Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days…not much opportunity for pictures here, so I figure you probably would be less interested in me blathering on. I have a few days of pictures now.

Almaty is a beautiful city. It’s much different than Astana. The streets are tree-lined with large old trees. All the trees in Astana were planned within the last 5 years. There are also beautiful mountains around here, whereas Astana is truly on the Steppe and very flat for hundreds of miles. Almaty has a look that is reminiscent of New England.

We visited a Russian Orthodox Cathedral yesterday….it was beautiful and we even managed to see a wedding. The wedding was over and done within less than 20 min. This was the second time we have visited a place of worship..and at both places, we witnessed a wedding. We also visited a nearby restaurant that served lagman noodles, which is like homemade pasta…very popular here, in Astana too.

The restaurant was round, in the shape of a yurt. Yurts are very portable housing. The ancestors of Kazakhstan (or Central Asia for that matter) were very nomadic…and they lived in yurts.

Here’s a link http://www.mongolian-yurt.com/index.html

On Friday, we went to a medical appt. required by the embassy, Ryan checked ok. He has no diseases that prevent him from travel and he has also been cleared to not have any criminal tendencies. These are the 2 main reasons for the medical exam. I’ve included a few pictures of Nikolai holding him. Nikolai is our driver here in Almaty.

We took the kids shopping at a mall today…it was pretty nice and just the right speed. It was kind of neat, it had an ice skating rink in the middle of it. You could watch people skate from all 3 levels of the mall.

Ryan’s big accomplishment of today is that he can hold his own bottle….when he feels like it of course…if your Mother would still hold your bottle, wouldn’t you take advantage? :)

We are planning to go to the Embassy on Monday and then hopefully, we’ll be on our way back to the US on Tuesday…we are currently booked for Thursday…hoping I can move it up…also hoping I can convince someone nice to bump me to first class from Frankfurt to Boston. Current plan is to sleep on first flight, then once we are in Frankfurt start consuming tons of Red Bull. The 2nd flight, move to 1st class and take advantage of a glass or two of free wine. Hopefully Ryan doesn’t need Red Bull or the wine, as I don’t think it’s advisable to give him these things.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.