Day 8: Shamian island and exploring Guangzhou

We started off our morning with a Skype video call with Steve and the kiddos. Everyone was cheerful and happy, smiling and waving. Steve was able to get a very good night’s sleep after his long voyage home.

Our guide picked us up at 10:00 and took us to the pedestrian street. It looks like a lot of mall-like stores lining a long street where vehicles aren’t allowed. Everything is decorated with red lanterns and doorway banners in advance of the the big New Year’s holiday.

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We ended up in a large square that faces the pearl market (that we visited with Ann yesterday).

From there we went to Shamian island, an area next to the Pearl river that had been created as a small island in colonial times. It has lovely 19th century French and British architecture and quiet tree lined streets. The island used to have many diplomatic missions from a number of countries as well as government offices.

About 10 years ago it was quite the hub for adoptive families because the medical clinic and consulate were nearby. Both have since moved to new locations and the island is now a quiet tourist area with some small shops. I bought a few more trinkets here mostly to finish the items for XiXi’s shadow box.

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XiXi enjoyed the shopping and was enamored with the the street artisans. Our guide took a nice photo of us by the statues of the children which is a very popular photo op. As we were smiling for the camera, I noticed several other people were taking our photo, as well. Elvin and I joked that we would end up on QQ (the Chinese equivalent of Facebook) or CCTV.

We went back to the hotel for another noodle cup lunch. XiXi is a pro at preparing noodle cups and insisted on fixing mine, handling all the details except the boiling water.

After a couple hours rest, I thought we should get out on our own and enjoy our first nice springlike day since we’ve been here. I had heard there was a park nearby so we hit the streets and found a hidden gem — Liu Hua lake park. It really is hidden as you can’t see the lake at all from the street.

XiXi really enjoyed this, much like she did the panda preserve, pointing out flowers and birds.

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We made our last stop at 7-11 to get a couple of Haagen Dazs ice cream cups to have as a treat back in our room.

We have our big day tomorrow, XiXi’s consulate appointment — the last piece of official business to complete the adoption and receive her visa to come home. If all goes as planned, we will pick up her visa Tuesday and be on our way to Hong Kong to catch our Wednesday morning flight back to the states.

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