This morning we met our guide to exchange our money and found out that we will NOT see Maria today. Something delayed the orphanage director from being able to meet us. We are supposed to see her tomorrow. We are of course disappointed, but we are taking the opportunity for the kids to get some homework done, while we try to figure out the money and logistics. We were hurt by the exchange rate and lost about 2%, so the U.S. dollar must be down. We'll add pictures to previous posts as time and internet allows.
Beijing was a city where many people spoke English and English was prominent on many signs, but here only our guide speaks English and very little signs have English included. The hotel staff does not understand us, so if we need anything we have to wait for our guide to come. She is also difficult for us to understand.
At 2:30pm when we were supposed to meet Maria, our guide took us to Walmart instead. What an adventure! There are people, bikes, motorized bikes, and vehicles everywhere on all sides of the road. This city is like NYC. The kids are a little grossed out by the boys and men periodically watering trees:) Walmart was large, but less selections of what we would like were available. We had to buy individual soda because they do not really sell it by the case. We bought the only kind of water they had in a case (water is not drinkable here, we even used bottled water to brush our teeth). It was also different because of all the fresh fish, etc. on ice. Much of what we buy here is no cheaper than in the U.S. and some things are more expensive, but there are also things incredibly cheap like soda, ice cream, & candies.
After shopping we went back to the room and the girls worked on more homework. Marsha rested due to a headache & sore throat (the air is very dry & smokey) and Gary worked on pictures. At 8:30pm we headed out to check out the hotel pool. Wow the pool was another adventure in culture shock. The girls wanted to swim and a helper was there to aid in the locker room, where privacy was not an issue and everyone walked around without towels. Then the girls were made to walk through the shower while I had to walk through a different door. Then we had to buy bathing caps (at least we think we had to). They had a great time in the pool though:)
After swimming Gary went back to McDonald's to get supper. We haven't found anywhere to eat, but the hotel buffet, so I think we'll have to ask the guide tomorrow if something is available. We're eating McDonald's while watching a movie on Gary's computer (the tv here is all Chinese, except 2 stations the girls can't watch).
We're still confused about what will happen tomorrow. We were told that the guide will meet us at 3:30 to take us to meet Maria. We're not sure if she gets to come with us or if we're just meeting her in order to go to Walmart to buy supplies for her. The reason we're confused is that the guide said we need no money tomorrow, but we wait for the money until Wednesday. We are anxious to get Maria soon:)
Pictures from our day!
Please continue to pray. The girls are really doing a nice job getting along and we're really enjoying ourselves as a family. Also even though there are language barriers, the people here are so kind. The work very hard to help us while we stare at them in total confusion:) At least at McDonald's we can point and hold up our fingers for "we'll have a number 2".
Miss you greatly!