Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not An Adventure I'd Care Repeat. EVER.

So, when I left you this morning, it was with a quick update that our guide had called to say that the consulate was adamant we do our medical exam this morning. Period. So we gathered the bare essentials together and put on the cruddiest shoes we had. When we got to the lobby to meet our guide, she recommended that The Boss wear the extra hotel slippers that she'd purchased rather than his sandals. I wasn't keen on that, thinking that the soles of his feet needed more protection than slippers but I was outvoted.

We headed out the doors of the White Swan, promptly stepping into water up to my calves. Yes, I know that my calves are a lot lower to the ground than most peoples' calves, but no matter my height, the water was that deep. And warm and gray and swirling. As far as I could see, it was only swirling with twigs and leaves. So far.

We trekked out to the main shopping strip for a quick stop at a photography store for Aidan's visa photo. Not working, due to power failure. Due to flooding. Great. So we headed back out to the street and walked through the deep, dirty waters. All I could think was the multiple verses that I've learned over the years about every where my feet tread and many waters not consuming me and the cleansing sanctifying power of the Blood of Jesus. Literally, I just keyed in on The Boss's back, held my umbrella and followed. Within 10 minutes of walking, my capris were soaked up to my butt. The Boss held Aidan tightly while we walked, and for once she sat quietly in his arms. I just watched his back, prayed continuously and walked.

Through a maze of alleys and little courtyards we trudged. It was horrifying. Seriously. I know I've been given to some light-hearted exaggerations in the past, to spice up the stories here on my blog. But this trip needs no spicing up. The farther from the hotel we got, the more horrifying the sights. The earthworms were (NO LIE!) about 12" long and so hugely bloated with water that they looked like something from a bad sci-fi movie. (I couldn't help but giggle a little remembering JanBug's aversion to earthworms in college. These were waaaay worse than those, dear. Waaay!) As we walked the waters became muddier and muddier and I saw awful things floating by. Things I will not even detail here. Let's just say that right about then, I was really, really regretting that the ONE thing that fell through the cracks in our preparations was those immunizations.

I tried my best to keep my eyes on the goal for which we were trudging but it was getting harder by the minute. It didn't help that at one point, even our guide freaked out a bit and couldn't take one step further. It's like she all of a sudden was paralyzed - standing there almost hyperventilating. I didn't even want to know what, if anything, she saw that triggered that. I just prayed and pressed on.

Finally, next to the medical clinic, we found a photo shop that did an instant photo with several copies for Aidan's visa. I was privileged to meet another blogger in person, Cindy and her hubby with little Naomi. They are from New Orleans, so the flooding and wind and rain didn't faze them quite like it did us. Plus, this is their third adoption from China and they have seen and experienced sooo much that I'm sure this felt more anecdotal! (Maybe I'll feel that way someday about today, too!) The photos all got snapped and we walked on to the clinic.

Aidan did great at her medical exam. They checked her ears, throat, lungs and nose - all clear. They weighed and measured her - about 21 lbs. And they checked her hearing. Sorta. They noted her special need and we signed more paperwork. It was particularly pleasing to this Momma that when she was tired of all these strangers taking her off Daddy's lap, she only wanted to cling to Momma. And cling she did!

We were done quicker than ANY doctor's office visit I've ever been to! So quickly that I said to The Boss, "they made us walk through ALL OF THAT for this?" And we headed back out to the street. By then our guide had decided that she WAS. NOT. walking through all that again and that we'd walk back via the main street as far as security and the local police would allow us. It seems that the White Swan does not allow any foot traffic in or out of their main entrance and that the line for taxis earlier was "too long" to consider waiting for a ride to the clinic. Hence the walking through who knows what.

(I must add at this point that she made that decision without consulting us and without informing us that there was another option potentially available to us. Even after I asked her twice if there were any other options beyond walking. Considering the health risks, we would have preferred knowing all the information up front. We would have been ready earlier and been willing to wait. It would have been better than wading!)

We walked out the main street of Shamian Island, now blocked to car traffic, and on to the main entrance to the White Swan. At the guard station, we hailed a taxi and drove in to the main entrance for just a few cents. When we got out of the car, I looked at our guide and informed her that if at any time in the coming three days the roads were like that again we would be taking a taxi and we didn't care about the price. She redeemed herself by splitting the cost of this ride with us. And by telling us that the consulate appointment is off the island so the next time we had to go out we'd be going by bus with a bunch of other families. At no charge.

It was obvious to us that she was totally still freaked out by the water and she dropped us of with the barest instructions for tomorrow's responsibilities and stern warnings to shower and wash up really well. As if we needed that sage bit of advice. We took turns in the shower, trying to pacify Aidan while we washed off things we dare not even imagine. I literally soaped up head to toe twice and broke down crying in the shower. I'm sure it was the stress. And believe me, there was plenty of stress. My shoulders and neck are still achey with the tension of the morning. It's taken me all day to be able to write this out without feeling totally angry and grossed out at the re-telling. Seriously.

As soon as we finished our decontamination process, I broke out the Cipro for both of us. Believe you me, we'll be dosing ourselves with that for the rest of the trip. We are sooooo grateful our doctor sent us with meds! We crashed for the afternoon in our room while Aidan napped and spent the rest of the day enjoying dinner and some light shopping with Brittany, Bayley, and Addie. I'll post later about the rest of the day - and leave you with a teaser picture of our little Empress to hold you til then!


Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

That truly is quite the adventure! Even crazier than Bill & Ted's. :)

Glad you made it to the places you needed to, even if it was a harrowing experience. And how wonderful that she wanted Mama to comfort her.

Salzwedel Family said...

I'm am so sorry....that sounds just awful. Praise the Lord it's over!

That is the most precious picture of the Lil' Empress to date!

April Isaacs said...

I CAN NOT believe what Guangzhou looks like right now!! OH MY!!! We didn't see a drop of water the entire time in China!

I have a huge favor to ask you if you can make it out of the White Swan. I bought one of the traditional Chinese dresses that all the kids wear for the red couch photos... which I forgot to take, by the way. Anyway, it is too small for my daughter and she is sooo disappointed. Is there anyway you could pick up a ladies small for me... actually 2. I got one for my neighbor and hers is too small also. If you can, please get one in red. The other I don't care about. Of course, I will pay for the dresses and for shipping etc... And, you won't have to mail it as soon as you get home. I will give you plenty of time to get settled in. I hope this isn't too presumptuous to ask. I can't think of another way to get her a dress.

Also, please don't feel bad about not being able to get things together there. WIth only Emme in China, I would forget something every time we went out. A diaper, wipes, extra outfit, hot water... you name it! It's hard to get back into baby mode having been out of it for so long!

Are you so ready to get home?????

Kateri said...

Well I never!!! T, I don't even know what to say. Can you believe it?;)
I will say that I am so glad that you put your foot down about future "street wading." We didn't have any rain or flooding and they took us to the exam in a taxi!! UGGHH!!
The consulate appt is quite a hike by bus...kept thinking that we would never get there. It really wasn't THAT far away but we didn't realize it was so far off of the Island. I pray that you have a better day tomorrow! It can only get better, right??!!
Love and prayers coming your way!!

Carol said...

Oh that is horrible.....this is supposed to be the nice part of the trip.....hugs!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, ugh, ugh!!! It's really sad to see Shamian Isl. like that because it was such a place of rest and relaxation to us. Maybe it's best you didn't know what all you were going to get into because I doubt there had been enough of immunizations for you to take...

Your journey to the med. appt. reminded me of when Phil and I were in high sch. Every year our church youth group went to a town in W VA and did construction/mission work. In an attempt to be sanitary the leaders would make us wash our hands in a small stream behind the job site. On the last day before we headed home one of the gals discovered a "disgusting object" floating past. Upon further investigation we discovered the the neighbors just upstream had run their sewer pipe directly into the stream. To this day you can thoroughly gross any of us out by mentioning what we named "The Loathesome Floatsome"! Loathesome Floatsome was all I could think about while reading your adventure... Take care! ~ Vonda

Anonymous said...

Definitely not very fun or glamorous. We've been through many floods in our part of the country, but never had to wade through for any distance. Yuch, yuch. Oh, Home Sweet Home. We're anxious to see you home and safe. Love, GramO & GrampO

Anonymous said...

What an amazing trip! Most wonderful; some hopefully not repeated. Too much flooding going on but so happy you got your little one. Safe trip! Love, Aunt ReRe

Anonymous said...

Oh no!

I just picked up your blog site from RQ.

How wretched. You survived though. You go through the waters.

I hope tomorrow is better and that you are having a relatively restful night.

Kelly (Hann23 from RQ)

Anonymous said...

Hi There not and adventure i;d care to go on either
you made it through so Love and lots of Prayers ,,have a safe Trip home
Aunt Ga

Kamandemmi said...

I am so sad for you. :o{ We were not lucky enough to stay at the White Swan as LH stayed near the Consulate(now) way back when we went. We visited though and it was so refreshing to be there. I am sorry that you are not able to enjoy it! But I can tell beyond the shadow of a doubt that a darling, happy daughter has been added to the gang!!!! The photo of her is precious!!!!


PS-I would so love to meet you when you get home! I realized we have a LH and a FALCON connection!!!

Mervy said...

Isaiah 43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

Just think - all this will soon be over and you will have all these stories to tell for years and years to come.

Stinks now - but it will be an adventure, and maybe funny, later.

David and Sarah said...

Oh, I am so sorry about the bad day (I'm sure that sounds like an understatement!). Praying that tomorrow is better.

Elissa said...

Wow, I never thought to appreciate our door-to-door bus service to the medical appt! (and photo shop next door). I'm so sorry you guys had to go through that, but it's one more icky, slimy step closer to home! :)

Jonni, John & Sofia said...

What a crazy day! Glad you guys got everything taken care of. I remember that medical clinic like it was yesterday. Sorry to hear how nasty thigs were on the way there. Hope you are felling better now and so glad you got toGuangzhou okay.

Beautiful photo os Aidan, what a sweetie she is!


Heidi @ GGIP said...

I am so sorry. I'm sure you are very stressed!

Swishy said...

Oh, my gosh, that is craziness!! What a darling girl, though!

Anonymous said...

The "happy ending" teaser is besutiful - but I am soo sorry you had to trudge thru such awful waters!!! Thank God the appt. went well, and you were able to CLEAN up!

Can't wait to hear about the "lady in red"!


Kimberly said...

Oh. My. Goodness. How awful. I am not feeling totally convicted of complaining about having cabin (hotel) fever yesterday. ANYTHING would be better than the giant earthworms. (shudder). Praying for protection over the whole family from any lasting effects from that ordeal.

Only 2 more days til we all head home with our little ones!

VikingClanEnMass said...

What a cute little chunk-a-monk! VikingBoy4 said, "that wittle girl is so chubby!"