Traveling in the region and outside

End-September we ended up in London with Hans’ parents to celebrate Leanne’s 18th birthday. It was a great opportunity to see each other back after only a few weeks of separation and the right time to do some “winter shopping” particularly for the girls. This coincided with having to apply for a new business visa at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in London. Good timing!

In October, the kids came home for mid-term break and Leanne brought one of her friends from school. First time for us, since always living sofar away, that we could have the children bring a friend over. The weather was still pleasant enough so we did the customary sight-seeing of Almaty. We failed only in our visit to the Big Almaty lake. As we drove up the mountains we got stuck on a patch of ice and the car had no grip at all. Even after letting everyone out of the car it remained risky as Hans came dangerously close to the ravine without having any control over the car. Some daring young Kazakh folk attempted to cross the same icy patch and failed. Lucklily as they were numerous they managed to push the car all the way back out of the ice zone. So we decided that was enough and we returned home. Ice defies even the best four wheel drive without winter tires with nails.

November was very hectic and stressful. We were getting very close to December 1, the renewal date for our house lease. Unfortunately we had not managed to obtain confirmation from the landlord that they would be willing to put in a generator for the electricity and a connection to the gas distribution for the heating. In spite of many months of prior discussion. So the decision was made to move out. Jeannie started looking for a new house. The packers moved in and we had the house packed up. When the landlord realized we were serious about leaving they changed their mind and promised to get a generator and a gas connection by the end of January. As a result we moved into the hotel for 2 weeks after the house was packed and even after the landlord signed the lease agreement we stuck around in “cartons” as we did not want to start unpacking until we really had a generator and gas connection. In January we had a generator operational and all gas piping done but no connection yet. Nevertheless end-January we unpacked and a week later the gas got connected. After all, the packing and unpacking was well worth it and we are more than happy that we could stay.

In December we went to Vietnam to spent the Christmas and New Year’s holiday with Jeannie’s parents. Jeannie and the children left early December and I followed mid December. On the way and back we managed to spent some extra time in Bangkok. When in Vietnam we spent 4 days with the grand parents and Jeannie’s bother and sister-in-law at the beach in Long Hai at the Anoasis Resort where we have stayed before. A welcome break for us all. The kids obviously enjoyed the pool, the beach and the sun and would have loved to stay longer.

The LCF webpage (click to enlarge)In January we had the opportunity to spend another couple of days in London as we had to renew the work permit and visas for the family and it was an opportunity for Leanne to visit the London College of Fashion during one of its “open days”.

The International terminal in Aktobe  (click to enlarge)During this entire period I made several business trips to Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkey and the US. The highlight though was a couple of trips inside Kazakhstan and in particular the visit to Aktobe in the North West of the country with its impressive “International Airport” terminal ….

Great truck  (click to enlarge)…and an even more impressive baggage handling system. No lost luggage here, unlike in Paris, Heathrow or Frankfurt 😉

Last Updated: 01-03-2008

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