Vitals: We spent the morning in the apartment (while you were asleep) catching up on school. We had a 4:00 appointment to get some papers from the SDA. We were there at 4:00 and our interpreter was there at 4:00, but the SDA official didn't come until about 5:45. The wait was a little painful but we got the papers, got the kids sidewalk "pizza" for dinner (four large pieces and two drinks for about $6.00) and got home via the metro by about 7pm. We put the kids to bed right away since they are still a little off schedule. Tomorrow, we will be up early to go to Vorzel and hopefully meet our son.
Insignificant Details: So, we left about 2:00 for the 4:00 appointment. It's nearly impossible not to crack up when we walk down the street. People don't stare like they do in China, but they definitely glance. And, if they happen to take in Reilly or Sharon, they glance twice. In the meantime, everyone in our family is completely obsessed with their own little idiosyncrasies. Bill spends all his time looking at repair/construction sites, muttering words and phrases like, "building codes"..."zoning?"...."debris in the foundation" and "liability," under his breath. Paul and Sharon have taken up "scaring pigeons" as a new hobby and constantly run off after them. Poor Matt is staring at the sidewalk, having met way too many scantily clad women for his comfort and Reilly is his one man police force, telling him when it IS and IS NOT safe to look up. I'd like to say I'm taking in the city and culture, but all I am doing is counting heads, "One, two, three, four, Bill. One, two, three, four, Bill" over and over again until we stop for a rest.
The metro is absolutely incredible. There are two sets of escalators that go DOWN QUICKLY to get to the trains. Bill estimates that they are at least ten stories below ground. On some of them, you can't see the bottom of the escalator from the top.
|There are two sets of these going down to the metro. If you touch anything, you'll get some black scum on your hands/gloves. But, they're moving so fast, you'd better hang on.|
|This is inside the train. We must have been going opposite traffic, since they are usually much more crowded. The women will give up their seats for Sharon or Reilly, but the men will NOT give up their seats for anyone...charming.|
Once you get down to train level, the trains are really crowded and you have to MOVE FAST to get on and off the train. The kids have been reasonably good about staying with us, but I lie awake at night worrying about loosing one of them on those trains. I'm sure that Bill or I would jump after them, but that brings on another problem, since
I jumped into our apartment elevator a few days ago and the door shut so fast and hard it knocked me clear to the other side of the doorway. WHAM. I did learn something though. Tonight I went with Matt to take out the trash. We're on the tenth floor. When he got into an elevator going UP, I paused to tell him to come out because it was going the wrong way and the door shut right as I started talking. Before my door lesson, I would have jumped right in after him, but NO MORE. This is about survival. I sent him straight up to the 18th floor alone rather than endure the body slam of that elevator door again. He was astute enough to remember what floor we are on and he came back right away. I'm just glad it didn't happen on the subway.
By the way, the whole building knows that the loud Americans live on the tenth floor. I got in the elevator with a perfect stranger today (I promise I've NEVER seen him before in my life) and he punched "15" and "10" without looking at me twice. This was a shame since technically it was "my turn" to punch the button.