Alex is back to his happy self and we've had a few days in Guangzhou to sightsee while waiting for our visa appointment at the US Consulate, which is this morning (Tuesday).
Since we've been in Gzhou, we've been with two other families from our adoption agency. They are wonderful. One couple is from southeast Michigan. She teaches first grade and he is a state trooper. They have a 5-year old son who is traveling with them and is a great kid. They adopted a 14-month old little girl with a cleft lip and palate. The other family is a woman traveling with her 5-year old daughter that she adopted from China two and a half years ago. She adopted a 4 year old little girl this trip. The sisters are precious and this woman is a rock star for traveling by herself for the last 2 weeks. It's really nice to have their companionship.
On Sunday, we went to the Chimelong Safari Park. Knowing how awful Chinese zoos treat their animals, we were a bit hesitant until we read some positive reviews. So, off we went, and it was pretty incredible.
Alex was a bit unimpressed, but Nick and I loved it. The first section was an open area with several animals (non-carnivorous ones) roaming freely. Our train had to stop several times to allow an emu or water buffalo to cross our path. They had an amazing tiger exhibit, including the largest group of white tigers anywhere. Nick was able to feed some white tigers by throwing them chicken pieces. The tiger center was amazing. They have a breeding facility and we saw several cubs playing together as well as babies so new that they were still in incubators.
My favorite part was the koalas. I've never seen one in person. We even got to pet one (photos to come, we ran out of space on the camera so one of the other families took pics for us). They also had a great panda exhibit and lots of babies. The other highlight was feeding giraffes leaves, even Alex did it.
Yesterday, we were on a guided tour of Gzhou to some traditional sights that our guide recommended - a temple, a beautiful old building that they've turned into an art museum and their pearl market (which was a huge bust). We've also spent some time on Shaiman Island (which was where I was hoping we were staying). It's part of old Canton where many of the Westerners first stayed when it opened to the West. It's less China and more New Orleans, with quiet streets, a Starbucks and nice shops. It's also where many adoptive families stay. That area is only about 6 blocks from our hotel and is a welcome respite to the loud streets where we are staying.
I need to hop in the shower to get ready for our appoinment this morning, but will try to post photos later.
Two more days and we're headed home!