Link to 11/19 Photos
11-19-2004 Journal
Link to 11/18 Journal
Link to 11/20 Journal
We woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across our heads...wait a second, Dad does not have any hair!  I hope
you two recognize those words from a great Beatles album called Sgt. Peppers...growing up with us you will definitely
have heard it a few times.

But seriously we did wake up today...EARLY!  It was however easy due to the fact that we were so excited because
today was the day we were going to meet the two of you for the first time.  
Sasha picked us up at 5:45 A.M., took us to
the airport and dropped us off for our 3 hour flight to Uralsk.  The flight was on Kazakhstan's only domestic airline and
when we checked in we were informed that the total weight of the luggage we were carrying was too heavy and we
would have to pay an extra fee of $270...unless of course we were willing to pay in cash and then it was only $100.   
Of course said cash disbursement was made in the restroom (see the
Solomon Toilet)..this was the only shake down
we have encountered and it actually saved us money...the flight was only about 1/3 full so we do not think we
burdened the airline too much and maybe helped their employee morale a bit.  The Stewardesses on the flight were
beautiful Kazakh women just like the two of you will grow up to be...in fact, it seems that all the young Eurasian women
here are gorgeous.

When we got to Uralsk we had to deplane directly onto the tarmac and walk about 200 yards to the terminal.  We felt
like the Donner Party trekking across the tarmac...the wind was blowing the icy snow sideways stinging the side of our
faces as we dragged our carry on luggage through drifts of snow...talk about dramatic effect!

Our drive to the hotel revealed a winter struck small city with old and mostly worn out post modern buildings with that
gray pallor winter days have a way of casting...all dramatic effect for the story of how we sojourned across the globe,
weathered the elements and plucked you two out of a gray and dilapidated city and then brought you to sunny,
progressive and beautiful San Francisco...I am of course propagandizing a bit and we hope you like fog).

I have touched on our luggage a bit but let me go into a little detail here.  We have 4 massive bags that are bulky and
weigh 70 pounds each.  In addition, we have two bulky carry-ons that weigh a good 30 pounds each.  The only way to
get these bags moved is for your Rooster Dad to work himself up into a furious fit of anger at your Penny Little "the
sky is falling so I better over pack" Mother and then sacrifice his aging body for the good of his new hen house (that's
you two and your mother)...or of course get the drivers and hotel workers to do it for him and just tip really well.

When we got to the hotel the JAP (that means Jewish American Princess or in your Mom's case Japanese American
Princess which I have learned is the same difference) alarm started going off... first Yellow alert and by the time we
lugged all are bags up the stairs (the elevator was broken), down the hall and into the hotel room was at def com 8
double flashing Red alert.  At this point in time it was clear Mom was not going to tolerate the sub-standard
accommodations and our driver and interpreter were gone.  We decided to catch a taxi to survey the two best hotels
in town.  After a Michelin Travel Guide Writer's like investigation and heated negotiations over room rates, we
convinced the Chagala Hotel to reduce their deluxe suite rate by 2/3 and throw in breakfast.  Dad then got to go and
finish his workout for that day by going to retrieve our luggage (two trips) and negotiate a cash refund from the dated
hotel that did not have a restaurant, internet connectivity or a shower (just a bath).  The hotel was also under
construction which in turn produced the perfunctory intolerable cacophony and dust that accompanies work sites.

After we settled in it was time to go visit you two for the first time.  We got to the baby house and were ushered
upstairs to meet with the Baby House director who in a very official manner interviewed us for the purpose of
qualifying our qualifications as suitable adoptive parents and then proceeded in explaining your medical histories...all
through an interpreter.

When we finished that meeting we were taken to another room where we were almost immediately united with Iris
Alphia and Rose Fatima (the two of you)!  This was the biggest moment of our lives and we were caught off
guard...Dad had the video camera going but when we reviewed the footage later the camera was all over the place
and only on for about 15 seconds.  Iris Alphia immediately started to express her cranky nature by clenching her two
little fists and wailing in protest of the two pathetic goggling strangers who now had control of her physical being.  
Rose Fatima was not elated per say but was definitely maintaining her cool.  The visit abruptly ended before we could
do much chronicling but there will be much more to come...