Friday, March 22, 2002

March 22, 2002 - Brussels, Belgium and Atyrau, Bautino, Kazakhstan

Hello everyone,

Can you believe it is almost Easter??? Things here in The Hague have been great. We have been busy traveling and working and are looking forward to our upcoming trip to Canada.

In the last 2 weekends we have been to Brussels, Belgium and Atyrau, Kazakhstan. Both places on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

We hadn't planned to go to Brussels, but a we thought why not. Brussels is a 2 hour trip on train, from where we live, so it was a easy place to get to. Well.... we loved it!! It is a very typical European city with lots of little cobblestone streets and restaurants and cafes for miles and miles. They also have a very impressive square with gold covered buildings and a most impressive city hall.  We enjoyed a great evening out with our friends James and Lisa and kids Cassandra and Ainsley.  We especially liked a great jazz bar we found which featured a live band and a good crowd.  Chocolate, waffles and beer were the staples of the weekend.  We plan to return to Belgium soon to explore Bruges.

Well now was quite an experience.  We went there on a business trip as our company's other office is located there.  From there they support the rigs that are drilling for oil in the Caspian Sea.  So we left Friday and spent most of the day traveling to Atyrau (where the main office is).  Saturday morning we had to travel to another town called Bautino where the materials base is.   So another 1 hour plane ride and 2 hour drive got us to Bautino. The drive was extremely dull as the place looks like a lunar landscape - no trees and everything covered in dust. Apparently nothing grows because of the salt content in the earth but we suspect that all the nuclear testing the Russians did in Kazakhstan doesn't help either.

The hotel room we had was fantastic...with a kitchen and VCR and even movies. It was a busy trip but ended up being a better a place then we had anticipated.

So that is the latest.  We are now gearing up for a hard work week and then our Easter trip to Canada.  The plan is to spend the first 4 days with my mom and dad and then leave for Moncton for an east coast Canada holiday.

I hope everyone has a great Easter....and we'll write more soon.


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