Day 13 was a free day except for those families (including ours) that had children over the age of two. All of us had to be back at the hotel in the afternoon in order to wait for our guide to call us with the TB results. If any child’s results were positive, they had to go back to the clinic for a chest X-ray.
The optional excursion was a trip to the Pearl Market. A friend at home (Michelle) who has two girls also born in China, shared with me before we left that she made a trip to the pearl market and bought some sets of pearls for her girls’ wedding days. I thought that was a fabulous idea! So off we went.
The three families that went took separate cabs because it was more economical than renting a bus. Jason gave a card to the driver and told us to stand where we were dropped off and wait. The group would go into the market together. Once we were dropped off, we waited…and waited…AND waited outside. It soon became clear we weren’t in the right spot. We didn’t see anyone in our group. We got an international package extension on our phone for a limited time so I tried to text Jason. No answer. Pretty soon, I saw him running through the crowd towards us. We had been dropped off at the wrong location and the group was waiting for us. Jason to the rescue!
I was envisioning a little street market with a few booths to choose from. Boy was I wrong! For those of you ladies who like jewelry, you are going to wish you had come along. Envision a six level mall dedicated to nothing but jewelry AND you can bargain on price. Hubby probably thought it was good we were under a time restriction to get back to the hotel, because otherwise i might have spent all day (and probably too much RMB.) I have to admit that the heat and no air conditioning does deplete my shopping stamina somewhat!
Jason took us to a shop where they spoke pretty good english and he said we could be confident that we would be treated fairly. (I’ve read on the internet that sometimes guides will get a kickback for bringing business to the shops. I don’t know if its true. But you know what? That’s ok with me. As I mentioned before. Jason ROCKS! I trust him and he has been by our side for 24 hours a day for almost a week. If its true, he deserves it.)
The pearls were looped together in long strands and grouped together like a bale of hay. Cost was based on fresh water, saltwater, size, color and uniformity. My one and only child care request from Hubby was to watch and entertain the girls long enough for me to pick something out something special for them. (Mimi helped of course!) I picked out two white strands and clasps and watched as they were looped together. I also picked out several sets of earrings.
By the time their weddings roll around they may feel that pearls are out of style and won’t want to wear them. That’s ok. They may hang on to them as a keepsake and know that it was designed especially for them by their Mama with with love. Maybe THEIR daughters will want them.
We took a little longer to walk around a bit and then walked back to the front of the market to get our own cab. We finally flagged one down and handed him a card with our hotel address. We were back at the China Hotel in no time!
We got our TB results in the afternoon which were negative! (Praise God.)
All of our group went to a family style local restaurant for the evening meal. It was within walking distance to our hotel and had a variety of local fare. Jason headed the efforts and we were able to test our skills with chopsticks and hot tea if we so desired. My chopstick skills have improved, but have a long way to go! When I’m really hungry, I just ask for the fork which is always readily available. It seemed like most of the kiddos were not really into the Chinese cuisine except for perhaps some of the noodles and the sweet dumplings.
Mom sat next to Jen from another adoptive family who’s parents are Chinese and seemed to be familiar with everything that was served. Mom decided to follow her lead in order to navigate her way through the meal! Hulaloo spent quite a bit of time peering into the live seafood tanks because it reminded her of Red Lobster at home.
We finished our meal and headed back to our room to call it a day.
Day 14 will be a huge milestone. Our appointment at the US consulate for citizenship!
One day closer to home and seeing everyone we love most in the world.
Until next time.
PS – Little Li is snuggling with me on the bed as i write this. No silent tears this time 🙂 She can say ‘More’ , ‘Bye-Bye’ , ‘Mama’, ‘DaDa’ and ‘Mimi’. Simply amazing.