We see the Social Welfare Institute and meet Laurie's foster family
12.08.2013 - 12.08.2013 94 °F
A groggy foursome emerged from their berth to a mad scene of the train emptying onto a boiling sea of humanity. The Chinese do not have a tradition of forming queues, so you had best be calmly persistent on gaining a spot in a crowd and holding your own. They are used to bumping, pushing and being aggressive without antagonism. As we exited the station, we were met by our guide, Hannah, and found that she had been given the wrong train number and train information. She was quite relieved to have found us at 5:35 am!
We were led to an open parking lot where our luggage was loaded in a van and off we went to the Marriott Nanning! We arrived at our hotel at 6am, and as you can imagine, they did not have rooms available for us yet. We were told they would be available for us to shower and get ready for our day at 8am. So we decided to get our included breakfast while we waited.
We headed over to the Nanning Social Welfare Institute and Hannah led the way interviewing people at the buildings to see if anyone could help us locate Laurie's files and identify any workers who might have remembered "wan ping" or "pingping" as some knew her. While there might have been a few who knew her back then there was no definite connection and the files remain confidential. This is understandable. We toured the grounds and spoke to many who do work there, wandered over to the area where Laurie was for a while. The building has been torn down and we were told that the lot will soon have new construction on it.
Later, she took us back to our hotel for some rest. We were still a little groggy after our all night train trip, so it was nice to have a little down time and get a nice relaxing lunch at the Marriott. A burger, a club sandwich, and some fries later, Laurie went to the room for some quiet reading while Bruce and Keith blogged and Hayley swam in the pool until she pickled.
At 5:30, Hannah met us in the lobby and we walked over to the Red Forest Hotel for our dinner with Laurie's foster family.Here we see Hannah with the foster daddy and his sisters in law. The foster mother had passed on a number of years earlier, but the father, aunties, and spouses joined the four of us and Hannah for a delightful dinner.
Chinese dinners are a communal affair. Meat dishes are often served with all body parts intact so that you know it was fresh. I won't show you the chicken dish! Several dishes and courses are ordered and put on a rotating glass center table that is turned by the diners so that you can get a taste of all the wonderful local dishes. There were lively discussions a plenty, and much of it was not dependent on "language" communications. We exchanged gifts, stories, laughter, recieved advice on raising two little girls, and said farewells. It was clear that they were very happy to have seen "Wan Ping" again and to know she was happy, healthy, and with a loving family. It was one of the high points of the trip so far and one that we were unsure was possible. Once again, it was Hannah who tracked the family down. Bruce and Joanne had kept writing to them for a number of years, but things disconnected when the mother became ill.
It was time to head back to our room and get ready for a busy Tuesday seeing museums and other "air conditioned" sites!
I have been having quite a bit of trouble accessing this site from my tablet (which is how I get my pictures loaded up. I'm going to go ahead and post this one even though the pictures stop in the middle of this post because that's when I lost connection through my tablet and am finishing this post through my iPad (for some reason, it's getting through. Go figure) Hopefully it will be resolved and I can add more pictures to this post later on.
But I want to get caught up, so here's Monday's activities!
UPDATE: I seem to have better connectivity, but can't see the new pictures I have uploaded. How do they look? Tell me in the comments section