Monday, July 31, 2006

Almaty to Astana

Our trip to Almaty did not start out too well. As the plane started to taxi out we realized we had forgotten “Bruce”, he was still in the waiting area. Bruce is James’ shark, the head steward assured us he would be taken care of until we returned. This may have been a good move for Bruce because Kazakhstan is basically land locked. The boys have gone without very much exercise and the sugar they ingested in Amsterdam was starting to take a visible effect. The once very happy travelers sitting around us were suddenly not very chipper. It became painfully obvious that if this were a “Reality Series” we would be the first to be voted off the plane. The trip was long and we slept the last half hour of the flight, we were awakened by clapping and cheers. Some of the oxygen masks had been released from their compartments above. What ever it was that occurred, I am happy not to know.

Almaty airport is beautiful, it has really come a long way in 3 years, brand new building, all state of the art equipment. Customs took about an hour, which wasn’t bad. Oleg (our translator and Driver) was there waiting for us, it was good to see a familiar face. He was happy and cheerful as I had remembered him. It was 6:00 am and our next flight wasn’t scheduled until 7:00 pm so we went to the hotel to get some rest and breakfast. The hotel had a huge Yurt constructed in the middle of the lobby which James was fascinated with. We ate and managed 3 hours sleep.

Our flight to Astana was smooth and uneventful; my seat was separate from Jeanine and the boys. I was seated behind a man who knew everyone on the plane. Not one person passed his seat without shaking his hand, hugging him or giving him a gift of some sort. We were meet by Dina (our translator) and Booshon (our driver). I had meet Dina briefly in Karaganda on our first trip and again at a gathering in Massachusetts when she was in the states visiting. What a small world, we didn’t know we would be coming to Astana at the time.
Our apartment is very nice and comfortable. We have lost all sense of time and can only manage to sleep for 3 hour stretches. Daniel and James are very unsettled and keep asking if they still have a bedroom and a home and we keep reassuring them that we will be going home again.

Finally !!!
We are getting picked up at 10:00am tomorrow morning and after some paperwork we will be able to meet Rebecca!! I don’t foresee any of us sleeping tonight.


The 5 McGills said...

Good luck tomorrow! Your description of the Amsterdam to Almaty flight doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling about the London-Almaty flight and back with an almost 4 year old and a baby. I will be SURE that Charlie the Bear makes the flight. James seems like he handled the Bruce situation much better than Tim would handle losing Charlie. How are his hives doing (James, not Bruce)? Debbie

P.S. Did I tell you that we met Dina at dinner our last night in Astana and again at the baby house the next day with a family that was picking up their son? She seems very nice and her English is great.

The Pippitts said...

Sorry didn’t mean to scare anyone, but I couldn’t resist sharing the experience. James’ hives finally vanished on their own, which is a relief as I didn’t want to keep dosing him with benadryl. James does miss Bruce very much but luckily I used his back up (Grey Rhino) as “filler material” when packing so he made the trip. Yes, Dina is very nice and kids are just drawn to her, she truly enjoys all the children she meets.
Wish I could solve my photo dilemma?