We went to Shamian Island this morning with the other families and our guide Elsie. It's not technically an island, but is separated from the main part of Guanzhou by a canal. It is a tourist attraction because the buildings are European influenced, so it looks a lot different than most of what we've been seeing. There are a lot of little shops to buy souvenirs, so we did some shopping, but we also spent a lot of time at the playground there. It was hot, of course, but TongJie still had fun playing and Ezekiel walked around a little, holding one of our hands. He still hates his sunglasses, but he will sometimes tolerate a hat without too much crying. We don't really have a choice with the hat - crying or no crying, he has to wear it if we're in the sun since we can't put sunscreen on the top of his head. Sunglasses are more for his comfort, so if he doesn't want to wear them we don't worry about it. We got back to our room around 1:00 and Ezekiel has been napping.
Yesterday afternoon, we all went to the pool and it was really fun. We'll probably be going every day. Even Ezekiel was okay with being in the water with one of us holding him. He did not want to walk in the kiddie pool though. The pool is an outdoor pool but it's completely shaded by the tall buildings much of the time. We can see the pool from our window, so we can just look out to see how crowded it is and how much of it is in the shade. After swimming, we walked around to find somewhere for dinner. We've eaten at KFC two times since we've been in China, and Pizza Hut once (not too bad, since we've been here a week now), and we didn't really want to eat fast food but we didn't know how to find local places that would be good or where we could figure out how to order. As we were walking, we passed by a little noodle place and decided to stop there to see if they had a menu with pictures we could point to. They gave us a menu, and Jeff found some beef noodles, TongJie wanted noodle soup so we got him a noodle soup with won tons, and I saw something that said vegetable roll that I wanted to try. The vegetable roll was only 6 yuan, which is like 1 US dollar, so we decided to order two of those because we figured they must be pretty small. It was only the equivalent of about 7 US dollars for our whole meal, and it ended up being a lot of food! The vegetable rolls were huge, so we should have just got one! It was really good though, so I guess we did pretty well with finding a place to eat, and we'll probably go back there again. We managed to eat most of the vegetable rolls between the three of us, and TongJie loved his soup but it was way too much. Luckily we had an empty container with a lid, so we put the rest of the noodles in there and took them back to our room, ha ha. Ezekiel is very different than TongJie was with eating - TongJie loved everything, and still does for the most part. Ezekiel only wants to drink formula from his bottle. Luckily, the orphanage gave us a bottle, and we've been using it pretty much all the time (washing it in boiling water in between uses), because he doesn't even like the bottles that we brought from home. We've been trying to get him to eat other stuff, but I don't think he was really exposed to it and he is not interested at all. We've had some success with Gerber Puffs, but that doesn't really help him much nutritionally. So we've just been giving him lots of bottles of formula and mixing rice cereal in. Sometimes we've also added some apple juice (we can't find prune or pear juice here) because he has been constipated a little bit, a problem that TongJie has never had. We keep trying with the food (soft, mashed fruits, egg, rice, noodles, yogurt, anything we can think of . . .) but he is not at all interested. He's obviously not under fed, so we're not too worried about it. Speaking of Ezekiel not being underfed, he is a big baby, as you may be able to tell from the pictures! He is 16 months old and weighs about 23 pounds, so I guess that's pretty average by US standards, but for a baby from an orphanage in China, it seemed big to us! Some of the people have been telling us that people from the Shandong Province are generally taller than the average in China, so I guess that might be part of it. Our guide Cindy in Jinan told me that TongJie is smaller "because he's from the south' - she said it like it was common knowledge, but I'd never heard that before.
Over the next couple of days, all the other Wacap families that we met here will be leaving. The one family with the daughter from the same orphanage as Ezekiel had their visa appointment at the consulate this morning, and the other three families have theirs tomorrow morning. Ours is July 7, so we still have a week before our appointment. After the consulate appointment, the child's visa is supposed to be ready the following afternoon/evening, and then the family can leave. However, there have been some delays recently due to issues with the visa system (I believe it's worldwide, not just in China), so they have been recommending that families stay an extra day beyond what they normally would, just in case the visa isn't ready. That's why we're not scheduled to leave till July 10. The guides have said that everyone has gotten their visas on schedule the last two weeks, so we're hoping it continues that way!