We flew into Volgograd and landed in the middle of a field, got off the plane and were ushered unto a bus that drove us to a yellow building/room where we got our luggage. It was quite interesting to say the least. :)After a brief moment of panic when we thought we lost our boarding pass with the baggage claim ticket on it (apparently you need that to leave with your luggage...good to know) we were met right outside by our facilitator, translator and driver who loaded us into cars and off we went! They are all very friendly and knowledgeable. Weirdly, the car we got in had a steering wheel on the right hand side of the car. The odder thing is that ours was the only one like that!! All the other cars has steering wheels on the left...not so sure what was going on there. The driving is...let's say chaotic to put it nicely. :)
We drove maybe 15 minutes through the "suburbs" and then arrived at our hotel, Hotel Volgograd. They helped us check in and explained what the next day (today) would look like. Since they have two families we are having to split our time between the orphanages, so the Bush's (the family we met up with in Atlanta) had an early morning visit and we will be headed to the orphanage around noon today!!!
The entrance to the hotel was nice...the elevators are TEENY. As in you almost have to turn sideways to get in and a maximum of 4 people (with no luggage) can fit! The halls are kind of dark and "soviet" and the rooms are just old and not US. :) Many people still smoke inside and our room smelled pretty smoky and for an asthmatic like me... That was my last straw. I just broke down into tears and told Barry we needed to get our son and go back home. We had been traveling for 24 hours, had very little sleep and were in a world where very few people understood us and we understood them even less. It was just all so overwhelming. After a brief cry where Barry reminded me of all the positives...one of which was that this is all totally worth it for our son!!...we headed around the corner of the hotel for dinner. There are a couple restaurants within walking distance (Grand Pizza, Grand Cafe and Bar & Grill) and at least two of them have menus in English. We sat outside and enjoyed our pizza with the Bush's (it's so nice having another couple here with us!). Our waitress knew zero English so it was interesting trying to order but we made it work! We then came back to our room, took a shower and went straight to sleep!!! We slept like logs and I have a much better perspective on life now. Ha! Now to the orphanage!!!!