Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bazaar shopping haul

Here are a few pics I forgot to share last night. I am only sharing the stuff for us and our kids -- no sneak peeks for people back home haha. 

Doll for Marie, Kyrgyz horse riders (one boy and one girl) for both kids, two Kyrgyz hats for Frankie (one to fit now and one for when he is older), two Kyrgyzstan flags so each child can have one, a leather purse for me, a toy horse for Frankie, a wooden yurt magnet for the fridge, a yurt themed nesting doll set for Frankie (Marie gets classic nesting dolls from Russia), a Russian Olympic figure skating pin from 1976 for me, a Kyrgyz chess set for Papa Beast and the kids (comes with checkers pieces and a carrying strap), and a Tatar hat for Marie. 

Even the inside of the chess set is so pretty. 

Saturday and Sunday in Bishkek -- Kyrgyz Independence Day

Yay!  With this post I will be all caught up with the blog.  :)

Then I just need to (finally) get stamps for the Russian postcards.  Yes, some lucky people will be getting Moscow postcards with Kyrgyz stamps and postmarks.  (The Moscow post office was too far out of the way, with working hours that were too short -- and stamps are only sold at the post office, not in tourist shops.  Silly me for thinking the whole world is like Italy and the United States.)

Our head rest cover on the way from Moscow to Bishkek was awesome -- Aeroflot is proud to be a sponsor of the recent Sochi Olympics.  We saw lots of Sochi stuff in Russia, though they were sold out of the mascot toys in GUM.

Manas International Airport, formerly Frunze (after a WWII general who was born in Bishkek -- Bishkek was named Frunze for a long time and the routing code is still FRU).  Manas is a legendary character in Kyrgyz epic poetry.

Seal of Kyrgyzstan on the airport wall.  Why yes, I was taking photos while waiting in the immigration line...

The outside of the airport.

We met our wonderful representative here Saturday night.  She treated us out to dinner in one of the nicest restaurants in Bishkek.  Here's their take on Russian Olivye salad.

Veal steak and potatoes.  So yummy.

It was wonderful to share a dinner with our representative and get to know her before we need to start dealing with the real business part of our trip.  She is a very, very kind, warm-hearted person.  She told us that she saw our kids, and they are doing well.  Frankie is cheerful and friendly as always.  Our little Marie is very happy and excited, and keeps wanting to put on her best dress to meet her Mama and Papa.  I teared up in the hotel lobby hearing that, in front of our representative whom I'd just met a minute before.

By the end of the evening, she had invited us to the mountains and to the celebration in Bishkek for Independence Day on Sunday.

This is the view from the landing where we wait for the elevator in our hotel.

Our hotel's beautiful lobby and bar.

Sunday was Kyrgyz Independence Day.  The crowds gathered in the square by the State Historical Museum and the statue of Manas.

In the center of Bishkek, in front of the State Historical Museum.  We hope to visit the museum later this week -- maybe Tuesday or Wednesday (they are closed Mondays, and there was a big crowd for Independence Day).

A poster for Independence Day.  It says 31 August.

I love the carpet style decorations on the front of the building.

The President of Kyrgyzstan made a speech.  Yes, the actual president.  It was quite amazing to think that we had been in Kyrgyzstan less than 24 hours and here we were seeing the President, even from afar.  His presence did explain why we they searched our purses on the way in.

After the celebration in the square, we went to the big Bazaar to buy souvenirs for our kids and also for family members back in the US.

This lady has a lovely booth with many Kyrgyz souvenirs.  We wound up with a nice bulk discount from her.  :P

This is the Bishkek Opera House, just a few doors down from our hotel.

TSUM, pronounced like "zoom" is a big mall with lots of little booths, each with its own vendor.  The prices are more for Kyrgyz folk art, but they have Russian and Soviet stuff that the other shops don't.

We went to have Kyrgyz food for Independence Day.  This lamp was so pretty.

Lagman, a very popular noodle dish here.  Nothing like Chinese or Italian noodles at all.

Juice, Pelmeni, sour cream, and a tomato and red pepper something or other.

Plov (a rice dish) and Kyrgyz bread.

After lunch we went into the mountains.  Here's the sign at the front of the park.

Real, live yurts!

Inside a yurt.

The top of the yurt's ceiling inspired the design on the flag of Kyrgyzstan.

Mountains and trees.

China is on the other side of these mountains.

A river of melted snow.  I hear it's very cold.

More mountains.

A nice view of the river.

A shed snake skin.

Here's as far as we got, really -- it got cold as the sun went down, and I hate to admit it but I don't have full stamina from the Typhoid pill incident in June.  I get better all the time, but the altitude made it more difficult.

Here's an outhouse.  :)

Kyrgyz horses.

For dinner we went to have more Kyrgyz food -- Shashlik, which is like a Kabob.  It's very good and is served with raw onions.

Papa Beast is gonna get that Shashlik and show it who is boss!

Moscow -- as a day trip.

Okay, so the blog control panel is back in English, which is AWESOME.  I was able to figure out where it had the place to change languages, and I feel like I deserve a gold star.  :P

I'm so glad we decided to get visas for Russia so we could go into the city of Moscow and see the sights.  It's such a wonderful place, with so many beautiful historical things to see and places to go.  Our guide was a dear friend of a dear friend of mine (and now a dear friend of ours herself), and she was so wonderful and really helped us see all the amazing things in her city.

We rode the express train from the SVO airport to the center of Moscow, where Anna met us.  She took us via Metro to the Kremlin and all around Moscow, really.  It was a lot to do in one day, but it was really worth it.

People touch the nose of this soldier's dog for luck.  We touched it and had a fantastic day -- I don't know if it was luck or if it was just that Russia is such a wonderful place to visit.

We got to see the outside of the Bolshoi theater.  Some day I would love to come back with enough time to see a ballet here.

The geographic center of Moscow.

We got to see the changing of the guard at the war memorial.  They call WWII the Great Patriotic War.

Kremlin walls.  We also went inside the Kremlin armory to see the Faberge eggs and other treasures.  Photos aren't allowed inside, so we bought postcards for our scrapbook (and some to send when we get to Bishkek).

With Anna, our wonderful new friend, at the Kremlin walls.  Words can't say how much of a blessing she has been to us.

Inside the church near Anna's apartment -- saying a prayer that everything will go well with the rest of our trip and our adoption.  :)

Such a pretty church!

The outside of the church.

More socialist realism in the Metro.  They have a really interesting perspective.  The other mosaics in this station are airplanes, etc -- everything is about appearing as if the subject is looking down a hole at the people passing by.

Enjoying Russian ice cream with Anna.

GUM -- pronounced like "goo" with an "m" on the end -- the most exclusive shopping in Moscow.  It is very beautiful and historic, dating back before the Russian Revolution.

Saint Basil's reflected in GUM -- as close as we could get on this side of Red Square.

St. Basil's.  NOT the Kremlin.  :P

With Papa Beast at St. Basil's -- it was the back side because we couldn't get near the front due to a concert in Red Square.

GUM lit up at night.

The inside of GUM.

The wonderful spread of salads and other goodies at dinner.  :)

It was so hard to leave, really, and I would love to go back to Russia and spend much more time there.  Hopefully, I will learn more Russian soon.  :)