The noise over hear is different than back home and certain sounds can be heard throughout the day. I have mentioned the techno-pop that is played everywhere...I have even noticed that almost everyone's cell phone rings with some dance mix or hip hop tone. Candace and I actually had to suppress laughter when a gentleman nearby took a couple of calls to the tune of "Final Countdown" by Europe (a band from the 80's). Other noises of notes include car alarms (you can always hear one being activated or going off), dogs barking, and fireworks. Fireworks erupt every day at all hours...I actually wonder if there is a Disneyland nearby.
Today we enjoyed our visits with Alexandra, although the common area where prospective parents meet is getting rather crowded and noisy. There are now seven couples visiting with their children including families three from Spain, one from France, two from the US, and ourselves. One of the biggest distractions results from the European passion for soccer or football. A couple of the dads usually visit with their kids for a little while before spending some time kicking a ball between them. Recently, an errant ball came relatively close to the area where Candace and I were sitting on the floor with Alexandra. Fortunately, I retained my composure and avoided any sort of international incident.
Candace continues to provide food for Alexandra and Alexandra continues to eat. Her food of choice today was ham and she ate about 20 small cubes of it. It is almost like we are sneaking the food in for her. Whenever we pull out someting to feed her, one of us sort of blocks the view of the entrance in case any of the staff enters. It seems that whenever someone is "caught" feeding their child, the next day the child has a stomach ache and sometimes is too "sick" to visit. So we are quick to move unfinished items into our bag if anyone happens by and Alexandra is helpful in ensuring that there is little left unfinished. We certainly want to be respectful of what is happening at the orphanage and we do think the caregivers here are doing their best with the resources that they have. But we also want Alexandra to get a bit thicker and we are willing to do what we have to in supplementing her diet.
Our day ended by finding a new restaurant quite close to our hotel. When we entered we noticed the couple from Arkansas and joined them for supper followed by a couple of hours of conversation. You would not believe how nice it is to have sustained conversation with someone who shares your language and cultural experiences. It certainly is something that you take for granted living back in the comfort of Canada. I have noticed that when Candace and I leave the orphanage I am communicating to her in my cropped version of English that I use with the locals. I will say stuff like "We get taxi now" and she often responds with "Good". After finishing our visit at the restaurant, it took me about five minutes to convince the gentleman who checked our coats to actually give me my jacket...despite the fact that it was one of only three hanging in the cloak room. The others with whom I was with had given him their coat check tags and received their jackets in turn. I told the valet that he did not give me a tag...he said that he had. We sort of discussed this as much as two people who speak different languages could discuss it. He finally relented when I turned all of my pockets inside out and showed him I did not have a coat check tag. As Candace and I got back to our room at our hotel, I felt a certain sense of satisfaction having freed my jacket from foreign capitivity. I was still feeling relatively smug as I reached inside the inner pocket of my jacket to pull out my room key...which I found intertwined with my coat check tag. I expect to have much more humility tomorrow when I visit the restaurant again to return the tag.