15 February 2005: Almaty

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Earthquake this morning at 5:40. We were up, our usual pattern is bed around 8:00 and up around 4:00, and clearly saw the building and light fixtures shake. Almaty has been leveled by earthquakes in the past and Dima tells us that a few times each year he feels shaking. The larger buildings are "earthquake proof" and Dima pointed out reinforcing in the baby house.

Along the route I snapped the commerce center which is being expanded. There is lots of new construction in Almaty, also lots of construction abandoned before completion. You can also see a bus shelter. These are quite striking stone mosaics. I'll snap some more of them. Another cold and snowy day. The sun broke out briefly mid-afternoon.

This was our best visit with Sergio. We got him to laugh and he ran around choosing which toys to play with. He was not too excited by the Magnadoodle; he did like erasing stuff. He really wanted to go through our bags and was delighted to find two oranges which he devoured. He got upset when we would not let him eat cough drops again. He often comes back to books, thus Rita will have to return with some for him.

After the visit we had to go to Gulbanu's office and fill out a stack of forms. Gulbanu also saw our Carla picture book and was really delighted with it. She thought it would be good for our court appearance. She really liked pictures of Carla with her violin.

A quick trip to the Ramstore to change money, pick up a few things, and get some stomach medicine for Rita. Then off to get a print out of eight of the pictures we have taken. I had them on a minidisk and this proved to be a bit of problem. The first place we went to did not know what to do with it. The second one produced nice prints for less than $4. It took about ten minutes. They did delete the date and next time we will have to ask them to please leave it on. The good news is that the quality is good, it is cheap, and it can be done very fast.

After getting home I made tomato sauce and pasta. It is very comforting to know that even on the other side of the world I can get the ingredients and make our favorite food. Both of us really miss Carla today. This is certainly the most difficult aspect of this process. We did get an email from Rita's mother. Carla is doing fine and seems to be having lots of fun. We hope we will get a call from her tomorrow when she is visiting my mother.

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