Trip results in more than memories
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
A couple’s trip to China included visiting many places tourists would go, but the husband and wife came home with more than just souvenirs and memories of a trip to a foreign land.
Bob and Bonnie Bradley of Corydon had the opportunity for a trip of a lifetime with their son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Jodi Carosone of Iowa, and their grandchildren, Alex, Eddie and Gigi. When the family returned from China in late 2018, they had grown by one in number.
Bob said the trip was planned for the Carosones to adopt their newest son, Howie, who was 2 years old when Tim and Jodi finalized the adoption on Oct. 28, 2018. Howie was from the same village as Gigi, who was adopted in 2017.
“The trip was preplanned” by the adoption agency, Bob said.
The Carosones had asked Bonnie to accompany them on the trip to help care for their other children — Alex, who was 17; Eddie, then 13; and Gigi, who was 4 — while they focused on the necessary appointments for the adoption. Bob decided he wanted to go, too.
It was a 12-hour flight from Detroit to Beijing, where the group spent three days as tourists with a guide, who spoke “almost perfect English,” Bob said. They had guided tours of the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and a jade factory and even dined with a family in their Chinese home.
“We walked a lot,” said Bob, adding that seeing the Great Wall was the highlight for him.
From Beijing, the group traveled to Zhengzhou on a “bullet” train that traveled 297 kilometers per hour; that’s about 184.5 miles per hour. Despite the speed, Bob said it was a “smooth” ride. The three-hour trip included five stops.
Food served on the train was “very interesting, not American,” Bob noted.
Zhengzhou is where the family completed the adoption process.
“Tim and Jodi were very busy there,” Bob said. “Once they got Howie, they had doctors’ appointments and had to meet with consultants.”
While the Carosones were taking care of finalizing Howie’s adoption, the rest of the group continued to be tourists. Bob said they had an apartment in a hotel in Zhengzhou where they could get free bottled water. They also discovered a nearby Pizza Hut, Starbucks and McDonalds.
“We shopped and ate a lot,” Bob said.
They also were able to take a boat ride on the Pearl River, an extensive water system that runs through southern China.
“The Chinese people were very helpful and very quiet,” Bob said. “They were a very welcoming people.”
The orphanage where Howie had been living was located outside of the city. Bob said on the way there they saw farmland, mostly grain crops.
“I saw one combine,” he added.
Although Gigi was just a toddler when she was adopted, she recognized the language of the natives. Bob said she has been helping with Howie’s adjustment to being an American.
The last leg of the overseas journey was spent in Guangzhou, which the group reached by plane.
“It was a very nice, clean town,” Bob said.
Motorized electric scooters, a common mode of transportation in China, are not allowed in Guangzhou, he said.
The family was able to do some sightseeing on Shamian Island and visited a six-story pearl market.
They had nice weather for the most part, until the last day when it rained.
“That was the only time we really saw any traffic,” Bob said.
When they finally arrived back in the United States, Bob said they were “bone tired” and it took him and his wife two to three weeks to recover from jet lag.
He added, “Almost everyone (in the group) had been sick, which didn’t help.”
Calling the trip an “opportunity of a lifetime,” Bob said he felt as safe as ever despite being in a foreign country.
“I would go again if it wasn’t such a long trip,” he said.