Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bonding Day 8

So we’re on bonding day 8 of 14 and the baby is doing well. He wasn’t quite as playful and energetic today. We’re thinking his teeth may be bothering him. He was chewing on his fingers and his gums are inflamed. Honestly we didn’t mind because he very happy to be held and then rocked to sleep. Also today we got the results of the blood work we ordered and all the results are negative.

Here’s an interesting fact for all… the babies here don’t wear diapers. Not just the ones in the orphanage but most young children. The obvious first question is ‘what do they do when the baby goes potty?’ --- they just wash the clothes. (Perhaps this is why they put 4 layers on them). We’ve been told they start putting the children on the potty every 3 hours starting at 6 months old. At that age it’s all about timing, but the children are sometimes completely potty trained (asking to go) before they are 2. Diapers are expensive; a pack to 64 diapers is over $25, with the average income being approximately $400 per month. On our second visit the Baby House Director asked us to bring diapers, so now when they bring in our son he thankfully has on a diaper.

We haven’t experienced much “sticker shock”. The prices of most items we’re buying are reasonably priced. Our dinner tonight was $9.00 and it was great. A bottle of water is 50 cents, a .5 liter of beer is $1.00, and a pack of cigarettes is $1.00 (perhaps we should start the habit while we are here?). We did buy a baby toy at the Mall toy store and it was $30, which is outrageous. It’s a $10 toy at home. I did hear that pair of Levi’s Jeans are $125 dollars.

The hotel is the only place that accepts US dollars, therefore we must exchange for Tenge. There are currency exchange places on every street corner it seems. The dollar is weak; we’re getting 120 Tenge for 1 dollar. The hotel said they accept Visa but the machine was “broken” when we checked in. The visa machine was also “broken” at the only restaurant we ask to us it--- meaning don’t count on using your Visa card when coming to Shymkent.

Update on the laundry situation: The hotel service was fine, I don’t know the cost of it but our clothes are clean and wearable. They don’t use Downey that’s for sure! They picked up our clothes from our room and brought them back the next day. Good thing, I was thinking it’s going to be hard to wash jeans in the bathroom sink and use 'the pipes'. In the bathroom there are exposed hot water pipes to hang your clothes for drying. I brought a small bottle of laundry soap and I wash the smaller articles. It’s actually kind of convenient.

We’re off to breakfast. We haven’t talked much about Breakfast because there is nothing exciting to say about it. It's free with our room so we go every morning to eat the same thing. I usually eat oatmeal type food with raisens and Jesse eats eggs and the hotdog/sauage. Blah Blah Blah. Did I mention it's free?