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January 28

After trying to sleep off the jet lag, we met with Gulbanu (our adoption facilitator in Kazakhstan) at noon. She was very friendly and it was nice to finally meet her. We went over our trip schedule and received our tickets for our in-country flight to Uralsk. We'll be flying to Uralsk at 5:15 tomorrow morning and going to the baby house at some point during the day! So just after we had calmed down from the stress of the flights and felt somewhat rested, we got all excited again!

After the meeting, we went to the Ramstore for a few supplies. The Ramstore is a large department & grocery store that also has restaurants, a fast food court, and even an ice skating rink. The sales people are friendly (as are everyone we've encountered) and helpful. Lyn had to buy a new curling iron and the salesman tested it to make sure it worked before we bought it. We then saw a bit of Almaty and had lunch. Almaty is really a beautiful city. There are trees lining the streets everywhere and the snow on the branches adds to the beauty. There also seems to be quite a few parks giving the city a nice open feeling. With all the green space, it is probably great in the summer too.

Our first meal here was at the American Grill, a restaurant our driver recommended. It was mostly standard American favorites with a few Kazakh dishes thrown in too. I tried the lamb shish-kabob (very good) while Lyn had the "Classic American" sandwich (ham & cheese with cucumbers, also very good). Tonight we plan to eat at the Schwabisches Hauschen, a German sausage house near our apartment. Almaty seems to have a big food selection as we have seen American, German, Romanian, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese restaurants in addition to traditional Kazakh food (and that's in just our short afternoon out).

Our last activity, a couple hours at the Art Museum, was relaxing and very nice. I hope we can visit it again when we return to Almaty.

That's all for now as the Schwabisches Hauschen is calling our names. See you in Uralsk!

View from side window in apartment living room.

Our first meal in Kazakhstan (we're so adventurous... going to the *American* Grill!)

Guess what's playing at the local theater!

Working on the web site in the Almaty apartment.

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