Saturday, March 30, 2013

Karaganda - More Shopping and More Doctors, But No Baby

 Tuesday, 26 March

My friend's sister's release date from the hospital was delayed once more; we were unsure when she would finally be free to go, and we both had work to do in Astana, so we booked our return tickets for Wednesday at 12:30, after the final eye doctor appointment.  In the end, she was released Wednesday at 4 pm, so we just missed her!

We had a slow morning and after a fast food lunch at City Mall, we went to the dentist for my friend's daughter's appointment.  I went along because I was curious; Sophia went along because her other option was shopping with me.

This dentist place is different from many in Kazakshtan because it is a stand-alone dentist building, not connected to a hospital. The majority of dentist offices in Kazakhstan are in a hospital. As we were sitting in the waiting room, my friend commented on how it was different from most hospitals but it took some explaining for me to understand what was different. We had a pre-scheduled appointment, we signed in, and we waited. That was quite unusual! In most hospitals, you go to whatever room you need to go to, and wait outside with a crowd of other people waiting to get in.

The place smelled very much of a hospital, not the sanitized bleach smell, but rather the latex/plastic smell of gloves and hats.

We were called on time and went to another waiting room. My friend's daughter went into the patient's room by herself. She had been quite scared, so I popped my head in and wished her good luck. The two dental hygienists there smiled at me.

Everything looked just like a normal dentist's office, nothing new or different. I waited for a bit and then said good-bye to Sophia and my friend, and I went outside to go shopping.

It was raining a little, and the rain combined with melting snow made for quite a few muddy rivers that were quite difficult to cross. I did accidentally step in one and got my feet rather wet.

I did some shopping and found “bargains”--shoes and clothes that were similarly priced to what I would pay in the US. So many things in Kazakhstan are cheaper than in the US, but shoes and clothes aren't. In the US it is possible to spend $40 on a pair of shoes that will last you several years; in Kazakhstan it is possible to spend $100 on a pair of shoes that fall apart after one season. So the 5000 Tenge ($35) shoes I bought may not last, but one can hope! I also bought some running clothes, which are also very difficult to find at a decent price here.

After shopping, I met up with my friend and our daughters, we ate and returned to the hotel. My friend's daughter had been quite scared before, but she was in a super mood afterwards, so obviously the procedure had gone well. (She'd had a mild cavity.)

The circus is across from the hotel room and we could see that people were lining up to go to an event, so I offered to take the girls to the circus while my friend worked. Unfortunately, when we got there we learned that it was just a concert (someone singing), so I took them to the mall and they went to a movie. I found a stand that sold candy from Germany, including Advent calendars (although it's about 9 more months until Advent!) and Easter candy, so I bought some chocolate bunnies and eggs for the girls.

Not a very eventful day, but I do think I'm feeling done with shopping!
A small example of the mud and ice that make up the smaller raods

Plastic cover-ups for our shoes that we wore in the dentist's office

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