....is our 2nd home. 3 hours on Monday. 3 hours yesterday. Almost at 3 hours today. At least we are getting out of the apartment!
I have to give Ruslan credit, he has been great since he let me have it. Everything I say registers with him. Almost always he immediately refuses to do as I ask but it almost like a routine where he will do it when i turn my back.
Saturday after everything happened and the internet cafe I received a call from Tamara and Nikolai, our friends from the last trip. They came and picked us up and the plan was to go for pizza (or so I thought). They drove us out to "Stone Grave" (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/18496941) and told us all about it. Ruslan had a blast and spent an hour climbing all over the site. Afterwards we went to gorky park to meet their 1 yr old daughter who was there with Tamara's mom. We spent a better part of an hour looking for the 2 squirrels that inhabit gorky park (really? 2 squirrels?). Not surprising that we did not see them since the park is about 2 square miles big! They dropped us off at home soon after at which point we scrambled to find something to eat since we did not go for dinner.
Yesterday Henry picked us up and we went for the sports equipment. The selection wasn't great but we bought some good sports equipment and games. I have a few extra dollars remaining so I bought a bunch or socks for the boys and hair accessories for the girls.
We arrived at the orphanage and it looked like a ghost town. Within minutes the parking lot was buzzing with kids who were excited about their new equipment. After a few group shots with about 50 kids (I was told that the orphanage currently has 110 kids) Valerie ushered me into his office and said sit. Henry came following a few minutes later which was great because the two of them were able to talk for the next 2 hours. Valerie ordered the 3 of us a filling lunch of boiled chicken legs, mashed potatoes, and beet salad. The chaser was homemade wine, lesser of all evils (I adamantlt declined any alcohol, but after refusing cognac, vodka, and beer Valerie finally talked me into his wine). It was a nice lunch, Valerie has been one of most hospitable people I have ever met. I think he really does good by the kids at Nova Nikolaiev.
I spent the last half hour with Ruslan and his friends watching them skateboard andthen the final goodbyes. It was very anticlimactic. Ruslan just gave a few handshakes and a few hugs and we were off.
Henry droppped us off and had plenty to say when I gave him a platform on the video camera. I swear it was a 10 minute monologue! When I called him for a ride I was reading for whatever price he threw at me, it would just be nice to say bye and thank. Henry only charged half his normal rate which was a nice gesture.
Like I was saying we have filled the rest of our time with the internet cafe and television with a few breaks to eat. Ruslan is happy. I am happy, nothing to complain about.
We were hoping to travel to Zaparozhe today but it did not happen. Looks like tomorrow we will travel there which means we will have to travel home next week. What's a few extra days at this point?