Posting from MarKuel Hotel, Khabarovsk, Russia
Local time 5:08 pm on Monday August 28th
Weather: Hard flooding rain and clouds of mosquitos.
We had a lovely birthday dinner at Scalini’s, including a candle in my cream caramel.
Today we were picked up at noon by Lena and Andrei and were very very happy to find A and Y in the van – they had arrived from Seoul last night and were back on schedule for court. Huge relief. We all trooped off for our eight-doctor medical exams, which were quite manageable.
I know I haven’t posted apartment pics yet; I’ll get there. One of my concerns about the apartment has been that there is only one bed in the children’s room. On the various occasions that I have talked with the staff about the necessity of another bed, we have not been able to resolve this. Our idea was that Jamie and I would carry a bed from an other room, as the hotel is minimally occupied. This was not allowed. Their idea was that one child sleep on the pull-out in the living room. This was not acceptable, as the children are used to sleeping in a room with 8-12 others. Alone in a room would be rather scary, don’t you think? I kept explaining this, trying to enlist some sympathy for the children. They seemed empathetic, but still, “no”.
Today I had Lena with us, and she pled our case. No chance; director’s orders. Lena departs.
Then, the manager on duty approaches me to tell me, with a great many apologies, that the maid had broken my bottle of perfume. I am not a luxury good kind of gal, but this was a nice and rather expensive bottle of perfume, certainly not something I would run right out and replace. But it is just a thing -- and there is no point bitching over spilled perfume -- so I listened to their apologies and said it was okay and let it go. They wanted to know the cost, so the maid could pay for it. I told them I didn’t know, but could look it up, but that she could only pay for half, as it was only half full.
So, we get up the room and I start thinking about the cost of a half a bottle and what that equates to in terms of her labor hours versus our labor hours and I decide to conveniently forget to look up the price. It would mean taking her grocery money for a vanity item and that is clearly not right.
"Knock knock" at the door. “You were so nice,” she says. “We’ve decided to do something nice for you. Our director is on vacation; you can have a bed.” Yipee! We are so happy. They do this before they realize I’ve decided to not accept the maid’s money. I tell them, “no money. I’m happy you spilled it as it got me a bed” The maid is so happy. We all end up quite happy and grateful and friendly because the perfume got spilled. Who would have guessed such a good ending?
And now for the really good news: we get to see the children tomorrow. Today they came home from summer camp – we are so curious to know more about the camp. Tonight we will make dinner and then get all organized for the orphanage visit.
Also, for those of you coming to the MarKuel in the future. We just bought 20 hours of internet DialUp access from Andrei at PeaceTravel for the same price as 6 hours of DSL access provided by the MarKuel. And dont be afraid to venture out into the community. We've found that most people are friendly and nice if we will make the first move.