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Just some random notes this morning
There's a real stray dog problem in Russian cities; or, at least Moscow and Astrakhan. A lot of people even apparently let their dogs run loose. They're almost all large dogs. The small ones don't survive.
There's a real "man purse" problem, too. Many men have what amounts to a small purse that they carry by hand, not over the shoulder. People probably thought that's what my camera bag was when I was carrying it through airports.
We were watching television last night, even though there's absolutely nothing in English. Well, that's not quite accurate. There was a CSI rerun, but it was voiced-over in Russian. I wonder why they use dubbing instead of subtitles. I could almost watch and hear it normally, ignoring the subtitles, if they used them. Maybe they don't use subtitles because they don't want to assume that their audience is literate? I'm not saying that they are illiterate, I'm just guessing that the television stations think they are.
The entire town of Astrakhan is apparently under construction. We thought it was in preparation for next year's 150th anniversary of the city's founding, but apparently they're preparing now for the 450th anniversary that takes place in six years. Next year's is "only" the 444th anniversary.
Anyway, the Ministry of Education was under construction; to the point that their office inside the building was not even marked, adding just that much more to our experience. Our hotel is under construction, with scaffolding partially blocking our otherwise nice view of the Volga river. If you turn left coming out of the hotel and walk that way, even the riverfront is under construction though mostly finished. They haven't finished much of the riverfront in front of the hotel yet, but the rock breaker is out there on the levee every morning making sure that no one sleeps in. If you turn right coming out of the hotel and go less than a block, you're immediately in the slums. There are some scary and depressing neighborhoods between us and "downtown" Astrakhan, but that's like any big city.
Everyone stares at everyone here. It's not a stare-down. It's just that when they look at you, they're actually looking at you. But only for a second or two. It reminds me of L.A. where everyone checks everyone else out without being creepy or obnoxious. Of course, here in Russia, when they hear us or our interpreter speaking English, they look and listen.
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Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, Russian Adoption: From Nashville to Astrakhan and Back (PDF). And here is the fictionalized, future "homeland tour" (action adventure) version in various forms: on Kindle, various electronic formats, and in paperback.
This time next week.... Preparation The day before Travel day In the air We're in Moscow Moscow Check out time We're in Astrakhan It's only Monday? What a day... Tuesday (2007-10-02) It's a girl! It's a girl! Wednesday Thursday Great visit Sights of Astrakhan Another great visit Last visit for a while Atlanta! We're home! (10/06) Round two Skora mweh tam boojum Internet access Elizabeth's room Mweh yeddum v aeroport eta ootra In the air again Back in Moscow (11/26) Tuesday (2007-11-26) Back in Astrakhan Russian adoption consultant Comments welcome Showtime! And the judge says...... Success! The day after Saturday morning Much better visit today Beet salad Went for a walk ... Its going to be a good week She's warming up to us Light at the end of the tunnel Picture of us before court More pictures She's ours! The first hours of parenthood Bowel movement Sleep, what a concept Update Nothing much to update about 51-1/2 hours Just another week to go Pictures of our life in Astrakhan Back in Moscow (12/18) Moscow update continued Update to the update's update To the embassy Can't leave early Still in Moscow Riding the Metro Riding the Metro, part deux We're home! (12/23) A few pictures Airport arrival Stay tuned More pics Summary Doctors say she's normal Adoption video Holmes Russian adoption videos Adoption videos updated Our Russian adoption story