Tips from a Trip of a Lifetime (Guangzhou, Guangdong, China)

Guangzhou, China through our eyes using America World Adoption Agency.  We thought they were great throughout the whole process and would highly recommend using them.


A map of the area around the China Marriott Hotel in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China for families adopting.
Different agencies use a few different hotels but this is one of two main hotels normally used I believe.  We flew in on Sunday and Helen (our AWAA guide)  picked us up.  She walks fast and is efficient at what she does.  In fact she brags that she is the best a lot!  But maybe she is since we never had an adoption related issues.

She will help you check in to your hotel room.  And show you where the bank is and where you can buy bottled water.    Bring an empty bag to the store and buy the biggest water bottles....especially in summer or you WILL get dehydrated.  The last thing you want to do when you are tired is to go buy water so buy a whole bunch the first day.  The two bottles a day the hotel provides is not enough.

The bank.  We exchanged $8000 and we had a lot left over!   But it took a long time for the teller to do what she had to do so plan on going first thing in the morning on Monday (Gotcha Day) so you don't have to worry about it.  It took an hour without a line to wait in.

The concierge has a stroller you rent.  Basically you pay a fee and then they return money to you when you turn it in as you leave.  The cost to rent is minimal.  Our girl was a little over 4 and can walk.  She had low motor tone but it is a lot of walking so think about stamina for excursions coming from the orphanage.  The stroller was a nice option.

Yes McDonalds is across the parking lot and we went there for lunch (mainly for convenience and to buy happy meals so we had hand held toys.  Our mistake not to bring small toys like Little People) There are stairs to climb to enter McDonalds.  They want you to point at the pictures to order...but so do the locals.  Helen said the fountain drinks are safe to drink.

The noodle place is immediately past the bank and the museum.  They have picture menus as well but no bathroom.  The waitress pointed to the street when we asked for a bathroom for our daughter. (No thank you!  Thankfully she held it.) The food is good.
Noodle Place

The Coffee Club is across the street from McDonalds (use the subway to cross and they have escalators) this is the best Chinese take on western food.  We had the pasta it is ok.  But the environment is nice and quiet.
Don't order the nuggets or the milk shake.  Nuggets look like they are from McD's and the milk is literally shaken not frozen.

You can order pizza from the concierge...they have lots of options not found in the USA.

To cross the street you HAVE to go underground to the subway.  You will not have to pay a fee.  At the busy crossings they seem to have escalators but just stairs at others.

There are at least two LARGE parks near the hotel within walking distance.  One is past the McDonalds at the next intersection (go in the subway to cross) Just stairs.  This was our favorite with a kiddie play park.
But it is quite a walk and a walk inside the park too.  Depending on the time of year bring a ton of water!!!!

The other park is diagonal from the hotel and built on a hill next to the freeway.  Very pretty.

We felt very safe everywhere we went.

The China Marriott Guangzhou does have an outdoor swimming pool.  Most of the people use it for laps but they will scoot over for you to play.  We brought a puddle jumper with us and we were so glad because she had a blast.  Bring Bath toys to add to the fun and can double as hand held toys in the day!

Specific to a Shantou Adoption:

It will be a 6-8 hour journey depending on the mode of transpiration they bring them on.  They will probably be wearing a diaper for the journey even if they are potty trained.  Ask Helen to take them to the bathroom before you leave the adoption office when you get your child.   You will experience a squatty potty in action and that is helpful for the future (especially if you are flying out of Hong Kong or going to the zoo).

We were told by the nanny who brought our daughter that they wake them at night to use the bathroom so they lack bladder control at night.  We found out the hard way and after asking the staff to change sheets twice we bought pull ups at the grocery store (ask Helen to take you).

Just a suggestion:  Video your child speaking "Chinese" as much as possible.  Since Shantou speaks a local dialect when it's gone it will be gone.

Here are some of the words we figured out since there is no book or translation app for their language.  I have no idea how to spell them so I just phonetically wrote them out.  Our daughter was serious about teaching us Chinese at first....

Oy Oy = Shoes
Babatong = sucker
Wagee = Airplane
Bongya = open/on
Baba = Daddy
Bombpooey=toot
bong-ya=potty
bon-thaw=poop

Exiting via Hong Kong:  It's a long drive (3 hours + depending on traffic) bring snacks for dinner and water.  You will stop half way at a road side bathroom with more stalls than you have time to count but they are all squatty potties.

The Hong Kong hotel was our least favorite but it's a place to stay and the view out the window is incredible!
It is a lot of walking through the airport in the morning with your luggage so be aware.  Departures were on the second floor find the elevator and the airport info desk and they will guide you.  We also re-exchanged our left over money in the Hong Kong airport and it took maybe 5 minutes.  It was worth it to me and they didn't ask for the receipt.
Our daughter rode the luggage because she didn't have the stamina to keep up or walk that far.  You got to do what you got to do to get HOME!

Hope this all helps someone as they prepare to travel to get their little one!  We traveled summer 2015.




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