The four-hour flight on a rickety plane with bouncy Veeka was not a joy, let me tell you, but fortunately a Kazakh boy took it on himself to help entertain her, so she stopped howling and played with him.
I’ve been in Almaty a day now – am staying at a hotel called Kaz Zhol – it’s very nice – much cheaper than the Hyatt – and we’re close to downtown. I spent this morning getting the Little One’s passport photo, then went shopping at ZHUM – the big store – have enough Kazakh Christmas ornaments and yurt jewel boxes to serve as gifts for the next few years! As usual, Veeka charmed everyone and enticed one of the saleswomen to give up a bottle of apple juice for her. Veeka loves juice – any juice. Meanwhile in the hotel room, I race about, trying to keep this little girl from poking her fingers into electrical sockets. What IS it about kids they like doing this???
To our surprise, Almaty was 20 degrees warmer with no snow – quite a different city from what I saw 6 weeks ago. We ate lunch in an open air market with women dressed in Russian costumes serving up Slavic deserts and a barbecue stand that combined carrots, lamb, mayonaisse, onions and a bunch of other stuff for the yummiest tortilla sandwich you ever had.
Last night, we went to the craziest restaurant – PCB or something like that – that was done up as take-off on the old KGB days. There was a hammer and sickle etched into the ceiling, secret taping machines, photos of Brezhnev, Khrushev (spelled that wrong, I know) and Che Gueverra – lots of Party photos showing bronzed men and muscular women fighting for the Fatherland – they even give you commemorative Party postcards when you leave.
Today we took passport photos; tomorrow hopefully we will do Veeka’s medicals. Unfortunately everything depends on when the coordinator arrives from Astana with all the adoption stuff OK’d by their state apparatus. So we wait and wait…