The alarm goes off at 7:30 and the young lady arrives to clean our room and change the linens just before 8. She is interrupted once to serve breakfast for other guests but completes her tasks just after 9. Alli and I decide to take a walk to the river. It's a beautiful morning: not a cloud to mar a brilliant blue sky, warm sunshine and a cool, gentle breeze. At the river, we walk to the "resort area" on the other side of the water: It appears to have lodging, a restaurant and a private beach. We also see a number of folks fishing, including two in a small paddled craft: maybe a raft or a dingy. In addition, we see sheep grazing near the water and cattle nearby. Finally, we see a woman Alli & Beth had seen on Friday: The woman has a mature goat and two babies, all pure white, and she "walks" them along the river, not with a leash or any other apparent restraint but, apparently, just by talking to them - and they follow!
On the way back to the hotel, we decide to swing by the pastry shop. Along the way we run into Bob & Beth doing some videotaping in the park. From a distance, it appears he's doing a documentary on pretty women in short skirts - no shortage of either here, by the way -but he assures me he's interested in capturing native flora and fauna. Like I said, pretty women in short skirts.... We leave them to their "work" and find some nice apple cake to take back to the room. We return to the hotel @ 11, have breakfast, shower and dress and pack our backpack for the walk to the baby home.
It's much warmer on the walk, too warm for the kids to be outside. I find Aidan standing in the playpen; Alli
finds Molly finished eating but in need of changing. We convene in the marble room and everybody's in good moods today. Cate & Daniel join us briefly. Molly's pretty much back to herself, playing and gabbing, and she does a little more crawling, some prompted by us, some at her own direction. Aidan is active and playful and visits at different times with Bob, Nicholas, Beth, Daniel and Molly as well as us. We enjoy when both kids play without our involvement, whether that means by themselves, with others or with each other. The kids have learned to entertain themselves here and to play with or, at the very least, in the presence of other kids. We want to encourage the latter & believe it will be important for Molly and Aidan to bond with one another in the same way it has been important for them to bond with us.
We take a different route for our walk home: We leave the baby home entrance and turn right, going a "back way," if you will and winding up near the "Spinach Tea Place." (Along the way, Alli and Beth show us a short-cut Dana had shown them on their walk home last night: It cuts the corner from The Navigator to the Kazakh- French Cultural Center and saves about five minutes each way when walking Dana home from the area of our hotel!) When we reach the park, Alli goes back to the hotel for a nap and I continue to the Internet Cafe to read and respond to e-mail. Alli's sound asleep when I get back to the room. After she wakes, we have a few minutes to relax before Dana arrives for dinner.
We return to the Art Cafe and sit outside. It's warm, but we find some shade and enjoy what breeze there is. They offer a beer on tap of which we've never heard and a variety of bottled beers we've tried and like. I ask several times if the bottled beer is cold and am assured each time it is. It isn't: The beer is warm but it's served with a frosted mug. We go for - and enjoy - the draft selection for round two. It's cold AND served in a frosted mug! Otherwise, we enjoy a nice meal & some pretty good dance music while eating. In addition, there is a Kazakh wedding reception inside, and when our music is between songs, we can hear snippets of wedding songs and karaoke.
NOTE: Friday and Saturday are wedding days here. It is common to see several wedding parties in the park at the same time having pictures taken. Wedding parties are generally very small: the bride and groom and one attendant each. Today, we see a beautiful young bride on the arm of a man we assume must be her father. Dana corrects us and points out the older man is her new husband: We estimate he might be 20 or 25 years older than she, but Dana says such arrangements are common.
After walking Dana home, we stop in the Gros for a few bathroom supplies (soap and TP) and a bag of cookies for movie night. Tonight's feature: "Face Off" with John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. The movie ends after 11:30 and we hit the sack without further delay.