February 20th - Day 10: Ice skating and billiards

I confess ... we're behind on our journal entries for our website so I'm going to keep it simple today and just share a few highlights.  (Dave will love me for this!)

We invited Aliya to go to lunch with us (at Anton Della next to Kaz Telecom) and tried / experimented with some different foods.  I asked the waiter what they had without meat and he looked at me like I was from outer space.  I decided on some soup that had some meat on top (which I could scrape off) and then he proceeded to ask if any of us wanted a salad, some of which had no meat.  Go figure, and we even had a translator!  We had a kind of cole slaw first, followed by meat on a skillet topped with onions, I think, for the men - they loved it.  And, the soup was quite good; I even ate some of the meat (gasp)! 

The highlight of the day was going skating at an indoor rink.  It was the closest to a familiar, American experience that we've had since we've been here.  For one thing, there were lots of kids, which we never seem to see enough of and the rink was not unlike the ones in Skaneateles, complete with bleachers and a Zamboni (sp?).  The skates were a trip - plastic ones with the tongue cut out, but they were fine for the half hour that we were there.  I was a little nervous about Sierra falling and hitting her head; there's no reason that she would, it's just that I've gotten used to her always wearing a helmet when she skates at home!  It was such a joy to see her enjoy herself and check out the other kids.  She has been such a good sport about all our visits to the baby house and lack of opportunities to do more kid-oriented activities.  We're really grateful to Olga and Masha for arranging for us to do some Sierra-focused events like the park and skating this weekend.  Thank you!  

We went to dinner at the Golden Cat (a Chinese restaurant) with the Andrews tonight.  The guys had pork kabobs, Eileen had a fish kabob, I had side dishes, and Sierra had a little bit of everything.  It was pretty good.  After dinner, Robin and Dave went to a casino and ended up playing billiards.  Russian billiards is very different. The table is much larger, the balls are larger and the pocket holes are smaller. Robin and Dave spent over an hour trying to get the big balls into the little pockets on the way too big table. That was enough excitement for the evening. 

            

                    A nifty way to lug heavy items                                        Our apartment building is the one on the left

       

Door to Emil's Group (#2); wording on door means "hope"