Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Update from Karli!

Day 1- arrival in Beijing

We are here in Beijing! Our flight was wonderful- truly the most comfortable and friendly a international flight I've ever taken. Our upgrade to premium economy bought us more leg room and less passengers, giving Dad, Matt and I each our own row complete with three pillows and three travel blankets! We could stretch out to sleep which made all the difference. Each seat was complete with a touchscreen tv system loaded with movies, tv shows, audiobooks, games, etc. I watched so many- it made the time go so quickly! There was also a map showing us where we were in our flight pattern- complete with current altitude and external temperature- at one time, it was -71 degrees F outside! The flight attendants were so nice and came around with water and tea/coffee every half hour or so. Every meal had a western choice and an Asian choice- my lunch of chinese five spice chicken was actually phenomenal!

Beijing boasts a new airport since I've been here- its massive and breathtakingly beautiful, clean, and easy to navigate. Immigration was a breeze, baggage came quickly, and before we knew it, we were hugging Angela and putting our bags in our van! After a pleasant (and enlightening- traffic and driving is so thrilling here) drive into the city, we are here at the Asia Pacific Garden Hotel, which might be one of the nicest hotels I've seen. Matt and I decided to go exploring- naturally I wanted to find the pool/sauna/steam room, so we ventured down to the basement level, where all signs indicated that these were located. Once we stepped out of the elevator, we quickly realized that this area was completely under construction- empty pools, paint cans and tarps lying everywhere. Coincidentally, the hotel must also have been fixing the elevator buttons, which were broken, and wouldn't let us call for another elevator to come back down to the basement to bring us up. After a bought of nervous laughter as we realized that every sign was written exclusively in mandarin, we let off through a maze of would-be spa halls to finally find the sketchiest set of stairs possible that brought us to a corner of the main lobby. I honestly thought we might be stuck down there until some other explorative soul tried to come down for a dip in the pool. ...

Hesitant to set out again, Matt and I decided to stay in our room and do some yoga, with hopes of easing jet lag and keeping ourselves occupied. This basically consisted of me doing spinal twists and shoulder stands while Matt sat in classic preschool "butterfly pose" and then quickly retired to savasana (you know, when you fall asleep at the end?) okay, he threw in a few upward dogs, I will give him that. But while it didn't keep him awake, it was definitely entertaining for me.

It's about 7pm here, and we are hopefully going to have dinner soon and then go to bed! We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow- the Great Wall, tianamen square, the forbidden city, and a Chinese acrobat show, all before we board an overnight train to Zhengzhou tomorrow. Maybe we will find time to breathe in there somewhere...

UPDATE.... Last night we took an overnight sleeper train to Zhengzhou and we are here at the Holiday Inn Express enjoying fresh espresso and comfy couches in the breakfast area. Gotcha time for Elijah is in two hours! We are all anxious for his arrival and thankful for a good nights rest in the train. Yesterday we went sightseeing (including a Hunger Strike/Willet great wall photoshoot) and concluded the evening with a Chinese Acrobat show. I don't even know where to begin to describe it- the things that they were doing we're unbelievable. At one point, there were six motorcycles riding in a steel spherical cage. Matt had to hold my hand because he was nervous :)

Angela took us to the 'big bowl' restaurant for lunch yesterday where we had REAL Kung pao chicken, crispy fried beef, and Matt and dad ordered donkey ribs! Apparently donkey is a delicacy here- the Chinese saying is 'in heaven, dragon meat- but on earth, donkey meat'! I was not a fan, but they thought it was pretty good. We also had our new favorite, mum flower tea- yes, mums, as in what your mom grows in her front yard- its delicious and traditionally served with large crystals of rock sugar. We want it all the time!

Now that we are in zhengzhou we can start to relax a bit- we will be here for at least a few days. The breakfast spread is great and the hotel is clean and friendly. We are all thankful for good coffee, too! I think I am on my third americano- I might regret those later....

Off to our room now! More updates in a bit when Elijah is here!!

Love, Karli

Sent with AGAPE LOVE from my iPad!


Update on the traveling trio--
skyped last night and everyone was gearing up for a full day of touring BeiJing.
As of 9 am (10 pm BJ time)this morning they will be traveling the overnight train to Zhengzhou to receive Elijah at the hotel as we sleep tonight.  I am unsure of the timing as they haved to contact the SWI to set a time after arrival. Gonna try to set up skype after they have him!  Photos from Beijing and "gotcha" will be posted to my blog tomorrow. We covet your prayers as Elijah's life is about to drastically change from everything he knows and loves.