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This log was written by Austin while we were traveling in China. He took the pictures, did all of the writing, and made all of the posts all on his own. It has been migrated from a previous web site, so the format has changed but the content is all here.

Travel log of our journey to China to adopt a baby sister.

Getting ready to go
Today is the day before we leave, and we are almost done packing. While preparing to go we have to be sure we have everything we need. If we are going to be there for two weeks, we can’t forget anything. Tonight we had Chinese beef for dinner, and we are making cookies for the last American food for a while. I am immensely excited. I have never been to a foreign country before. It is going to be so different from here. We are leaving the house at 6:30 tomorrow morning to the airport. The flight will be leaving at 9 AM. China is 13 hours ahead of us, it is going to take a day to get there and then we add 13 hours more and we get there on the evening of the 24th, how weird is that? We leave in the morning of the 23rd and arrive in the evening of the 24th. It’s like skipping ahead two days! Well I’m going to make my cookies, I will write more on the evening of the 24th. Which is tomorrow for you. Wow I’m a day ahead of you yet it feels the same! Really weird. ^_^

Flying Onwards
To get to China we had to take three long plane rides. Our first was Providence to Detroit. That took two hours. Then on Detroit to Tokyo which was a 13 hour flight, I had an amazing sight. We were flying over the polar ice cap north of the Arctic circle arctic circle! It was awesome. Once we arrived in Tokyo Japan we bought food drink, and a souvenir The currency in Japan is the Yen. We received Yen as change and I decided to save it. On the last flight of the day it took 4 hours. It was nice though. Plenty of movies and games. And then, we were there. China at last! I had a very long day. Once we arrived we went through Customs and got our baggage. You know, all that stuff. Then we found Chen Chen our Chinese guide, then a bus ride and info on our trip, the whole deal, and last of all the hotel and nice warm beds. This is awesome but I’m tired! Goodnight to everyone! -_-

Our first day in Beijing
Today on our first day in the city, we are doing sightseeing in two places. A jade workshop, and the Great Wall of China. I woke at 5:30 and sat around for a little while, when the breakfast room opened, we made our way done there and had some food. When 8:30 was finally here, we headed downstairs to leave. I had been there from 10 minutes before and I explored the hotel, there was a pool, sauna, hot tub, indoor driving range, shuffleboard (don’t ask) and a spa which I decided to pass on. ^_^ But my favorite part was the hotel’s mini-aquarium! Yeah, the actually had a mini-aquarium, they had shrimp, fish, clams, and all sorts of other critters, but my favorite of all was the seals, yeah. Seals, three cute little seals. However , it was time to go, but I promised myself to come back!

The Jade Workshop
Next we drove off and headed for the Jade workshop, it was a half hour drive but it was worth it. When we arrived, we went in and had a worked give us a tour, she explained about hardness and color of jade, and she showed us artists working the Jade as well. She told us how some symbols, and figures represent different things. After all the talking, she took us to she shop to see if we were interested in buying. However our family chose to wait until we go to Guangzhou for a few reasons, my dad had been here before, and he guaranteed that everything I saw that I liked I could find in Guangzhou or anyplace with street vendors. we waited until them because you can bargain with them. They set a high price, like the stores with set prices, and expect you to bargain, they set high prices because some tourist would think it is a terrific price, and buy it. They believe that if you do not bargain then you are a fool. You can bargain below 50% most times. But anyway, we finished up at the factory and set off to the great wall.

The Great Wall
The trip to the Great Wall Of China was another 45 minutes. Once we arrived we got a group picture, and explored the stores. Again things I have to wait for. And then we headed up the wall, there was two choices, right or left. Left was wicked easy. and right was very very steep and long. As we began our journey I had already began to get tired. The steps were very steep. As we climbed up, we took breaks and pictures on the turrets. We also passed stores on the wall and actually bought something. A great wall T-Shirt. I plan to wear it to school when I get back. And once we got all the way up, the very steep road was over but It was hard to breathe. Those of you that had to study Everest know why. Because of the altitude. At the highest turret we took pictures then turned around. Now back down the stairs. It seems easy But It really wasn’t. It hurt your knees. Once we were all the way down, we bought A “I Climbed The Great Wall” certificate and pictures. It is a little book and I will bring it to show to you. The last thing I bought was a Chinese coke! Pretty wicked huh? Then WE all piled back on the bus and drove to lunch and then back to the hotel. Oh wait. I still haven’t explained how Chinese money works. Their money is called “Yuan”. 8 Yuan is a dollar. Two is a quarter. My coke was Five Yuan. That’s around 67 cents American money. Anyway, on to lunch. ^_^

Lunch And Back To The Hotel
We rode the bus to a large store and restaurant. If you think you know what Chinese Food is, then think again. What we have is American Chinese. Real Chinese food is VERY different. After eating, (With a glass of coke) I wandered around the store. Many things I want but we are waiting for Guangzhou. Next, we rode back to the hotel and did more things. I went up to the room and took a nap, then went back downstairs to see the seals again as I promised myself. This time they were sliding across their cement block too. Their feeder came around but did not feed them. I could tell he was their feeder because of how they looked at him. If he walked across the floor then they would swim that way in the tank and stand on their fins. They really followed him and tried to get as close as possible. They even put thier head and paws out while trying to jump or lift themselves out. Then I had to leave and go back upstairs. I went and hung out on the third floor where all the cool stuff is, and then left for dinner. More good food and A good sleep too. (I hope) Goodnight everyone!^_^

Last day in Beijing
On our last day in Beijing we did a few things before flying to Changsha. Our plan for the day, was to go to a place called Tienanmen square, the Forbidden City, a silk factory, and then we will fly to Changsha. Tienanmen square is a VERY large open space that was used by an Emperor in the Ming, and Ching dynasty. It was built in the Ming dynasty along with the Forbidden City. Tienanmen square is part of the Forbidden City. It was used by the emperor for large events or celebrations. It is called the Forbidden City because nobody except the emperor was allowed to enter the city, however it has been opened as a museum now. The silk factory was very interesting, they taught us all about the process of making silk items and string. At the end of the day we flew to Changsha to get Ariana. ^_^

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