Since we didn't have a ton of time we decided to take a taxi instead of navigating the subway. Matthew was so excited and told us that this was his first time in a taxi! And to make things even more amazing, it was an aqua taxi, his favorite color. So all 6 of us fit in one small cab. Remember what I said about no seatbelts? Apparently they don't have maximum occupancy rules either. 2 adults and 3 kids in the backseat! It took us about 25 minutes to get there, and we got to see even more of the city on our drive. I cannot get over how huge it is! I mean we drove for 25 minutes and there were still skyscrapers everywhere you look. Guangzhou is only the eighth largest city in China, and it makes New York look tiny! I discovered that Lily did not want to sit in my lap very long. Not looking forward to that 13 hour plane flight coming up... but at least it's at night so hopefully she will sleep most of it!
We got there and grabbed some maps, and Caroline immediately opened hers up and yelled "They have pandas! They have pandas!" We tried to find the pandas first, but we ended up walking through like 20 types of primates instead. Finally we found some white tigers. Brian paid 10RMB (about $1.50) to throw some raw meat at them. Like huge hunks of chicken or some other unidentified meat. Definitely wouldn't see that in the states! Matthew and Caroline both love giraffes, and we were able to feed them too! They all line up at the edge of the exhibit and people just constantly hold out branches for them to eat.
After lunch we finally found the pandas! Either the pandas are by far the most popular exhibit, or several bus loads of people arrived after lunch. It was packed! You could hardly see the pandas there were so many people. Surprisingly, this was the first time I actually felt like I was in China. I guess I expected it to be ridiculously crowded all the time.
Once we had seen the pandas we had to head back to the hotel for our paperwork meeting. Mom bought each of the kids a little keychain animal, pandas for M and C and a koala for L. These proved invaluable as entertainment for little bit on the way back. We grabbed a taxi, and were forced to pay 150RMB to get back to the hotel instead of the 80RMB we paid on the way out. But, we were short on time and didn't have a choice. We felt a little victorious though because the first guy we asked was rude and we walked away, and another guy picked us up around the corner. He was much nicer. We quickly discovered why the fare was so much more on the way back. The traffic was awful! Instead of taking 25 minutes it took almost an hour, which made Brian 25 minutes late for the meeting. And he missed the laundry pickup :( Guess I'll be wearing my food-covered jeans a few more times...
Caroline fell asleep in the taxi so we put her right to bed. Then Matthew and Lily got some good play time in our room until Lily started getting sleepy again. I let Matthew play with my phone while she napped, and M and I got some snuggle time in the bed. Brian got back from his meeting and we decided that we would venture out again to try and buy a stroller. We didn't bring one because you can borrow one from the hotel, but every single time we've asked they've been out. We have several days of sightseeing ahead, and since Lily doesn't really like the Ergo we are going to need a backup plan. When C finally got up we headed out. I had heard there was a cheap umbrella stroller on the 4th floor of Aeon, and I wasn't disappointed! A pink snoopy stroller that was on sale for $25! Sold! I anxiously held my breath as I put Lily in it, praying that she would like it. Victory! As long as I was moving she was fine! My tired shoulders and back are so excited.
At this point the kids were hungry so we found a little coffee shop that had sandwiches and pasta. And the man working there spoke English! It was so nice to order food and know what we were getting! And one more perk - they gave us knives, and napkins!!! Who knew these would be such a delicacy in China. Why they don't use napkins I have no idea. Are they really that much neater when they eat? And knives... I mean, I know they use chopsticks, but you can't cut with chopsticks! And when you have a baby with a cleft palate, you have to cut stuff. We were those crazy hoarders who stuck all the remaining plastic silverware in our bags to take home and reuse.
Back home for playtime and bed. We are going to a local park and doing some shopping tomorrow. Yippee!