Friday, January 14, 2005

Continued from January 13th...

We found some seats away from everyone to settle in and wait. Someone from the airline came along and announced something. Les found someone there that spoke English and they said they were bringing in a plane from Almaty to come get us. The plane was scheduled to get in around 5:00AM and leave around 7:00AM. We had many hours to kill with an airport full of smoke and unhappy people to be stuck in Astana.

We took turns walking the kids around. Sierra finally fell sleep with Jim and he laid down with her on a chair. Kai never gave up. He was up the entire time playing or scoping out the area. People kept walking by us staring. They don't even try to be discreet - they just stare - which we were in no mood for at this point.

Around 6:00AM, we found an attendant that spoke some English. We asked if there was any way we could board early since we had the children. She brought someone else out and said we could pay for VIP service and they would let us on. We tried to explain that we had business class tickets which we hadn't been able to use since the last plane didn't have business class. Les then tried to ask again if we could get on early - stating we had business class. She said "So?" We're still not exactally sure what a business class ticket was that we paid for??? Whew.... The days is getting longer. The lady did come back to Carla and say that they found a family room that she could take the 4 babies to. We started loading our things and she came back to Carla and said "Only you and all four babies." Well, that wasn't happening. How in the world would one person tend to 4, 9 month olds. We decided to stay and wait where we were.

There was one gentleman around that spoke Russian and English that started talking to us. He said he would go and talk to them - he didn't think they understood our predicament. Whatever he said worked. They let us on and put us in the bulk head seats of business class (first class, at least on this plane). We were able to get settled, change diapers, feed the children and try to rest. The plane didn't take off at 7AM. It was around 9AM before we left. It was still nicer to wait on the plane than in the airport. The kids did well for the most part - couple of outbursts due to the lack of sleep, but we walked them and worked through it. Most of the people in business class slept through it (I'm not sure how, because the kids have a set of lungs on them and at least one of the diaper changes was lethal at close range). We finally took off and arrived in Almaty around 11:00AM. The drivers and Dilnoza were there to greet us and take us to the apartment. We finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel!

We put the kids down for a nap right away after changing them. They slept for about 2 hours. We were told the driver would pick us up to go to the Ramstore around 3:00PM (to get groceries) and that we would have a meeting with Gulbanu at 6:00PM. We napped for a couple hours and then Les and Jim went to the store while Carla watched the kids. They both had meltdowns (so did Carla at this point) It had been such a long day and a half with no food or sleep. She was glad when Les and Jim got back from the store.

We then did dinner, baths etc. Sierra was a little unsure of the big bath tub, but did ok. Kai loves the bath. He was splashing water all over the place. They both were happy after a nap, a bath and a full stomach.

We put them down for the night around 8:30PM and we went to bed shortly after that. They slept until about 8:00AM this morning! What an awesome present that was!!!!! Kai was fussing off and on since 4:00AM but would fall back to sleep. Sierra slept through it all.

We're slowly getting back to normal. We're trying to find our way to some sort of schedule. Unfortunately as soon as we establish one, we'll have to uproot them again. Oh well, we'll enjoy it while it lasts.

OK - that concludes the account of our adventure from Uralsk to Almaty. Even after we've had a few hours of sleep, we still contend it was absolutely hellish. But if this is what it takes to get these kids home, it's a small price to pay.

Here are the pictures from the remainder of our day:


Jim and Sierra taking a short nap at Astana airport (about 3AM).



Carla and Kai at Astana airport (about 4AM).


Kai pulling Grandpa's glasses off about 5 or 6 AM).



The Higgins' in Business Class (like First class) waiting for the &^%^ plane to take off (Sierra's hanging in there).


Daddy and Kai asleep on the plane.



"I see Grandpa."


"Hey Mom, Grandpa's sitting behind us."


The mountains in Almaty at sunrise.

"Yeah, we're here."



"Yeah - I feel so much better after my bath. Now dad needs one - he stinks!"


Grandpa's nap cocktail.



Sierra's dinner.

"Bring it on... I'm a man looking for some dinner."


The shower room/wash room (our washing machine is in here). The washing machine is much smaller than in Uralsk (which was small). It vibrates across the floor to the tub when in the spin cycles (yes - cycles. The washer runs for 90 minutes).


Les' room for the week.



Our living room. We actually get some English channels (Fox news, CNN, BBC, National Geographic channel)


Carla and Jim's bedroom.



The babies room. We rigged up the chair to be Sierra's crib.


Closer view of Sierra's "crib."



Hallway from the back closet (by the babies room) leading to the living room.


From the hallway looking at the shower room and Les' bedroom.



Another bathroom photo... in case we haven't had enough over the last three weeks.


Kai getting dinner.



The kitchen.


Another view of the kitchen.



Mama and Daddy tag-teamin' Kai.


Our stocked refrigerator (food is more expensive here, in comparison to Uralsk).



Since the juice has been so good here, Jim decided to try the cherry juice. It tastes like cherries right off the tree - really good.


Les tried to find the mustard he liked but they didn't have his brand. He got this instead - it's HOT!! It's good but tastes like it's got horseradish in it.



Carla and our newest Censeo team member.


Grandpa teaching Kai to beat the table.


Kai clapping his hands.


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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004