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.....Adopting in Almaty.....The Laura Edition......
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Wednesday 05.16.2001

Day 18

Alarm went off at 4:30am. Jim took shower then the phone rang. It was Don-he said to go back to bed because the plane hadn't arrived from Moscow yet and the 7:30am flight was now due to leave around noon.
Went back to sleep.
Laura & Sarah got up at 8am. Just before 9am, Tatyana called & said the plane was leaving Moscow at 11:30 am Almaty time. So...the plane probably won't leave ALmaty until around 5pm!
Laura is eating breakfast...

Well...we just hung around the apt in Almaty all day. The final word was that Igor wasn't picking us up until 5pm & the plane wouldn't leave for Moscow until after 7pm, basically 12 hours late.
Tayana wouldn't even accompany us to the airport, as she had to pack for her flight to New York.
Igor, Don, Sheila, & Ben picked us up after 5pm. At the airport, we went to the VIP Lounge & had special service. (Paid for VIP service) Checked bags & went downstairs to Lounge (& soft drinks)
Back down to passport & customs & back up. Back down to security & into van for the ride to the Tranaero plane (Airbus 2-4-2 widebody A-310) we were all in row 16.
Two other guys in the center section moved prior to departure. Plane was 1/3 1/2 full.
Sarah & Suze stayed primarily on right side & Jim & Sheila in the center.
Laura sat on Suze's lap, Sarah's lap or her own seat, sometimes on the right side section, sometimes in the center.
Jim helped Sheila out with Benjamin when she needed it.
Plane took off at 7:40pm. Movies were in English with Russian voiceovers.
All intercom announcements were in Russian & English.
Flight was 4 1/2 hours with a 3-hour time change, landing at Domodedevo airport at 9:20pm.
Beverage cart in the left aisle had Diet Pepsi & in the right aisle had Pepsi, so Jim & Sheila always switched beverages.
Dinner was bowtie pasta with meat sauce. Appetizer was horsemeat, red & green bell peppers. There was a roll, slice of bread & cake.
Jim also had white wine (no additional charge)
Both kids did well on the flight. Ben had fits of gas, but that wasn't due to the flight
Domodedevo was a much more modern airport than Bykovo.
We actually deplaned down a Jetway into the terminal. Surprise! Surprise! We were halfway to the front of the line at passport control but ended up at the very end.
After passport control, customs declarations were filled out; the guy OKd us.
We got our bags & exited.
Natasha & Anatoly were waiting. We went out to Anantoly's blue van bus.

(The temp was pleasantly cool compared to Almaty) & headed north to Moscow.
It was still twilight at 10:30.
Natasha stopped & got waters for both of us.
We went to the Hotel Mir next to the Russian parliament, US embassy & across the river from Hotel Ukraine. Because of a big conference in town, we couldn't get into the Radisson.
The Mir is like the Ukraine but nicer.
We're in 309 (a 3 room suite) & Sheila is in 308 (regular)
Anatoly set up the cribs, Natasha took $ & housekeeper brought pillows & blankets for Sarah & set up her sofa bed.
Sarah & Laura sleep in on room , Jim & Suze in another. We have a living room, 2 bthrooms, and a kitchette. We set the alrm for 6:45am as Natasha was returning around 7am.

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