Thursday, April 16, 2015

Almaty, Kazakhstan

This is another late post I never got around to writing. After our time in Kyrgyzstan, we had to go to Kazakhstan to get Jonas's visa in order to allow him into the United States. For some reason, the US embassy in Bishkek doesn't issue the type of visa we needed for him. So we had to travel to a whole different country!

We were picked up at 3:15am from our hotel in Bishkek and taken in a big van to the border crossing. Jonas slept most of the way. At the border, we had to get out of the van, walk down some outdoor corridors, and go through a checkpoint with our passports. Then we had to take all of our luggage out of the van and walk another corridor and go through another checkpoint. It was kind of a pain, but it's a good thing we left so early in the morning, because right after we got in line it started getting really crowded, and it would have taken hours to get through if we had gone later.

A few hours later, we arrived in the HUGE city of Almaty. We waited for our coordinator to turn in our paperwork at the embassy, and then we headed to the international medical clinic. Jonas had to get a check-up in order to be given a visa. They basically took all his vitals and talked through his medical record with us. Jonas cried a little when we had to lay him down on the table to get his height, but otherwise, he did just fine.

The rest of the afternoon was free, so we ate a ridiculously expensive lunch at the hotel ($55!), Jonas took a nap, we played in the room, Zack took him to the park, we went out to dinner, and Jonas got his first real bath.

We went to the embassy the next afternoon. It was a lot like the Bishkek embassy day with less security checkpoints. At the end of the "interview," we were given a sealed white manila envelope that could only be opened by the US passport officials once we landed. And Jonas's passport now had a page taken up by a cool-looking visa!

It felt so good to walk out of that embassy and know that we now had everything we needed to get Jonas home. We took some pictures with Darren, Song, and their new daughter Ambrosia, since they had gone through the whole process with us. They live in California. Some day maybe Amber and Jonas will meet again!

No comments:

Post a Comment