Now, a quick word about breakfast at the White Swan. The buffet is ginormous, with a good mix of Asian and Western foods. The wait staff were obviously used to large numbers of rugrats, and didn't seem fazed by the barely-controlled chaos of several families still trying to figure out which end was up. (I also appreciated the availability of watermelon juice and banana juice... tasty alternatives to the usual OJ!) We managed to inhale some food (and discovered the Pipsqueak likes tater tots) and make it to the lobby just a few minutes after everybody else, with plenty of time for our walk to the medical clinic.
There was one quick stop along the way, at one of the small stores across the street, to make copies of the little ones' Chinese passports. It was already muggy and getting hot, but there was enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable as we walked along. When we reached the main street running down the center of the island, we found groups of locals doing their morning exercises. There were a couple of large groups (mainly older women) doing synchronized dancing; bunches of people ranging from old men to teenaged girls batting shuttlecocks back & forth (like playing badminton, just without a net); a few folks doing tai chi; an occasional jogger, and the occasional singleton dog-walker. (There were all the usual jokes along the lines of, "Oh, look, they're exercising their lunch!" but we never saw any indication of pets being anything but pets.)
Along the way, we saw more fashion shoots -- and as we dodged the occasional car or construction site, we ended up walking through a couple of them. I don't think it was terribly well-appreciated, but nobody commented and several of the locals did the same thing we did. (Quick note on the construction: a lot of the folks on adoption trips earlier in the year & going back into 2009 commented on all of Shamian Island being a major mess due to all the construction & renovation work being done for October's Pan-Asian Games -- but by the time we arrived, there were only a few individual buildings on the island that were still being worked on and it was basically a non-issue for us.)
The clinic was... well, let's say "chaotic" and leave it at that. As I posted that evening in our travel blog, we had to make our way through a large crowd of locals in various states of disrepair. The lobby was something like a cross between an ER waiting room, a busy doctor's office, and a crowded marketplace... I saw one old lady barely able to stand being held up by a nurse and (I presume) a family member; a couple of kids rolling a ball back & forth between themselves on the floor; an annoyed-looking college-age man talking animatedly to an equally annoyed-looking woman in a lab coat; and people, people, people sitting & standing absolutely everywhere. Several folks were openly (enviously?) staring at us as we passed through the crowd without stopping & headed down a hallway that was lined with chairs & benches between doors with official-looking signs, and I noticed that every available seat held a woman or child (or a woman with a child on her lap). The end of the hallway was a glass door with a welcome sign above it.
It wasn't long before it was time for the Pipsqueak's exam, and within the first few moments we learned something new: she doesn't like doctors. I don't mean not liking as in, "I don't like doctors, let's get this over with!" -- I mean not liking as in nonstop wailing... loud, nonstop wailing & screaming... loud, nonstop noise they could probably hear outside on the other side of the river not liking. While waiting, AJ and I had talked about how lucky we were that her adoption was still on the I-600 form, because the more recent adoptions on the I-800 form required the kiddos to get any & all missing inoculations during this exam, sometimes to the tune of 8-10 injections in 6-8 minutes but the 600-based adopters only had to sign a promise the children would receive any needed shots once back in the USA. [Note: later that year, the U.S. Congress finally passed an amendment to the Hague rules that allows all subsequent I-800 adopters to do the same -- but hundreds of little kids and their new folks were sadly made to suffer in the interim.]
Working as quickly as possible, the medical staff weighed my niece (kinda-sorta because she kept moving around), measured my niece (kinda-sorta because she kept twisting & bending), checked her vision (kinda-sorta because she kept trying to hide in mommy's lap), checked her hearing (kinda-sorta... well, you get the idea). Eventually, she was pronounced small but very healthy (AJ had to lean her ear right up next to the doctor's mouth and he had to shout so she could hear him over the Pipsqueak). To borrow from that evening's travel blog entry... "length, 27 inches; weight, 7kg (up half a kilo in a week); vision, normal; hearing, very good; lungs... excellent!"
We returned to the hotel and arranged to meet 30 minutes later in the children's play room for Lisa & Lucy to help everyone complete the last (large) set of papers needed for the upcoming appointment at the U.S. Consulate.