(How wonderful to be on terra firma again!)
Our first stop was a brief one in Beijing where we were to connect to the flight for Nanjing. The airport is beautiful and the people are friendly.
We managed to successfully exchange some US dollars for Chinese yuan and to find out from which gate the flight to Nanjing was leaving. Actually, it was leaving from a different terminal. After a 15 minute shuttle bus ride to another terminal, we were grateful that our baggage was checked through to Nanjing.
About 45 minutes before we were due to board, an announcement was made (which we did not understand) and everyone at the gate got up and started heading for the stairs. Fairly certain that this meant a gate change, we followed. At ground level was a shuttle bus to take us to the new gate. We took a right turn at the end of the terminal building and started heading out for the tarmac! Yes, we boarded on the tarmac. The last time I remember boarding a plane that way was in the PeoplesExpress era!
An hour and a half later and we were in Nanjing! So far so good; we are on time and looking forward to getting to the hotel for a good night's sleep and to be ready for "Get Willow!" day. I am not sure which of us said this (probably me) but we jinxed ourselves. While we had arrived in Nanjing without incident, our luggage did not! After reporting this to the baggage claims personnel, we were told that even though it had been checked through, we were supposed to have claimed it in Beijing and then re-checked it for the Nanjing leg of the journey. The Beijing airport was contacted, arrangements were made for the luggage to be placed on the 11:00 pm flight and then sent onto the hotel.
We had thought that we were to be met at the airport by our Nanjing facilitator but after taking care of the luggage debacle, we did not see anyone. Any where. The airport was deserted! So we found a cab and arrived at the hotel just seconds before a van pulled up with another family - Stacy and Steve Roth - who are here to pick up their daughter Sabria. Apparently, there was someone to meet us and they were waiting for us the whole time! With all parties now relieved to have found one another, we checked-in. The room was fabulous! A sitting/living room, a little "kitchenette" with a washer, refrigerator, safe, twin beds (hmmm...) and a little dose of reality staring us in the face: a crib!!!
The itinerary for the week (from the facilitator - I had nothing to do with it) told us that we needed to be downstairs in the lobby by 9:30 to go to the Jiangsu Provincal Civil Affairs office where we will "Get Willow!" So we had to have food, water, diapers, toys, clothing (for the Adoption Day photo) ready to bring with us. Unfortunately, all of that stuff is in the luggage will be on the 11:00 pm flight from Beijing to Nanjing! We cannot do anything until it arrives somewhere around 2:00 am.
Looks like another all nighter!