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Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years' eve

There are two large dumspters behind an apartment buidling which is adjacent to the orphanage. During the day, we see cats and sometimes dogs atop them looking for their next meal. Sadly, after dark, the animals are replaced by what I assume are homeless people looking for the same. The Ukraine is a very impoverished country...not third world, but certainly old world. In Canada, our annual inflation rate is about 2% while in the Ukraine it is nearer 13.5%. I read somewhere that 50% of the people here are below the poverty line. I told the translator who works with the Americans what our plane tickets cost and he said that it was the same as his annual wage. For the record, we got a really good deal on our tickets.
Candace and I had tea to start the day, in what has become a bit of a morning ritual. When we arrived at the orphange, we were told by two people, including a doctor, not to feed Alexandra today. They used the sign language for "no food", "upset stomach", and "vomit". We were the last couple to be given this warning because we have been sneaky when we feed her.
When we got back to the hotel, I booked a hotel room near the Frankfurt airport for January 12th. We have an overnight there before heading to Canada. We will be staying at the Ibis Frankfurt Airport Hotel. Candace and I then went walking around the nearby stores. They were really crowded. Candace went back to the hotel and I spent about 30 minutes trying to find a place to exchange currenecy. Fortunately, I finally found one because everything will be closed tomorrow. The local exchange booths / kiosks called Obmeem Balyuts are everywhere.
During the evening visit, Alexandra was a bit sleepy. We again took turns carrying her around with her head resting on our shoulders. From 7 - 11 we visited with our American friends at their apartment. We arranged for our taxi to return at 11:00 pm to bring us back to our hotel. Then we watched fireworks for a while. It was a pretty amazing sight, with hundreds of them going off across the city. They were still erupting at 12:45 when I fell asleep. Then I was awoke at 4:15 am by more fireworks followed by the cheering of a crowd of people. They really go all out for New Years here.
Having been away from home for three consecutive New Years I have decided that I want to do something special next year. So Brittany...if no one has asked yet would you babysit for us next December 31st?

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