May 10. 2005
National Hangover Day...sunny and very warm
We're awake (sort of), showered (sort of) and dressed by 9:30am. We go down to the second floor and cash in our free breakfast tickets. It's a buffet style set up, offering oatmeal, hot dogs (yep...hot dogs), ham and cheese, fruit, cold bread, cold toast, jam, cereal (looks like bran flakes and granola) and room temperature yogurt. I have a hot dog with a side of bread and butter.
After we eat, we go down and collect our newly registered passports. We also pay for our room. You pay for hotel rooms ahead of time in Russia, even when paying by credit card. We think we've paid for the entire stay, but we're not sure. Next we head out to the city.
It's very quiet and devoid of the masses. We know it's some sort of holiday following the holiday (think Friday after Thanksgiving) and nickname it National Hang Over Day judging by the amount of discarded and broken alcohol bottles littering the streets. We visit our grocery store first, the one where we spent so much time and rubles on our first trip. It hasn't changed. We buy a few staples (hindered by our lack of refrigerator and microwave). At the movie theatre there's an advertisement for Kingdom of Heaven so I stop and take a picture to show Heather as we’ve been rather obsessed with this film and Orlando Bloom. Next we go to the kiosk and pick up some phone cards. The Kiosk lady has some difficulty understanding what Wendy wants but it all works out at the end. Wendy stops and gets some bananas from a fruit stand and then we go back to the hotel, exhausted and ready for bed. We've been up for two whole hours...it must be time for a nap.
So we sleep and read and watch trippy Russian cartoons. Wendy calls Omar and I call Joe and then we both call Kelli Lane. Wendy does the talking. Wendy also drags me out of bed at 5:30pm and we go for a walk.
It's hot, damn hot, but that doesn't seem to register with anyone because they're all dressed like it's forty degrees cooler than it actually is. In an effort to blend in more, we wear our fleece. We walk down to the big Lenin statue. Every time we pass a restaurant, Wendy looks at it longingly and we lament our inability to order anything. I lose the fleece because I'm absolutely melting and the lack of a beer can in my hand makes it pretty obvious that I'm from out of town anyway so why bother with the melting? We try to go to the grocery store a second time for something for dinner but it's closed early for National Hang Over Day so we return to our room to eat peanut butter sandwiches.
There's a message waiting for us at the front desk. It's from Katya and we're leaving for Serov at 5am the next morning. On our way to the room, we also meet the other two adopting families staying in the hotel. One carried documents for Wendy. We carried documents for them. Everyone thanks everyone else and we go upstairs and go to bed early.