Returning to China – 2007

Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Yangshou, Guilin, Hong Kong and Daji's SWI in Yiwu

Returning to China – 2007

After returning from our 3rd trip to China in April 2006, where we visited Yanmei's Social Welfare Institute (SWI) in Jinchang, Gansu Provice, we didn't have any particular intentions to visit China again already 18 months later. However after visiting Jinchang, Daji started to ask why we hadn't also visited his SWI in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province. Being both younger and far less mature than Yanmei, we hadn't planned to visit Yiwu for a number of years, and couldn't decide whether this was a real wish from Daji's side or just not wanting to be outdone by his older sister. We assumed the latter, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. To be honest, once the seed was planted, we didn't need much convincing either :-).

Zhejiang provice lies just south of Shanghai on the east coast of China and is one of China’s richest provinces. Luckily Yiwu is far more accessible than Jinchang, so a trip to the SWI could be managed in a single day instead of the fours days we spent in conjunction with the visit to Jinchang. We started planning our fourth trip to China in February 2007. Via mail we agreed most of the itinerary with CWTS in China, who also arranged all the official paperwork for the visit to Daji’s “home” in China.

Our 21 day trip to China took us to Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Yiwu, Yangshou, Guilin and Hong Kong, a mixture of big cities and Chinese countryside. Whilst we’d love to say the highlight of the trip was the visit to Daji’s SWI in Yiwu, it wasn’t the case. 

Given Daji was almost 3 years old when we adopted him, and almost 8 when we went back, we were interested to see whether he had any recollection of the SWI. As it turned out, he didn’t, and in truth he showed no interest at all in the SWI.

We had 21 fantastic days in China and left tired, but again far richer for the experience.

If you decide to read on, which we hope you do, please enjoy the pictures and the text, but please also remember that the description is primarily meant for us – for us to remember the details of our fourth trip to China. Some of the detail will be of little or more likely no interest to you, the reader, at all. We hope you enjoy it anyway.

Read the day by day description of our fourth trip to China ...
Day 1: Tired in Shanghai October 7, 2007 Shanghai, Cloudy – Max: 29; Min: 26; Avg: 28 We left for Shanghai on Saturday the 6th, flying from Copenhagen to London Heathrow and then from Heathrow to Shanghai. Flying via London meant we flew west - away from Asia; so 6 hours after leaving Copenhagen, we were flying over it again on route to… Read more >
Day 2: Wet in Shanghai October 8, 2007 Shanghai, Rain, Rain, Rain – Max: 26; Min: 18; Avg: 22 We slept well, woke around 8am and looked out at grey clouds and rain - not drizzle, but fairly heavy rain. Even worse, it looked like it was going to rain all day - and it did. We breakfasted and hung out, but wanted… Read more >
Day 3: Tourists in Shanghai October 9, 2007 Shanghai, Partly cloudy – Max: 21; Min: 16; Avg: 18 It was still raining when we woke up, but clouds looked lighter and there were breaks in the clouds - so it was looking promising. Steven was up first and went out for a walk around the neighbourhood whilst everybody else slept. At 7am in… Read more >
Day 4: Birthday in Shanghai October 10, 2007 Shanghai, Sunny – Max: 23; Min: 19; Avg: 15 Happy Birthday Yanmei! Yanmei celebrated her 10th birthday in Shanghai - the 3rd time she celebrated her birthday in China (although we have no idea whether her first 2 were celebrated or not!) and the 6th time outside Denmark. We'd already given her a present, an… Read more >
The Humble Administrators Garden Day 5: On to Suzhou October 11, 2007 Suzhou, Sunny – Max: 23; Min: 16; Avg: 20 We took in the last views of Shanghai from our hotel room, breakfasted, checked out and left the hotel for the station. The hotel wasn't in an area with lots of taxis, so it took some time to get hold of one, but soon we were… Read more >
Tongli Day 6: Beautiful Tongli October 12, 2007 Tongli, Light cloud – Max: 23; Min: 19; Avg: 21 We woke fairly early and went down for breakfast. The breakfast room was large and there was a chef making noodles, which made Yanmei happy - as she even likes noodles for breakfast - and intrigued Daji as he just couldn't understand how long noodles… Read more >
Suzhou, train station Day 7: Last Day in Suzhou October 13, 2007 Suzhou, Light clouds – Max: 23; Min: 17; Avg: 20 We woke early. Lene was feeling better, so we went down for breakfast, Yanmei and Daji deciding to eat the remaining yoghurt and bread from the evening before, and watch cartoons on TV. Before we left Suzhou I wanted to go and see China's Grand… Read more >
Hangzhou, Marco Polo Day 8: Shopping in Hangzhou October 14, 2007 Hangzhou, Light Clouds – Max: 20; Min: 17; Avg: 18 Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province, located on the Yangtze River Delta, 180 km southwest of Shanghai. It has a regional population of over 6,5 million people, almost 2 million of which live in the city itself. Hangzhou is ranked the 8th richest city… Read more >
Hangzhou, West Lake, Sunset Day 9: Visiting Yiwu SWI October 15, 2007 Hangzhou, Yiwu, Sunny – Max: 21; Min: 15; Avg: 18 We woke early, breakfasted and were ready in the lobby of the hotel at 8am, ready for the big day - visiting Daji's home for the first 3 years of his life, the Yiwu SWI. Our guide for the day, Lili, was waiting for us… Read more >
Hangzhou, West Lake Day 10: Hangzhou, West Lake October 16, 2007 Hangzhou, Sunny – Max: 22; Min: 13; Avg: 18 During our previous visit to Hangzhou we had wanted to walk around the West Lake, but the weather was against us and we never made it. So with a sunny day ahead, today was the day we'd finally make 15km trip around the lake. We left… Read more >
Hangzhou, Lingyin Temple Day 11: Hangzhou Lingyin Temple October 17, 2007 Hangzhou, Sunny – Max: 22; Min: 13; Avg: 18 We woke to yet another sunny (but hazy) day, eat breakfast, still a bit stiff after the previous days walk around the West Lake. Lene and the children were, perhaps, hoping for quiet day in the hotel, but it wasn't to be. Today Steven had planned… Read more >
Yangshou Day 12: Off to Yangshou October 18, 2007 Hangzhou, Yangshou, Sunny – Max: 26; Min: 20; Avg: 24 We slept late and packed before taking the last breakfast at Lake View hotel in Hangzhou. Throughout the 4 days in Hangzhou, we'd met other Danish families with adopted children, just like us bringing their adopted children back "home" to visit their children's welfare institutes… Read more >
Yangshou Day 13: Yangshou countryside October 19, 2007 Yangshou, Sunny – Max: 26; Min: 15; Avg: 20 Yangshuo (阳朔) is a very scenic, small tourist town surrounded by amazing karst mountains and beautiful scenery - not least the rice fields. Situated 50km south of Guilin, with the Li River on one side and several karst peaks on the other three sides, Yangshou has… Read more >
Yangshou, Li River Day 14: Yangshou – along the Li River October 20, 2007 Yangshou, Sunny – Max: 27; Min: 11; Avg: 19 We were tired after all the impressions and experiences of the previous day. Jessie had proposed that she would pick us up at 7:30 to be ready for the boat at 8:00. We weren't sure we would be able to make it up so early, so… Read more >
Day 15: Yangshou October 21, 2007 Yangshou, Sunny – Max: 28; Min: 16; Avg: 22 We slept well after the previous two day's long bicycle trips, the heat and all the impressions we had gathered. We'd agreed to take the bicycles for another day, but promised Yanmei and Daji that we wouldn't cycle too far away. We hadn't really seen Yangshou… Read more >
Guilin to Shenzen train Day 16: Guilin October 22, 2007 Guilin, Sunny – Max: 29; Min: 13; Avg: 21 The taxi arrived to take us to the station in Guilin just after we finished breakfast. Of course the taxi was too small and only after some string was used to tie down the lid of the boot, were we able to take our entire luggage… Read more >
Hong Kong Day 17: Hong Kong October 23, 2007 Hong Kong, Sunny – Max: 29; Min: 24; Avg: 26 The T40 from Guilin to Shenzhen arrived about 1 hour late at around 11:30. Most people got off in Guangzhou (Canton), probably to take the high speed Guangzhou to Shenzhen train, a couple passed us as we crawled towards Shenzhen - well at least that's… Read more >
Hong Kong Day 18: Hong Kong Island October 24, 2007 Hong Kong, Sunny – Max: 31; Min: 24; Avg: 28 Even though our room looked out over the extremely busy Nathan Road, we'd slept all night. We went upstairs for an OK breakfast, and mid morning walked along Nathan Road towards the Star Ferry terminal. Being British, Hong Kong and not least the ferry across… Read more >
Day 19: Hong Kong – Western District October 25, 2007 Hong Kong, Sunny – Max: 30; Min: 25; Avg: 28 After breakfast we headed north along Nathan Street to the closest Metro station, Yau Ma Tei, which was further away than we'd expected. Once we'd worked out how to pay for a ticket, we were on our way under Victoria Harbour to Central station on… Read more >
Day 20: Last day in Hong Kong October 26, 2007 Hong Kong, Sunny – Max: 31; Min: 23; Avg: 27 After breakfast we packed and checked out, leaving our luggage at the hotel. First stop was a coffee shop for coffee, and more importantly to check-in for the evening flight home to Denmark via London Heathrow. Our hotel room looked out over Nathan Street, more… Read more >