We left Copenhagen on November 23rd 2002, and were in China for a total of 13 days. We flew to Beijing, where we stayed for three days, on to Hangzhou, the administrative capital of Zhejiang province for a week, before returning to Beijing.
Daji was from Yiwu, about 100 kilometres south of Hangzhou. He was brought by car, by the Director and a driver from from the Yiwu Social Welfare Institute. “Gotcha” day was the 28th October 2002.
On our first trip, to collect Yanmei, we’d left Copenhagen with just 48 hours notice – this time we had roughly a months notice – so there was plenty of time to get ready. Despite being well prepared, a sick son and lost passport, both on the day of travel, brought the stress level to near breaking point.
Hangzhou was also very very different than Langzhou, where we’d collected Yanmei. Whilst Langzhou is close to the Gobi desert and one of the poorest areas in China, Hangzhou is situated on the delta of the Yangtze river, in one of China’s most fertile and richest areas. Historically Hangzhou has been a trade and tourist centre for China’s elite, which in turn led to the famous saying: “Heaven above has its paradise; this world has Suzhou and Hangzhou”.
The reactions of Yanmei and Daji were also very different. Naturally both were scared; Yanmei was 2½ and Daji 3, so they were very much aware that something was happening, even though they probably didn’t understand what! Yanmei was withdrawn and timid, until her first smile, 36 hours later, at which time she totally opened up. Daji, on the other hand, reacted at almost everything that happened with excessive laughter, and had occasional bouts of often prolonged hysterics.