Robby's World
With A Hop, Skip, and a Jump
Onto Our Next Challenges…

January 15-20, 2009

The hotel has some nice amenities. There is a really nice jewelry store, a souvenir shop, a tourism office, and a salon. I entered the salon to get an idea of what they could do and ended up having Robby’s bad Baby House  shaved head evened up. What a difference! He actually looks like he has more hair now. The man in the souvenir shop got a kick out of Robby. See, Robby has a thing for mustaches… I ended up buying a ridiculously priced($24) wood knife because it had a lion carved in the handle (Aslan = Lion) that I could not leave there.

I have heard of internationally adopting parents purchasing a present for each year until they are 18. I can see this if you know you will never be back to that country and the traditional & cultural items are really neat. In Uralsk there was the same things over and over and I admit I purchased my share of stuff but not 18 items! Now here in Almaty, I have seen some really different and great things that kind of make me want to see what I can find, providing packing room and funds both hold out.

We got out today. I needed some more baby food and diapers so I found a store down the street. The temperature was not bad and it stopped the fine snow that had been coming down. I just don’t need him getting sick again – once was enough.

Oleg (the lawyer) came by and I completed the embassy immigration forms. So many of them and all requiring my full name and address. In multiple places, yet. Ugh. They should get filed Thursday and my appointment is set for Friday at 2:30. He was, in a very round about and nice way, telling me that I was not going to get out of here on Friday. Primarily, because Robby’s passport did not get here in time. Probably due to fog, but if it was due to Kate being passive-aggressive, I’d rather not know.

Robby’s eating is regressing. He is back to crying when you know he is full. Even if you just give him some water to pacify him, he drinks so much he is spitting it up for an hour. If I were home I could let him cry it out, but since I have neighbors in this hotel, that is a little unrealistic. Unfortunately, distracting him does not always work when he in this starving baby mode. He is also back to me not being able to eat in front of him. It took almost 2 weeks to break him of this before. I have no idea how long it will take here at the hotel, and then again when we get home. Sigh.

Whine Alert - Day 82    
Friday, January 16, 2009

Oleg came by today. Sure enough it was bad news. Robby’s exit visa contained an error that Kate ignored. Now everything is cancelled and we start all over. He took my papers to extend my visa, which expires on Tuesday. This completely blows. I am actually past the point of being mad. Right now I am so overwhelmed here and disappointed - these people are supposed to be professionals and do this on a day-to-day basis. How could a stamp that important be ignored or overlooked?  You know the Leslie Gore song “It’s My Party”? Well, that has been my theme song for today. I need to switch to Annie’s “Tomorrow”. Or maybe the 5th Dimension’s “Let the Sunshine In”… But for now, I’ll cry if I want to. LOL.

Ok, pity party over. I made plans for tomorrow to take a city tour. A man from the tourism office is going to take us up to Kok Tobe, to the two museum complexes, and then to a shopping center. It will feel great to get out and about. I hate this room but don’t want to move him again. Remember the chant? It’s only 5 days, it’s only 5 days, it’s only 5 days…

Ok, I gave up later that night when the toilet stopped working. New room. We did go to the art museum, the WWII park, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, the shopping mall, and up Kok Tobe mountain. Then back to the hotel…

When we got back to the hotel, the freaking stroller acted up again. FYI, the front wheels do not spin so you can’t guide it. The blasted revolving door to the hotel is at a set pace and you better keep up or you are toast. Well, the stroller had the tote bag on it, thank goodness, and not the baby. The stupid stroller got caught in the revolving door and the wheel that likes to fall off went flying and got caught between the revolving door and the stationary glass wall. The bag with the used bottles went flying in another direction and one of the large bottles broke into bits. I think my patience with this stroller was about done as when this happened I was a bit vocal and uncouth in my handling of the situation. This is actually the first time I have seen any of the ‘assistance personnel’ actually help someone. At this point I gathered myself and asked the helpers if they know where I can replace the bottle. The reception desk actually sent a bellboy to the store for me! Did I mention somehow in all this somehow I managed to scrape up my shin pretty good? We were having such a good day, too.

A few days later, I got adventurous and decided to get a haircut as I won’t have time before the shower when we get back. He did a nice job, every hair got cut at least two times! A bit short, even for me, but it’ll grow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I spoke to Oleg this morning. The papers should be coming from Astana today but we don’t know what time they will be here. If that goes as planned, then an embassy appointment tomorrow and then to the KLM office to finalize my tickets! Woo and Hoo! Finally!!!  Oh no, I may have just jinxed everything…

We did not do much in the morning but decided to get out for the afternoon. We then had a comedy of errors. We went to the National Museum to find that they were closed (changed from Mondays to Tuesdays) and to a mall where the only thing I could afford to use was the ATM (actually saw my first 10,000 bill). We then tried to go back to the art walk where I saw some watercolors I liked and the person was not there. Taner said we could try again tomorrow. I even tried to take some pictures of the local buildings and was told not to as they were government buildings and the President’s house. Get this – he builds a fancy new modern place 15 years ago, lives there, moves the capital from Almaty, builds another new place in Astana, and now has two very fancy places. This is not a stupid man.

Oleg called and said we have an embassy appointment Wednesday and he will pick me up between at 2:30! Maybe we can leave tomorrow night! I know that is wishful thinking, but wouldn’t that be nice?  

The KLM office dashed my hopes completely. Apparently they also practice “selective” flying days here. The flight was today (Wed) at 8:30 and the next one will not be until Friday morning. I am good and truly stuck. Unless I want to scrap these tickets and get another airline…don’t think I didn’t consider it. Anyway, the good thing, I will be home in time for my shower!

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