Ms. Nadia and I had a visit from Mrs. Lynn from Thurs to early morning on Sunday when she left us again. She flew back to Moscow for another 12 day chunk; we just get our family rhythm started again and she is snatched from our grasp. Sophie is really hopeful that she will not have to do this grind much longer. We counted up yesterday; she had done 12 flight segments since leaving Denver on May 10; most on the early morning Air Astana flights between Almaty and Moscow; and they don’t even have a frequent flyer program.
We had a number of “milestone” things that occurred during Sophie’s visit. We drove to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday and got our new permanent visas. We are legal until early Sept. 07; this literally went to the last day, driving in on 8/25 the last legal day on Nadia and my tourist visas. We think Deloitte paid a large bribe for this kind of visa processing as most of the stories I had heard from co-workers, placed you waiting in beautiful Bishkek for 3-4 days for your new Kazak visa. We got pushed through in 90 minutes.
Next the living accommodation which was still up in the air was finalized; no moving. This went down to the last day when the flat’s owner was to give our money back. This tangled web involved Deloitte not having an official address for Sophie to secure her tax I.D. number (like a social security number, which is needed for her to legally move money out of Kazakhstan to our accts. in the States). This part of the saga needs telling in more detail when we are in person.
These two items illustrate how things kind of work here; they love cliff hanger here and things can be strung out to the last possible second. Life here is a series of cliff hangers that stress one out to the max.
Finally we went out and bought our new sofa bed and slept like logs. We all slept together in the new bed – before Sophie flew back to Moscow on Sunday morning. This was symbolic in a way being able to add things that make it “home”, stop living out of suitcases, etc. Now we need to buy a kitchen table and a wardrobe and the old place will have the basics. Nadia already had a bed and there is quite a bit of storage except for shirts, suits, skits, dresses, etc. that need to be hung up thus our need for the wardrobe. You can’t imagine how these little things can really give you more of a sense of permanency after living out of a suitcase for a month.
A couple of photos from our journey including the frontier scene as we crossed back into Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan – border control is the green building – the press of humanity in this little building was pretty awful – it was kind of like a Skinner Box experiment with this mass of bodies going through this immigration grinder AND note the picture of the world’s more remote "Duty Free" shop who woulda thunk it that Kyrgyzstan would have duty free? And a couple pics of the happy Lynn’s celebrating our new visas. Lunch out at the YUSA restaurant that our driver recommended – it was great regional food and just a nice quiet sidewalk atmosphere in Bishkek.