Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Guangzhou or Bust

Arrived in Guangzhou last night after a 2 1/2 hour flight from Beijing on Hainan Airlines, which I had not heard of until getting to the airport! Not bad, but Asian flights are culturally very different from Western flights. The flight attendants literally push you into your seat row if you are blocking the aisle while they are boarding. I'm not kidding! One of the men from another adopting family ended up on my lap after taking too long to stow his bag in the overhead compartment. It was hilarious! Upon landing, as soon as the wheels touch down, everybody and their mother is up out of their seats getting their bags. I don't mean "while taxiing;" I mean literally, at the millisecond of Wheels Down, seatbelts are off and compartments are opened and its bedlam to get off the flight. Equal parts alarming and hilarious.

Guangzhou is, as our guides said, a "more relaxed" city than Beijing. The language here is Cantonese and there is no small amount of bad feeling that they are forced to speak "the so called official language" of Mandarin. The city itself is large and dirty and bustling---and remarkably in archictecture and design--like New Orleans. The French influence is very evident. The people here feel a bit more connected to the Southeast Asian cultures than the northern Chinese, due to their proximity to Hong Kong and other nations by sea.

It's a neat town, and I'll have more (no doubt alarming/hilarious) things to share after today...especially because we get our daughter in just a few hours! The times they are a-changin'...

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