Well I was hoping I would be able to blog a little yesterday night after we had landed but I was so pooped. Today is Monday and before I get into our experiences so far, let me explain the purpose of this trip.
We are traveling with a travel group that is organized by Aid For Kids. Most families adopted through MAPS, both groups were founded through Dawn Degenhardt. We are here on a motherland trip for Bethany.
Anyways... yesterday was so exhausting travel wise. I don't remember traveling to China being that tiresome. The first flight from Cleveland to Denver was only 3 hours. Then we had a layover of about an hr in Denver, Colorado then it was time for the super long flight of 11 hours to Tokyo,Japan.
The plane that we had during the 11 hr flight was United's newest plane, the Dreamliner. There were TVs for every seat and it was very nice. I watched so many movies and TV shows... It was really funny because basically everyone on our flights were Asian and I felt very foreign when i was watching tv on the plane and had to change the language from Japanese to English and then preferred silverware to chopsticks during the meals. I also had to laugh at how many times I was spoken to in Japanese by the flight attendants and then responded in English. I think they were a bit confused.
Unfortunately for bethany, mom and I none of us had seats together for any of our flights. And I the lucky one was sandwiched in the middle of two foreign strangers for all of the flights. The last six hours of the 11 hour flight were so uncomfortable. My legs and back were so cramped and my head and ears ached with excruciating pain from the altitude changes. I couldn't wait to land.
Once we landed in Tokyo, Japan we had an hour layover until our next flight to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. There we met another family that would be in our tour group with two kids of their own that were very close in age to us. All the Japanese flight attendants and workers were so cute and friendly. I loved it!
When we landed in Tokyo it was my birthday! It was a very short bday for me though because when we left for Tokyo it was Saturday afternoon and when we landed in Tokyo it was SUNDAY afternoon. If your confused that's okay because I was too. Basically we are 11 hours ahead of the states. So whatever time it is right now just switch the pm and am and that's what time it is here. I was so tired and all I did during that 5 hour flight was sleep sleep sleep.
Our drive from the airport to our hotel gave us a little taste of the crazy driving here. Mostly everyone here travels on a motorcycle vehicle. And here, they think they have the right away. The other vehicles that are on the street are all mini vans that serve as taxi cabs here. It's scary how much beeping you hear on the streets and how many motorcycles will just cut in front of you like they own the street. It reminds me of NY traffic.
Sooo once we got to our hotel safely in Vietnam we were told we needed to wake up at 5am the next morning to be on the road at 5:30. By then it was around 12:30pm so that gave us around four hours to sleep. We all slept very well yesterday.
Which brings us back to the present. We met all the other families in our group this morning. There's about six other families traveling with us. And there's seven other teenagers. All of us kids are around the same age so we're having a fun time getting to know each other.
Today we went to a village where one of the adoptees with us, birth parents live. But let me tell you, the trip there was quite the Jungle Cruise ride, if you have ever ridden that ride at Disney World. The only way to get to the village was to get on a wooden boat and get there or walk 3 miles into the village. We chose the boat little did we know it would be a boat that looked and felt like it was made by the Native Americans for canoeing. Picture a big wooden canoe made out of wooden planks that are disenigrating. Yes that was what we rode to the village in. Water was filling the boat and the guy controlling the motor on the canoe boat was trying to maneuver around this windy river that lead to the village, it was quite the journey.
Onto the story...She had the opportunity to meet her birth parents a couple years ago. As a present to her birth parents and their village, she raised enough money by fundraising and contributions to have a bridge built and replaced for them. The bridge that was previously over the river was wooden planks with no rails and was falling apart. It's an amazing story. What a blessing it must be to that village and what an experience it must be to meet your birth parents and connect with them.
I have only been here one day and I have been so shocked. The living conditions are worse than I inagined. There's dogs and cows just running about on the side of the roads. I've seen three kids just pull down their pants and go to the bathroom. And the village that we visited one of the adoptees birth family? They literally lived in a hut made of straw and mud. So many people living here are living in poverty and I feel a calling to do something. I'm just not sure what...
Our hotel last night didn't have wi fi so sorry for the late post but I will still blog every night even if I can't post them.