Saturday, April 18, 2009

Downtown Vladivostok

I have met some wonderful people during my adoption journey. On the first trip, I met Steve and Sharon and continue to stay in contact with them. They just recently brought their daughter home from Russia. On this trip, currently there are 6 families in the hotel including myself. As you can imagine, the days get long here. We have begun to get to know each other, share information and spend time together. Today, some of us decided to take the train into downtown Vladivostok. It was a fun day of adventure.

The front desk wrote out the information for us to show the train station for our tickets and we walked down to the tracks to catch the train. It was a nice ride along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Again, we saw the poverty of the area. The teenagers and some adults have a fun time riding for free, getting off before they are asked to show tickets and running to the car ahead before the train begins to depart again. It was amusing to watch. When we reached our stop and headed to the downtown department store, we were happy to come across a farmer’s market. It was a great experience! We bought some food items and walked around among the vendors. After, we headed towards the department store, went into some children's stores and decided to find a place for lunch. Our adventure included; Heather and Justin who are from Illinois, Amy and her dad, Randy, who are from North Carolina, and mom and me. Heather and Justin had been downtown on their first visit, so they were the leaders of our expedition. They led us to a nice restaurant that had a menu in English. After lunch, which was actually about 4:00 pm, we headed back to the train for the ride to the hotel.

Justin, Heather, Me, Amy and Randy

It was nice to get out and do something, as we are very limited here without knowing the language or having a car. Honestly, I would not even attempt to drive here…Yikes! It’s crazy enough just being driven around by our driver for legal stuff and visits to the orphanage. We won’t see Victoria again until Monday. We will go early Monday morning. Tomorrow, which is Sunday, is Orthodox Easter here in Russia. We are all hoping there will be some festivities here at the hotel or down by the shore.