Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 56 - Almaty Zoo

Today was a simply beautiful Sunday - temps in the 50's or maybe even 60's, blue skies, and warm sunshine on our faces (something I haven't felt in a long time!). On such a lovely day, an outing to the park was definitely in order.

Our apartment building is situated between two of the city's largest parks, which is awesome. Here's a picture of the outside of our building. Today we walked to the Central Park, which isn't exactly central in the city... but I digress.

The park will be absolutely beautiful in a couple of weeks, but today it was obviously still in winter clean up mode as the last patches of snow melted away. We enjoyed watching the city workers sweeping up the winter's debris with their gigantic twig brooms. Ok, Mommy enjoyed watching the sweeping because she's obsessed with the brooms in Kazakhstan. I'm not sure that any other member of the Morningstar family really cared.

The fun fair and park vendors were just gearing up for the year and Ben was in heaven because a) it was allowance day and b) they were selling cotton candy, popcorn in Technicolor shades, and Coca Cola. Needless to say, he returned back to the apartment this afternoon with only 20 tengue remaining of his original 750.

Thankfully, we only stopped for one ride in the fun fair, the giant slide! It's amazing how much self control children can muster when they have to pay for rides themselves :) I think they chose very wisely, the slide was really cool, way taller than the one we usually have for Orem Summerfest, and only cost 70 tengue (less than 50 cents).

The next stop was the Almaty Zoo, conveniently located just on the far side of the Central Park. I had to snap a photo of the boys "mountain climbing" up the zoo's entrance - we saw ramps like these all over Karaganda and now in Almaty as well and Oxana confirmed our suspicions that they're wheelchair ramps! Wow, I pity the person who pushes a wheelchair up those ramps, and anybody going down is in for a wild ride!

We had a lovely afternoon at the zoo. The boys confirmed our suspicions that their favorite "exhibit" was the playground, which we had to visit both on our way in and before heading back to the apartment.

They were thrilled to find both a merry go round and a see saw, both of which are sadly hard to find in the States. After watching the boys play together on them, it was immediately apparent why - who knew whomping your brother to the ground over and over on the see saw could be such fun?!?

My favorite part of the zoo was Ben's llama ride! He is officially the only person I know who has ridden a llama and at the end of the ride he proudly proclaimed, "I rode one of those things in The Emperor's New Groove!"

Ben also took a ride on one of the biggest horses I have ever seen. The kid sure makes me proud of his adventurous spirit - as soon as he saw that horse, he just new that he had to ride it!

I'm pretty sure that Steve's favorite part was watching this kid poach a ride with his rollerblades. There were several kids rollerblading through the zoo and it seemed like a great way to get around... I kinda wished that I had blades on myself.

And Sasha's favorite part of the zoo? It had to be her apple juice box. She can't actually suck through the straw (it's one of the casualties of not having a dividing line between your mouth and nose, you can't create suction), but she was more than happy to chew on the straw while we squeezed the juice box. Between the juice and the box of biscuits we bought to snack on (which tasted oddly like those cookies at McDonald's), she was one happy girl.

Here are a few more fun photos from our day:
Papa takes a turn being Sasha's pack mule
We're pretty sure that these translate to "Warning - Tigers and Owls can kill! They are easily angered by tank tops and short shorts so arm yourself well"
Is it just me, or is something watching me?
Loving the Ergocarrier!


Jennifer M said...

Oh so sweet! I missed the weekend posts (catching up now), and can't believe you're in Almaty already!

You guys do the coolest things! I love the memories you will all have.

marymary said...

OK, I love how Sasha's "Juicy" box works like a caption. She is juicy.

The Fox Den said...

It's amazing... just from your blog and seeing S. with all of you I now can't remember the Morningstar's without her! What a blessing!

Susan said...

I have been following your blog-but not commenting, which I guess is really rude "blog etiquette" so I apologize! :)

We came home Oct 21st with our Kazakh princess, from Kostanai, after an 11 week and 3 day stint in Kazakhstan. Kostanai has a precourt date, which was a week and a half after bonding, then we had to wait 3 weeks for our court date. We did love our stay in Kaz though, and I really do miss it!
We have an ergo JUST LIKE YOURS (SAME COLOR and everything!) and I love THAT THING! Our daughter is 18 months and I use it for any trip to the mall or the grocery store and it saved my life in Kaz, and on the looong trip home.
Sasha is just precious and it warms my heart to see another "perfect fit" into a family.

congrats on almost being done and home! Leeza did not like her SOS appt either-ONE BIT. The doctor said "she cries with no tears"...yeah, cuz she did NOT like it! :)

Congrats again and your blog has been so wonderful to follow-always so positive and full of love. :)
I am sorry I am just now commenting. :)


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