One of my big concerns is going to China for two weeks, with our luggage restricted to two suitcases total (!), and having to take food for the husband and I to last most of that time! Believe me, I was worried. A year ago, I knew that I could definitely get kosher food in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and possibly Kowloon. I also knew that it was doubtful that I would end up adopting from an SWI *anywhere* near any of these places. When I met up with Mortimer's Mom in July, she was raving about how wonderful Chabad of Beijing was, and I was a little confused about why she spent so much time there - until I realized that she's CANADIAN, and the Canadians go back to the consulate/embassy in Beijing to complete their adoption, not Guangzhou! Darn. I guess I should've married a Canadian.
I didn't really see anything about kosher food in Guangzhou, where we'd have to stay at least a week. Nor did I see anything about kosher food in any other area where we might adopt from. This was a little stressful, to be sure! There are so many Labriute meals one would want to ingest over the course of 14 to 17 days, and they take up a lot of space in a suitcase. Yes, we could ship food to China, but I really would not trust that the package I sent to some far flung province in China would actually be there when we got there. There was also the possibility that we would get our TA on very short notice, and not have time to ship food to a particular hotel. Cuz you know we're going to get the referral from Outer Mongolia.
I was so worried (becuase I'm crazy like that), that I was tempted to ask for a referral from one of the SWIs near Guangzhou, because I felt better about being able to trust a shipment arriving and being there for us at the good 'ol White Swan hotel when we got there, since we would be there nearly two weeks. Of course, now that would not be my first choice, as anyone adopting from that province has to stay an extra week!
So...while reading some posts on a wonderful blog (separate post to follow) about the Jews in Kaifeng, I decided to check the Chabad websites in China to see what had been going on lately. I already knew about Chabad of Beijing, Chabad of Hong Kong, and the Shanghai Jewish Center, and had heard that there was a Jewish synagogue in Kowloon from where kosher food could be ordered (the website has disappeared). Oh, and that there was another synagogue in Beijing.
Can you imagine how thrilled I was to find new Chabad Centers in China? Woohoo! There are now Chabad Centers (with food that can be ordered! yay!) in Kowloon, Shenzen, and, most importantly, Guangzhou!
Gah. This is fabulous.
Of course, I'm *still* going to get the referral from the most remote part of China and have to take a suitcase of food to get through a week there. But at least I can look forward to a freshly cooked meal in Guangzhou.
Never mind that it'll be 18 to 24 months before we get our referral. And that we're still waiting to get our I-171-H or whatever it is they call the form nowadays.
And my other nightmare, with is that we'll have to travel on Passover, when there's REALLY nothing to eat.
P.S. Ooh. I just googled "chabad guangzhou" and found this article. It looks like they're planning even more centers in China:
"Thanks to funding from Rohr and other sources, within the next 18 months Chabad plans to inaugurate at least three more centers in China. Avtzon says he's not yet sure where, but likely candidates include the booming industrial cities of Qingdao, Nanjing, Xiamen and Hangzhou.
Chabad also is looking at the former Portuguese colony of Macau, which like nearby Hong Kong is now a special administrative region of China."
Nanjing! Xiamen! Fabulous.
By the time we get to China, there's gonna be a Chabad in every province!
BTW, in a previous post I mentioned that I thought I could get kosher food in Guangzhou, but I think I had it mixed up with Kowloon. Having a Chabad Center there is much better.