Flights- To Sleep or Not To Sleep
The flights were uneventful really. They were long and boring. We did not sleep very much. We hoped for some good movies but they were nothing exciting. At least they had good orange juice that seemed to appear just when we needed it. The first flight took us to Frankfurt, Germany. We had a short layover there. We even ate a McDonald’s at the airport. The menu was a little different from normal. They had ham and cheese croissants, country McGriddles (which was a sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle), McToast with Bacon (except it was not toast but rather some sort of pita bread) and there is no such thing as diet Coke.. it is Coca- Cola Light. We did meet our traveling companions in Frankfurt, the Duncans. They flew into Frankfurt from New York. They are traveling with their seven year old daughter.
Second flight was just about the same as the first. It was long and boring with at least one good movie ( Australia).That was pretty much the only thing that was exciting. The flight was very boring put it got us and our luggage there safely. We did see several snow covered mountains from the window of the plane. We guessed that it was Russia that we were seeing. Wherever it was, there was totally snow and ice on the ground.
We landed in Almaty at around midnight. We were greeted by Kaz soldiers as we got off the plane. I should not say greeted as they do not speak or smile or anything. We made it into the concourse and ready to go through passport control. There was a great sign that said “Welcome to Almaty” so I decided to take a picture. Well, I guess that I was not supposed to take pictures. I quickly was told by a female soldier “No Pictures”. I quickly put up my camera. I didn’t want to land in a Kaz jail. We made it through passport control with no issues. We then picked up our baggage. It all made it….Yeah !!
We were not sure on how to find our driver, Adil but we were pleasantly surprised that he actually had a sign with our name on it. We all secretly wanted a sign to greet us. Since there were two families, they brought two small cars. Since we had so many bags, we had to put one suitcase in the back seat with Madalyn and myself.
It turns out that the day before we arrived was Kaz New Year so the city was still decorated very similar to how we decorate for Christmas with colored lights and so on. The city was very big and modern from what we could see at night. We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Kazakhstan. It was beautiful outside and the lobby was gorgeous. We thought that we would be staying in a great room with fancy accommodations. Well………………..we were sorely mistaken. They took us to a room which was had a hole in the door near the lock. The walls had cracks and crevices in it. We were only given one small full size bed for all three of us. The bathroom was small, old and dirty looking. I am not sure if it was actually dirty or just old. It was also very hot in the room but luckily we had a stand up fan that we could turn on to make us cooler. We tried to get a little sleep laying on top of the covers. I could not sleep due to excitement, worry, and lack of adequate accommodations. The highlight of this leg of the journey was that we were able to Skype with my mom. It was midnight her time but we just happened to find her online. It was good for both of us to hear each other’s voice. When we awoke to light in Almaty, we were greeted with beautiful snow capped mountains out our window. I have posted a picture for you to see what we saw. We took a walk around a nearby park as we waited for our driver to come back to take us to the airport for our final trip to Karaganda. We decided that we would try to eat some food. Brian and I had a steak which was served with some type of potato fritter. It was very good.
Then we were off to the airport. This time we did not have to go through passport control. The other family traveling with us got a little detained as they could not find the little white pieces of paper that they gave us when we arrived at passport control. For those of you who are planning to travel, that piece of paper is extremely important. Keep it in your passport. They found theirs and all was well.
The dreaded overweight charges that we were prepared to pay…..nothing at all. I am not sure if the flight was not full so they did not charge us or if they have made changes. Nevertheless, no overage charges. We waited in the holding area until they called our gate. Being the kind of person that I am, I of course, had to ask to make sure that we did not need to proceed to where it said our gate. Of course I didn’t want to be late (I am my Father’s child)I was told to wait.
Then we proceeded to our gate which took us to a little bus that took us to our plane. The plane ride was short and nothing compared to other fights that we had previously taken. The flight was quick.