Monday, June 30, 2008

November 20

We were able to visit Olesya on Saturday though we did not have access to the main visitation room and stayed in a lobby area. It was clear that Saturday visitation was not the norm and it is unlikely that we will have further weekend visits. We went to the store and bought some Pampers so that the difficulty experienced on our first visit would not be repeated. We also got a couple of rattle style toys which amused her, though thumb sucking and looking around at everything are her primary interests at this point. She seems like a very happy kid and really doesn't fuss at all. The orphanage authorities have assured us that this behavior will continue well past adolescence. Today, we purchased a couple pair of socks that she can wear when roaming around on the floor.
Most anything you could want or need for your visit, with the notable exception of a camera cord or USB adapter, is readily available in the stores or markets of Taraz. Many products are familiar American brands. There are also a wide variety of European, Asian and of course Kazakh brands. Most products are labeled in several languages including English and most non see through packaging has pictures identifying the contents. The internet has been the biggest problem, but has now been solved as our new friend Patty who is staying in the same hotel advised us on how to connect to Nursat from our room.
Today, Sunday, we visited the mausoleum of Aisha-Bibi who was the lover of the great Kazakh ruler Karahan. We visited his mausoleum previously. We also visited the Russian Orthodox Church of Taraz and the Museum of Taraz which had many items of interest bridging this city's 2000 year history. Our hotel, the Hotel Zhambyl is actually located on the Silk Road which is a main avenue in the city center. The weather has been very nice. Today was a beautiful sunny day much like we would expect at this time of year in Denver.
Not much to add about the sightseeing. At Aisha-Bibi, we did a bit of shopping, some for them, one for me. :) We met another woman from America today who is almost done with her one long trip. We will be having dinner with her and are anxious to hear about her experiences.
Pizza has become the staple of our diet (some things never change). Although pizza is a bit different here than in the U.S., it is usually easy to find on a menu and a "safe" food to order.
Of course enjoyed the visit with Olesya yesterday. Since I forgot to bring any books to read (I feel like a horrible mother and teacher) I just told her what is bound to be her favorite story: Emily's Moo. She loved it and even smiled at the part when Emily asks Brown Cow how to moo. Olesya also smiled when I told her that the tickets have already been purchased for her first baseball game. When she sucks her thumb (a favorite pastime), she likes to hook her index finger on her nose - so cute!!

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