We safely arrived in Chongqing yesterday after a very long, comfortable flight. Luckily, several other parents who had already made the trip recommended that we book Premium Economy seats on China Southern airlines. These seats are business class seats, but they are only about $250 more than their bargain basement economy seats. So, the 14 hour flight was much nicer than we expected.
Several people on our flight started putting on surgical masks when we got off the plane in Guangzhou to go through customs. We had already planned on wearing masks in Guangzhou while we waited for the connecting flight to Chongqing. The SARS virus started in Guangzhou, and we would rather be safe than sorry. Chongqing hasn't had any SARS cases identified, and we won't have to wear masks while we are staying here.
At the airport in Chongqing we were met by our driver from the Harbour Plaza hotel. He doesn't speak English, but he handed me a cell phone with an English-speaking Chinese man on the other end. I probably should have handed the phone to Lisa, because I have terrible time understanding Asian accents. Lisa has a much better ear for it than I do. Anyhow, I made out that we needed to "wait for 15 minutes", and the man on the phone was extremely apologetic about it. We had be traveling for over 18 hours by then, so another 15 minutes wouldn't kill us. I handed the phone back to our driver, and he picked up our bags, walked us out to the car, and then we sat in the car for 15 minutes. Then he started up the car and drove us to the hotel. We still don't know why we had to wait.
Shortly after checking into the hotel (a very nice western style, 5-star hotel), our guide Kathy came up to the room to get us ready to pick up Cheyenne. She confirmed for us, as we had hoped, that Cheyenne's middle name Min Ping is a very pleasant, common name for Chinese girls. It loosely means 'active water lily'. We had to sign several documents, and she left to file them before the government office closed. Kathy is a very bubbly Chinese woman who speaks English quite well, and has been working with Heritage Adoption Services as their Chinese guide for 6 years. When she came back, she outlined all of the things we would need to bring the next morning when we finally pick up our child. Although it is in the mid-60s outside, we are expected to dress Cheyenne in at least 3 layers of clothing. 4 would be better.
Kathy took us shopping for formula and snacks later in the afternoon. After which, Lisa and I collapsed from exhaustion, and finally got a good nights sleep.
We leave to pick up Cheyenne in a few hours, and if all goes well, I will post a few pictures when we get back.