The Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan.  I really wanted to go here, since we had visited it when we adopted Lael in 1998.  When we went to Wuhan to get Lael in 1998, it was August and 114 degrees.  Wuhan is one of China's "Three Furnaces."  When we were there this May the weather was perfect!


At the top of the Yellow Crane Tower.



View from the top of the Yellow Crane Tower overlooking the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia and third longest in the world.  For several months before we went to Wuhan in 1998, China experienced well above average rainfall and there was massive flooding all along the Yangtze River, including Wuhan.  25 million acres had to be evacuated, over 13 million homes were destroyed or damaged and thousands of people died.  I remember our guide being very nervous while we were there.  The good news was she worked really hard to get Lael's adoption finalized as quickly as possible so we (and she) could get out of Wuhan and head to Guangzhou to get Lael's visa.


I was totally perplexed by the way I remembered Wuhan from 1998 and the way things are now.  I remembered dirt roads and only little dirty red taxis.  I remembered police sitting in chairs in the middle of road and chasing taxis down who did something wrong (and believe me, almost anything goes in China when you're driving).  I asked our host if it was because I had only been in one area or had things changed that much.  He confirmed my memory was correct and told us things had changed a lot in Wuhan, especially in the last ten years.  He said back in 1998 there was only about one main paved road! 


This is the political science / philosophy professor's niece.  She is a student at Wuhan University where her uncle teaches.  We were impressed by how good her English is.  She wants to study in the U.S., and she said she must first pass an English test.  She told us some students try and don't pass it for up two years.  She spent an afternoon with us, and we all thought she was adorable.  Lael and Arden really took a liking to her!  We've been doing some Facetime with her since we've been home. 





Our host of course  bought our tickets to see the Yellow Crane Tower.  He even paid for us to have our own private guide who accompanied us all the way to the top of the tower!  This guy's generosity was amazing! 






OK, while they are all hamming it up, my voice was gone.  I thought what I did screech out was annoying.  I caught a cold because of the hotel air conditioning.  Anyone who knows me knows I HATE air conditioning.  My voice is still not completely back to normal.  




The professor I talk about has only the one typical child you hear about in China, a daughter.  His niece does have a brother.  She told me her parents don't spoil her, but her Uncle does. 








Pretty sure the elephant doesn't mean he's a Republican.


After all our touring of the day our host told us to go upstairs in the hotel for dinner.  He then said he had to eat too, so he might as well eat with us.  Did I mention how good he was to us?!  We are still in a little shock.  Oh, his daughter is studying in England.  He and his wife are going to visit her soon, but he didn't seem to have a desire to see the U.S.  He told us he hates American food--or any food that isn't Chinese for that matter.



Our host spoke no English and Arden did all the translating.  He looked at Arden's plate and said, "This girl can eat!"  (By the way, the dinner and dessert was a buffet, so Arden wasn't being rude and taking advantage of our host's generosity).



She cracked me up with all these desserts.  But, the truth is she ate very little of them.  Her eyes were bigger than her stomach.  Besides that, Chinese desserts don't taste like ours.  Theirs are not very rich and sweet like ours.  We need the sugar!! : - )



Scan 36

At the Yellow Crane Tower while getting Lael and her little shaved head in 1998.  It had changed a lot (I'm talking about the Yellow Crane Tower, although Lael's little shaved head has changed a lot too!).  Every time we adopted a girl after Lael, I would request the orphanage stop cutting their hair as soon as we knew we were adopting them.  They always honored my request and the hair would at least be touching their ears by the time we got there. : - )