We had Saturday off - we sent Dinara off home to spend the day with her family and struck out on our own like the intrepid explorers that we are.
"I feel Kazakh now" said LB,
"I feel proud to be Kazakh. I think I'll come and live here when I'm 16"
"That would be interesting, they still have national service here" I broke the bad news.
shocked face and a rapid reassessment of his new life plans.
"Maybe if I could join the Navy?" he pondered somewhat optimistically as we sat in the worlds largest land-locked country. They do actually have
a small navy based in the Caspian sea but that's about 2,500 miles from here. It really is a very big country!
interlude for the Kazakh Adopters and probably of very little interest to anyone else
We got a cab over to Daniel "supermarket" which LB was frustrated to discover is really more like a market inside a building
than what we would call a supermarket. He still managed to find a techie stall to buy a new charging cable (which was apparently essential).
From there we walked over the bridge past the ice hockey stadium,
waved at the Shiney River hotel on behalf of those who called it home. We watched the trams and LB marvelled at the state of the buses which he decided came from the 1920's soviet era - and I'm not sure he's wrong. He was particularly peturbed
by the bus which came past with it's doors open. I think a job in health and safety might await him.
We stopped for a photo opportunity outside Dyetsky Mir (Children's World) - do you remember it Adrienne?
It's wehre we bought the quilted jackets and hooded towels and went inside to buy a present for Dinara's new baby.
Then it was a right turn down past the Tsum and straight down to the Irtyssh hotel and the
The Tsum has been refurbished, they appear to have built an entire new building around it and there's a very swanky new shopping centre next door now. There are also more cars around with
quite a number of them smart and new as well as the usual battered old heaps. I'm guessing they don't have MOT tests here! (Editors note: for my American readers in the Uk once your car is over 3 years old it has to pass a roadworthiness test every year
called the MOT)
Non-Ust families may like to rejoin the narrative here
We had important shopping to do in Kolos becausse
the next day, Dinara had invited us out to her parents house by the lake.
LB rather alarmed "Have you never heard of the film The Lake House?" I thought it must be a horror film by the look on his face and
looked it up. It's a romance... much the same thing then to a ten year old.
Dinara warned me "It's very simple" and I translated to LB that probably meant very, very basic. But it would be an amazing
experience which very few children in his position would get (I think I'm beginning to sound like my mother at this point). He may even be the only child adopted from Kazakhstan to be invited out to The Lake House. There were no shops for miles
so we needed to bring food with us. Hence the trip to Kolos, I knew it was somewhere I could get tinned tuna and bread so he wouldn't starve to death in a few hours.
After we'd finished and had taken the obligatory
photos of the Irtyssh hotel (to be shared later), we caught a taxi back to the hotel. I was ripped off by the taxi driver of course; I knew I was ripped off, and he knew I knew from my raised eyebrow and slight laugh.
But what the heck, £1 instead of 50p wasn't worth the effort of trying to think of the right words in Russian.
And tomorrow we head off into the mountains... see you on the other side...