemed like forever for 2 bags to come, but the 3rd one was not showing up. Trey was ready to get through security and just call American Airlines later and figure it out, but I did not want to leave the airport without our bag! I looked up the bag tag number, and it said “arrived”, so we waited a few more minutes and guess what??!! It showed up! We were SO happy!!!

We hired a guide to help us get to the hotel, so when we got through immigration and customs, she was waiting there with a handwritten sign with “Sherry Moore Clemens” really small- we almost missed her because there are literally 100 people standing with signs. I figured she wouldn’t miss us though- we are fairly easy to spot in China!

The drive to the hotel was about 45 min. We arrived and checked in (everyone at the hotel spoke English). We were able to stay at the Ritz Carlton on our hotel points! Fancy! They told us we’d been upgraded to a room with a view, but we never expected this view!

It was amazing! We had a beautiful view of the Pearl Tower, the river, and The Bund. We settled in and then headed out to dinner at Hakkasan, where we went in London. It is fancy Chinese food- and so yummy! Yay for date night in Shanghai and only 2 more days until meeting our Kai. After dinner we walked to Nanjing Road, one of Shanghai’s most famous streets for shopping. It was crazy! Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a full day in Shanghai.

The next morning we had an incredible breakfast at the Ritz, overlooking the Pearl Tower. It was so yummy- they had everything you could think of- both American and Chinese breakfast items. Our waitress was very interested in our story, so when we showed her a picture of our 3 kiddos back home and then our new little guy, she was so moved. It was great to be able to tell her that we are Christians and how the Bible talks about caring for orphans and we feel called to obey. A few minutes later she brought over these coin purses for all 4 kids- so sweet! We love the people here- everyone that engages us is so kind and lovely!

After breakfast we took a Didi (like Uber) to Yu Garden. We walked around the garden (think beautiful Chinese architecture, bamboo, and ponds) for a bit, then found a Starbucks, took a picture of Trey at DQ, and then walked up The Bund. This is an area that follows the river- many people were out walking, running, etc. Then we headed up Nanjing Road again so we could see it during the day. At the end of the road is People’s Park, famous for the “marriage market” held there on the weekends. Parents of adult children line the sidewalks with a paper of their childrens’ stats taped on an umbrella. There were 100s of umbrellas! Then the parents walk aorund trying to find a mate for their child! It’s crazy- something you would never see in the US!

Yu Garden

View from the Bund of Shanghai

People’s Park

Then we caught a DiDi back to the hotel, changed clothes, grabbed lunch at the mall connected to the hotel, and then headed to Disneyland! We had so much fun walking through the park and riding rides. It was SO cold though, so after being there 6 hours, we were ready for our amazing and warm hotel room!

Sunday morning our same guide picked us up at 7am for our 5 hour train to Zhengzhou. They helped us get to where we needed to go, and it wasn’t long until we boarded our train! Our guide had purchased “first class” tickets for us- which only cost about 30RMB more (which is just a copule of dollars!) and it was so worth it. We had a huge area to ourselves for a bit (some spots ended up getting occupied on different stops along the way) and they gave us a box of Chinese snacks. Hopefully some of you saw the live video!! It was crazy trying to figure out what I was eating. They brought us lunch, but we couldn’t figure out what it was, it didn’t look tasty, and when we realized we had to pay for it, we opted out and had beef jerky and a bar that we had in our backpacks!

Sunrise in Shanghai

We arrived in Zhengzhou aroud 2pm, and our adoption agency’s in-country rep met us there! We easily found her and soon we were headed to our hotel, the Hilton Zhengzhou. We were also able to stay here on hotel points. We also knew here we would meet up with 9 other families also adopting with our agency. Most of them flew into Beijing and did 3 days of touring there, but since we did that last time, we wanted to change it up a bit.

Before arriving at the hotel, our driver dropped off our guide and Trey to meet the other families at the bank to exchange money for the adoption, and then he took me to our hotel. I settled us in, and then we met everyone down in the lobby for a quick walking tour around our hotel, They pointed out restaurants, etc, and then we walked to Carrefour, the grocery store, to grab formula and a few snacks. We got pringles, doritos, peanut butter, bread, and waters to have a few lunches in the hotel room. Chinese grocery stores are insane, espeically on the weekend! And there are no line rules in China. You just walk up and push your way to where you want to be. If you don’t want to be cut, you have to stand your ground! It is crazytown!! But we all made it through and back to the hotel.

We decided to eat in the hotel that night, so we went to the executive lounge for a free dinner. We have access to the lounge because of hotel points, and it has been so awesome- all day coffee, snacks, and drinks, and a huge buffet dinner. We were happy to not have to find somewhere to eat, and the food was really good!

We got Kai’s bed made and his backpack packed. I couldn’t believe we were meeting him the very next morning!

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