18 February 2005: Almaty

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My mother called and said she is feeling much better. She opined that Carla is doing very well. The computer connection to the states was very slow and we were unable to read email this morning. We asked my mom to call Rita's mom and tell her to give us a call. Carla was in fine form, telling me that she was "angry of me" because I called her "little girl". We do miss her, but she sounds as if she is doing fine.

Picture on the route is an unfinished sports dome. It looked exactly the same 2.5 years ago. Another cold, hazy day as the two before.

Zhanara accompanied us to the baby house to get our questions answered. Our court date has been moved up to 1 March from 2 March. Zhanara will check if we can go back a day early. It would be worth it to see our daughter. No real surprises in the answers to our questions. He did spend a month in the hospital after birth being treated for "intercranial hypertension". Nothing else unusual. He was full term, but we are certain our pediatrician will be horrified at how small he is. Visit was good, but it is a bit frustrating that all Sergio wants to do is paw through our bags and find new toys and food. He is pretty engaged with us. He had something in his right eye that was bothering him. We tried to help him flush it out, and Maigul collected him a bit early to get some attention. With the cold is is very dry indoors. Rita suffers from fly away hair and I have itchy skin.

After the visit we went out to eat at Zheli Beli which is a traditional Russian restaurant just a couple of blocks away. It is done up as a Russian peasant house and the waitresses wear Russian peasant costumes. Dima tells us that Zheli Beli is the phrase that starts every Russian fairy tale, like "Once upon a time". It was nice to go out, and the food was good. Rita had broiled trout and I had beef. They gave us shots of vodka to finish which was fun for us, who drink only a little. We walked it off by heading over to the theater where we have ballet tickets tonight.

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