Too much to hope for…

Our agent in China said today that not only is the retired orphanage director coming back to see Jocelyn, but her foster family is scheduled to come as well to Shangrao.

This makes it very real. I have no idea how she will handle seeing the people who loved her for almost a year before she came to us. I have their letters, I have their photos. I know they are very deep thinkers and sometimes blew me away with how much they had to say. 

Still processing. 

China itinerary

Here’s what our journey will look like. Dizzying, mind-boggling–start popping those vitamins now, I guess.

Monday Beijing Beijing Peace Hotel B/L Meet the group in the hotel lobby and begin your day with a tour at the Forbidden City. Listed as a world heritage site in 1987, the Forbidden City contains the largest group of intact palace structures in the world. The palace is 720,000 square meters in size and contains 9,999 rooms, numerous pavilions, gardens and courtyards. Then visit the Tiananmen Square. Noted as the largest city square in the world, the square was initially designed for political rallies and important gala events. Today the square is flanked by the Forbidden City in the north, the Great Hall of the People in the west, Mao TseTung’s Mausoleum in the south and the Museum of Chinese Revolution and the Museum of Chinese History in the east. In the afternoon, visit China’s largest temple and altar—the Temple of Heaven, which is often depicted as the most recognizable symbol of China.

Tuesday Beijing Beijing Peace Hotel B/L Begin your day with a tour at the Great Wall. Constructed more than 2,000 years ago by China’s first emperor, the ancient wall is 6,350 km or about 4,000 miles in length.

Wednesday Beijing/Xian Overnight Express Train B/L/D This morning explore the fascinating Hutong neighborhoods. Beijing’s oldest Hutongs were constructed during Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Your tour will take you through some of the best-preserved Hutong neighborhoods that represent the history, culture and lifestyle of old Beijing. After a special homemade lunch at a local family residence in the Hutong Lane area, your family can learn to make your own kites under professional instruction. This afternoon, stop by at the major 2008 Olympic Venues including the National Stadiums – “Bird’s Nest” and the National Aquatics Center – “Watercube”. Then enjoy flying your handmade kites with the others there at this historic spot. Early this evening, get onboard a luxury express train for your overnight journey to Xian. Beijing/Xian Soft Sleeper Train Z19 .

Thursday Xian Days Hotel & Suites Xinxing, Xi’an L Arrive early this morning in China’s ancient capital city of Xian. Known as ChangAn in ancient times, Xian was the capital city of China for 1,062 years (13 dynasties and 73 different emperors). Travel on top of the 950-year-old city wall on a bike; be sure to enjoy the panoramic view. Built during the early Ming Dynasty with a core of mud and covered by three layers of bricks. Xian’s city wall is the only city wall that remains intact in China today. After Chinese hot pot lunch, enjoy the traditional puppet show in the GaoJia Courtyard in afternoon. Your children can practice puppeteering after the show. Visit the Tangbo Art Museum in afternoon.

Friday Xian/Hu County Farmer’s House B/L/D Embark on an amazing historical and cultural adventure today beginning with the exploration of the Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987. Created 2,000 years ago to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor QinShiHuang, time and the elements have gradually worn away the vibrant painted details from the soldiers and horses to reveal their original earthy terracotta color. Learn making terracotta warriors in one local craft factory. Continue your trip to Hu County famous for its peasant farmer artists who create vibrantly colored peasant paintings and intricate paper cutouts. Tonight you will have the rare opportunity to stay at a typical farmer’s home to learn to make JiaoZi (traditional Chinese dumplings) and enjoy a home-made JiaoZi dinner there. After dinner, tonight you will have a dancing party with local farmers at the village grain-sunning ground.

Saturday Hu County/Xian/Chengdu Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel B/L Enjoy a rare glimpse into China’s countryside living through a visit to the workshops and galleries where you can learn about the artist’s special techniques, purchase artwork or paper cutouts and even try your hand at creating your own magnificent work of art. Visit the farmer’s old village and you will be surprised by the huge difference between the old village and new village where you are staying. Visit the local elementary school and have a 45-minutes class with the local children (You may enjoy bringing some small gifts to the children for the school visit).After your included Chinese lunch, return to the Xian Airport for your flight to Chengdu. Xian/Chengdu HU7855 (2:15P/3:35P) (Your local guide has tickets) Please meet your local guide and driver at the Chengdu airport exit for transfer to the hotel. As an optional evening entertainment, tonight you will get to enjoy a traditional show at a tea house – it is a favorite one of adults and kids alike and is often a highlight of the trip to China! Get your camera ready and see if you can figure out the art of the local custom of “face changing”. It’s a fascinating local artistic work.

Sunday Chengdu Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel B/L Go on an extraordinary journey to the Panda Breeding Research Base this morning. A professional panda caregiver will give a brief insight into panda research findings and everyone will have the rare opportunity to hold and hug a baby panda — something everyone in the family is sure to enjoy. After lunch, visit the Chengdu old town – JingLi Street, which combines the culture of the Three Kingdoms Period with the folk customs of Sichuan. The tea-houses, stores and hotels are modeled on the architectural style of a traditional old town in western Sichuan Province from the Qing (1644-1911) Dynasty. As you stroll down the narrow streets, you will find local artisan Shu Embroidery, lacquer products, calligraphy work and other local handicrafts. Visiting stores on this street, one feels like you have catapulted back in time and you will appreciate the relaxing and local unique flavor of this ancient street. Notes: When you tour the Panda Reserve Center, you will receive an introduction to panda research at the reserve followed by the opportunity to meet and hold a baby panda. Please note that the cost of holding the panda and taking a picture with one is an additional fee to the entry fee which is __ per person for holding a baby panda. Although the Pandas are cute and adorable, they may inflict accidental injuries in their playful nature. (My note: Good to know.)

Monday Chengdu/Nanchang Nanchang Gloria Plaza Hotel B/L You will be transferred to the Chengdu Airport for your flight to Nanchang this morning. Chengdu/Nanchang 3U8927(8:00A/9:55A)(E-tickets issued by our China office) Meet your local English-speaking tour guide and private van driver at the exit of the Nanchang Airport for transfer to the hotel. Visit the Tengwang Tower this afternoon after the included Chinese lunch. 

Tuesday Nanchang/Shangrao Shangrao Jingdu International Hotel B/L Your will be transferred to the Nanchang Train Station for the trip to Shangrao by bullet train. Nanchang/Shangrao Bullet Train D94(8:58A/10:59A)(Your local guide has train fare) Meet your local English-speaking tour guide and private van driver at the Shangrao Train Station exit for transfer to the hotel. After the included Chinese lunch, visit the foster care family.

Wednesday Shangrao/Nanchang Nanchang Gloria Plaza Hotel B/L With help of your private English-speaking tour guide and private van driver, you will visit the Shangrao orphanage this morning. Your orphanage visitation typically includes a lunch meeting with the orphanage director and staff. After lunch, you may explore your child’s finding site – 上饶县民政局门口。 You will be transferred to the Shangrao Train Station for the trip to Nanchang by bullet train. Shangrao/Nanchang Bullet Train D91(7:28P/9:32P)(Your local guide has train fare) Meet your local English-speaking tour guide and private van driver at the exit of the Nanchang Train Station for transfer to the hotel.

Thursday Nanchang/US B You will be transferred to the Nanchang Airport for your returning flights via any gateway city like Shanghai or Beijing. Arrive at home on the same day.

Cuddling a panda…for a price

One of the things we will be doing on our trip is visiting the Chengdu Research Center, where they take care of pandas. This includes Chinese Red Pandas, which are so darned cute.

But the real attraction is your traditional black and white panda. You get a chance to hold a panda–but for a heckuva fee. Then again, when do you get to ever hold a panda again? This is a tough one.

http://theselfishyears.com/2013/04/15/how-to-cuddle-with-a-panda-in-chengdu/

 

Tai Gui le!

One phrase we used in China more than a few times was “Tai Gui le” which means too expensive.

That’s where we are at with our plane tickets right now. The travel agency we used eight years ago is holding coach fare seats on American Airlines that cost as much as business class. I found different seats on a newer aircraft (United) that are $1k less a piece and are Economy Plus. That means I actually have a place to plug in something if I want to be entertained for 12 hours or more. 

We’ve emailed twice and called and left a message on this. I’ve put the tickets we want on hold.

As far as the tickets with (eek) American Airlines? Tai Gui le!

Ann is on the job!

Lovely Ann from Red  Thread China now has access to the blog and will be contacting the orphanage to look for the finding report. I thought it would be the police.

I was told that having two finders listed is unusual–both with the same name.