All I can say is we are really in China now. Luckily we had a guide help us check into the hotel and showed us where a small grocery store and some various noodle type restaurants are. For the most part nothing is in English but the one noodle shop guy told her he would remember us and only charge us 2rmb (about 20 cents) more for carryout since this is probably the type of thing we will want once Ella joins us tomorrow.
Many people have commented how great it is that German speaks Chinese and therefore can converse with Ella (as ever rudimentary as her language is). I tell them he speaks Cantonese is used to Mandarin and the 2 are nothing alike. Today I learned something new, not only are those 2 languages nothing alike, there are a ton of "dialects" that are nothing alike and according to our guide at the Nantong orphanage where Ella has spent her whole life they speak Nantong dialect which she even having grown up a few hours away from there can't understand. Needless to say, besides those in government or having had attended universities it seems very few Chinese can actually speak to very few other Chinese tough though all have the same written language. For a country with so many people so densely populating the urban areas this baffles my mind.
The hotel, let me just say 1960s. It is big and has a sort of mini kitchen (look like a wet bar) but has a microwave which is great!!! It seems pretty clean but older and the carpet a bit stained making me nervous to have a 2 year old all over it but she is hopefully also much more used to the various germs here, we'll see. The walls have a rather putrid green wallpaper on them and the crib is made of wood and something I can never ever imagine passing any kind of safety standards in the states (though I am assuming the same thing she has been using since birth). When in Rome...
As far as Nanjing, it may just be where the hotel is at but it seems much dirtier than where we were in Beijing and much more like I remember Hong Kong with the garbage and smells. And definitely much less westernized, English speakers and signs are quite hard to come by. We'll see if that changes once we see more of the city.
So for our last dinner before Ella joining us German and I (I guess really more I) wanted to go to a nice sit down dinner, ended up being much harder than we thought. We looked at the menu of one of the 2 restaurants in the hotel and it was really expensive and nothing sounded good. There really didn't seem to be any sit down type restaurants around the hotel so feeling defeated we returned to the room for another night of ramen bowls. German was determined to find something and went wandering the hotel and came back trying to sell me on a Chinese restaurant in the hotel. He said they had braised tofu with scallions and that sounded like something I would eat so off we went. Needless to say all the food we had there (minus the tofu which was blue on the edges, had no scallions, and big black things that we think were mushrooms, pic below) was wonderful and the service great. We keep having good laughs over the gross slimy tofu especially because that is what German used to get me to go there. When we left we asked (which too them going finding 3 different women until they got one to understand us) if later in the week we could come get stuff to go to bring up to our room since we will have Ella with us. They said yes, just call room service. We thanked them and headed back to our room. About 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door and it was the women from the restaurant coming to tell us that they had looked at the room service menu and not everything was on there so if we wanted it in our room to come to the restaurant to order and they would bring it up. Wow, that is service! She would have had to look at our bill that we charged to the room to get our room # and then walked to the other side of the hotel to tell us personally. I think we will be getting lots of food there this week :)
Next post will be with ella, we nmeet her in about 5 hours!!!! I am so excited and also remarkably calmn.