Sunday, March 25, 2007

We’re Here!

After three nearly inedible airplane dinners, four security checks, two mile-long walks around a Turkish airport, and an 85mph taxi ride to the hotel we have arrived! Our journey started off on a scary note when my passport was not registering at the Northwest Air check-in counter. For some strange reason there is a number that is scratched off, or was never there in the first place, or whatever – but there is a missing number and it was causing us some difficulty when we checked in. My heart physically hurt as I watched the lady behind the desk swipe it over and over again to no avail. Finally, she entered the numbers by hand (which worked) and told me that I may encounter this problem again as we go to check-in or transfer flights.

The flights went well, they were just incredibly long. The Northwest flight from Detroit to Amsterdam was really nice and had the most decent food. That leg of our trip took a little over 8 hours and was a comfortable ride. Each seat had a television monitor recessed in the headrest, so we were able to chose our own movies to watch and control our own volume (I watched Bobby, Jerret chose Night at the Museum and the new Rocky).

We arrived in Amsterdam and easily found our next flight schedule and departure gate. The Amsterdam airport was really nice and had many employees that spoke perfect English. The people we ran into there were of diverse backgrounds, but still everyone seemed to speak English. I was actually a little surprised at how nice the Istanbul airport was as well. The bathrooms were very clean (and we all know how important this is) and smelled like perfume (is it weird that I noticed that?). Istanbul is where we met the two other US families from our agency that are also adopting from Kyrgyzstan. Their babies are at a different orphanage than JJ, and we are hoping to join them when they go meet their newest family members.

When we arrived in Bishkek it was 3:00 a.m. on Sunday and we waited in line a short time for customs and our luggage. People are very pushy here. Not necessarily rude, but just aggressive. I guess they feel that you have to push for your spot, or what it is that you want, or you will never get it. I had to learn this the hard way as Jerret pushed his way through the crowd at the luggage check and left me in the dust. I felt weird (rude) at first, but quickly realized that aggressiveness is the name of the game and if you don’t take your spot you will lose it. I stepped over, between, and around people and no one seemed to mind.

Our agency in-country facilitator was waiting for us as soon as we picked up our luggage and she had two cars waiting to take us back to the hotel. We arrived at the Silk Road hotel at 4:00 in the morning. Thankfully we thought to pack some snacks in our luggage and had pretzels, chex mix and vitamin water as soon as we were able to unload. In total (on all three flights) I drank 3 cups of pepsi and ate a cup of rice, two pieces of bread, a small bag of lemon cookies, and a tiny bag of pretzels, so our snacks are definitely coming in handy. It is now 6:45 a.m. and our group is going to the local shopping center tomorrow at 11:00 to get whatever things we may have forgotten to pack and a whole lot of bottled water.

Oh – and Jerret wants me to tell you all two things: 1) the Ohio State basketball game is on live in our room, and 2) I knocked over a plant as soon as we entered our room and spilled a pile of dirt all over the floor. I cleaned it up as best as I could, but it is still deep in the fibers of the carpet. And there is some unidentifiable object under one of the chairs in the room. It looks like a mushroom to me, but I won’t get close enough for confirmation.

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