Sunday, September 8, 2013

Goodbye Zhengzhou, Hello Guangzhou

Yesterday was a travel day for us. We said goodbye to Maddie's hometown of Zhengzhou and traveled by airplane to Guangzhou.  It was Maddie's first trip on an airplane, but like everything else on this trip, she took it all in stride and had fun.  Arriving in Guangzhou was quite a shock.  It's very humid and hot, and our local guide told us we're lucky to be here in September.  It's sort of like going to central Florida in the middle of July, but I wouldn't know anything about that ; )

Today (Sunday) we opted out of the official city tour in hopes of making it to Mass at the nearby cathedral.  We were on our own in terms of getting there and back and so we were a bit anxious about the trip.  We asked the hotel concierge to translate the address of the cathedral into Chinese, and to give us a Chinese business card of the hotel so we could hand it to a taxi driver on our way home.  The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guangzhou is the seat of the Archbishop of Guangzhou and is situated on the north bank of the Pearl River.  We arrived just in time for the 10:30AM high mass and were quickly ushered to our seats.  This mass would be in Mandarin with earlier masses in Cantonese, and the 3:30PM mass in English.  It was a very gothic-styled church with magnificent stained glass windows and intricate carvings all over.  Sure, we couldn't understand a word being said, but you can still follow along and know where you are in the mass at any given point.  Two interesting notes:  1.  The Homily was MUCH longer than we've ever experienced.  I think perhaps it went on for about 30 minutes.  I'd like to think the Bishop was preaching a fantastic homily.  2.  The exchange of peace was very interesting.  The norm in China is to bow to each other, not shake hands.  You could have probably guessed that, but it was still interesting to see.

After mass we decided to explore a bit.  We made our way down a narrow side street with tons of vendors hawking their wares.  It was quite an adventure.  We saw some crazy health code violations along the way, live animals, and a lot of food items that were completely foreign to us.  We stopped at a little toy store so the girls could pick out something.  They decided to go with masks.  I think they were a bit uncomfortable and wanted to hide themselves.  After spending ~30 minutes trying to hail a cab, we finally made it back to our hotel room in time for a quick nap before our evening festivities.

The whole reason we're in Guangzhou is so Maddie can get her immigrant visa to the U.S.  The U.S. consulate in Guangzhou is the only consulate in China that permits U.S. immigrant visas.  So, here, we'll do a bit more paperwork, get a medical exam for Maddie, and prepare for our trip home.  It's sort of apropos that we'll be in the US Consulate in Guangzhou on September 11th where we will take an oath, on Madeleine's behalf paving the way to her U.S. citizenship.  I doubt we'll be able to take pictures there, so we'll just have to describe the scene at a later time.

Getting ready to leave Zhengzhou

Inside the Cathedral

Cathedral Altar with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Side altar for Mary.

Exterior of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Posing in front of the Cathedral

On our way to explore

Darlene thought maybe we should pick up a few steaks and grill tonight!

Or maybe we could have Chicken or Pigeon for Dinner

Keegan and Regina with their "Dollar-store" find

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