Depart with bulging suitcase = gifts and other things for orphans and foster children in China + some personal stuff -> hand gifts out as you travel through the country -> luggage gets lighter and has more space for new things -> buy stuff to fill empty spaces = Return with overstuffed luggage. It’s a vicious circle in which empty space must be filled. Anyone who has lived in home long enough can attest to this principle. We have all done it, we found that one or two or three or more things that we decide we want to bring back as a gift for a friend or for ourselves. Then when we repack the suitcase to travel back home there’s more stuff to pack than when we left in the first place. There were a few of us with those issues yesterday evening.
We all had breakfast together this morning. After packing the microvan we said our goodbyes to Yan and Kevin. Lots of hugs and a few emotions. 🙁 John drove the rest of us to the Guilin airport for our flight to Beijing. There we said goodbye to John, our host, accommodations and travel organizer, driver, guide, comedian, man-of-many talents, a spiritual rock and a great friend. 🙁
John is one special person. He visits the foster children every 4 to 6 weeks. Today after driving us to the airport he drove 8 hours back to Longhui to the orphanage where he is the director. That was after spending time with us during the last two weeks and finding time to visit his family. Tomorrow he will drive 12 hours to another orphanage to allow that director to take a month leave. The whole time that we spent together he was always cheerful and smiling.
In Beijing we checked into the Orange Hotel. It’s close to the Olympic venues and each room comes with a fish. We decided to visit Tiananmen Square, but access to the square is closed after 5 pm. So we decided to have dinner and a stroll in a shopping district just south of the square.