Today (Wednesday in China) we headed to Eli’s hometown to apply for his passport. It was a 3 hour drive there and over 4 hours back. I had been dreading this trip because I had heard that some people haven’t had air conditioning in their van, hadn’t been able to use the bathroom all day, and couldn’t eat all day. We have an amazingly awesome guide, van, and driver. I actually enjoyed the trip because it gave us a chance to cuddle with Eli. He’s a busy boy so it was especially good for me to get some closer, quieter, extended time.
Eli’s city has fewer tall buildings. Life is a little more slow..a few scooters instead of dozens. People were friendly and we were told the city is very safe. Eli’s orphanage directors came to fill out paperwork. We learned he’s been living in not only an orphanage but a welfare institute (where people of all ages live who need support from the government). One of his directors said hello but Eli didn’t seem to have any reaction. Our guide let us know that he probably didn’t have any contact with them. He got very excited to enter the city but wasn’t sad or confused. Our guide asked him about the day before when he cried before our nap. He adamantly denied crying so I guess it’s the first of a few hard times neither of us will fully understand.
Our trip took the vast majority of our day. We did stop at a Chinese hamburger joint….in one word-YIKES! Besides the random urination on steps or the sidewalk (which can put a quick end to your appetite), the food was pretty unrecognizable. A random girl without parents in sight sat at our table. She was adorable and super friendly but also mocked Ei’s height at some point in our conversation. On a more humorous note, she told our guide that Adam looked like Mr. Bean! After we ate, we stopped at a rest stop (per Eli’s request) and I was so shocked…they had an accessible bathroom-in the middle of the Chinese countryside! I was amazed!
The ride home was a tad terrifying. Lane lines are completely a suggestion. As is the direction of the road-even the highway! Imagine the worst traffic you have EVER seen…triple it and it’s every day here in cities. Our driver decided to take a detour….on dirt scooter roads. Since we lived to tell, it was pretty awesome. We eventually dead ended into a narrow pedestrian passage. So naturally, we just reversed back down the dirt road.
We were all exhausted after the day so bath and our increasing bedtime routines ended our night. Elil is a fan of routines so we’re hopeful some of these can transfer to our next hotel. We are officially finished with provincial business and just need to head to the next city for our national business. We need Eli’s passport first though. It should be ready by Friday morning and we fly out at noon.
All for now!
*Disclaimer: Please ignore typos! I have to peck these out on my phone.