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Paul, Beth, Tyler and Ana, Travis, Lindsey and Jordan and Sophie Ann!
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March 23 - 24, 2006
The Endless day
24 hours of travel…. We are here. Amazing journey so far. We left Beth’s folks house about 4 am to go to the Portland Airport. Flew to San Fran, waited an eternity to get on another plane, then flew 12 hours to China. What was I thinking??? Why was I in a hurry to get on a plane that was crowded, hot, FULL, and had a poor movie and audio selection… Not to mention coach seats! I must have been nuts. On the bright side, we did however meet some very nice new friends. Being a “outside the box” type of guy, I decided against wearing the baby blue shirt with a butterfly on it that was provided by the agency, but there were plenty of other guys wearing theirs so it was easy to find the adoption groupies we would be traveling with.

We are blessed with great traveling companions. The first two hours in the airport were greetings punctuated with occasional well mannered small talk, but by the time the waiting area reached maximum density, many lasting memories were being made and with the men, the barriers were down... all are fair game!

The group dynamics were interesting, some quiet, some outgoing, some crazy like me. The four hour wait in san fran provided a great time to sit and chat a bit and get to know who your traveling buddies were and a little about what motivated them to undergo this whole adoption ordeal. Many different stories, all good, all touching your heart. On the airplane, we had quite a bit of time to visit with others, walk the isles, contemplate life in a metal tube.. Did you know that the inflatable neck pillows can make great party hats? How about this snack factoid... Instead of the traditional airline peanuts/pretzels/snack mix, we were given Chinese top rammen served complete with mystery meat, chop sticks and Chinese lemon cookies... Some of our new friends, Kevin and Jennifer Gordon seem like they will be great to hang with. He is a F-15 driver from Luke AFB, and the connection between us is strong because of the mutual military experience, and a healthy dose of craziness.

Arrival at the airport in Beijing was a highly organized chaos... But that will be in the Journal for the next day…let me end my part with a special thanks to our guides from AWAA. Lineker, Sherry, Amy, and Mandy met us at the airport and did an excellent job of herding about 14 families flying from San Fran to the bus, getting us to the hotel with luggage, and getting us tucked in. All I can say is that AWAA rocks and did an excellent job! Well, here is a little entry from Lindsey, the official “scribe”.. her first note from…~Beijing, China~

Well, here I am in China….I never would have thought I’d be saying that! We left Thursday morning around 4 a.m. for the Portland Airport. We took a short flight to San Francisco… first flight ever. It wasn’t as bad as I thought! We had a four hour layover in San Francisco. It seemed like we were there all day! Finally, we boarded our plane and took off for China. It wasn’t bad till about an hour or two into the flight. Then I was tired of flying! They did have movies to watch; however, I was a little upset when they cut the very last scene out of Pride and Prejudice! The best scene in the entire movie and they had to take it out!!!

Well, on our second flight, I was seated by mom on one side and a little old Chinese lady the other. The lady was very cute. The stewardess handed out customs forms for us to fill out. After dad and I got done with ours, she leaned forward and looked at us and pointed to her forms, wanting us to fill them out for her. It turned out she was from Mongolia and had been visiting someone outside the country. Her birthday was in 1928. She was a very cute old grandma.  I don't think she spoke English or Chinese because she didn't know how to communicate with us and couldn't read the Chinese on the flight. She basically copied all that I did. If I got orange juice, she got orange juice. If I leaned my seat back.. granny did too. It was very sweet.

This biggest problem I had with the airplane trip was that everyone around me was sleeping at one point or another and I could not seem to fall asleep! I was trying so hard but I could never find a comfortable enough position until an hour before the flight ended. I was asleep about ten minutes when my mom woke me up for dinner. I couldn't go back to sleep after that! Needless to say, when we got to the Radisson hotel here in Beijing, I flopped on the bed and was asleep almost instantly!

So that was the general contents of the first day of my China Adventure! Tune in next time to hear the Tale of Tian 'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, The Pearl Shop, The Summer Palace, and the Silk Palace.......
First Flight
Still Waiting.........
Noodle Snack
Their coming to take me away.....
Me sleeping and Mongolian Granny
We Made It!