It was still raining so we looked around for a minute, took a couple quick pics and headed back for the dry van. While driving around we also saw the Cathedral and one of the steel mills, a big industry in the area.
We stopped at a souvenir shop before heading to lunch. The souvenirs we found were much the same as those in Moscow but much less expensive and many seemed to be of better quality. I've got pics of what we bought but they're mixed in with the Moscow souvenirs so they'll have to wait for another day.
And then on the way to lunch it happened- our pothole-dodging NASCAR driver almost got us in a very nasty accident. Now in his defense, he was driving a van which had the driver's seat on the right instead of the left as we Americans are used to, not a problem except that the Russians drive on the right side of the road so I'm sure it wasn't the easiest thing to drive. But when he tried to enter a roundabout he hesitated and stopped with our van hanging out in the outer lane, a little grey target for the largest dump truck I've ever seen. And it was painted road cone orange. I'm not sure how he didn't see it coming. All I remember seeing is a window full of bright orange truck coming at us and then somehow it dodged back into the inner lane of the roundabout and we lived. It took the driver a few minutes to compose himself and finally enter traffic but we did make it to lunch without further incident.
And lunch was wonderful- we stopped with the translator at what must have been one of her favorite spots. She seemed to know it well and ordered for us- fried chicken breast with some sort of cream sauce and cheesy potatoes. Then she asked if we'd like to try Russian hot chocolate for dessert. She didn't have to ask twice. We got tiny tea cups of the best chocolately treat I've had in a long time. We ate it with spoons and it was much thicker and richer than any hot chocolate around here. A small cup was definitely enough. The translator explained that it is made with a combination of dark and white chocolate and melted chocolate ice cream. We'll definitely be trying to duplicate that at home.
We dropped our stuff back at the hotel and headed to the baby home for one last visit. This time he walked up to us right away and we pulled out the books and toys and Cheerios.
A half hour or so into our visit the translator suggested we see if he liked the tricycle in the far corner and told us we could go into the next room so he could ride around a little without running anyone over. We did and it was a great idea, he really loved it. He spent a long time making slow circles around the room by pushing himself along as his little legs were too short to reach the pedals. He's definitely getting one when we bring him home.
We got a longer visit this time but the caregiver still showed up way too soon. I wasn't looking forward to the final good-bye but all 3 kids crashed into the caregiver in a big group hug that made us all smile and forget about this being the last good-bye for minute. The kids were happy and that was the important thing. We gave the caregiver the things we'd brought, all the toys, books, a stuffed dog, small photo album and an afghan my Mom made. They will show our little guy our picture while we're gone and hopefully he'll get to play with some of the toys but we were warned that we may not be able to find them when we go back. That's fine with us, it just means some other child there needed them. Our child will have plenty soon.
We got one last picture of the baby home as we were leaving...
Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pack and try to sleep after filling out the paperwork to move forward with the adoption. We would be flying back to Moscow the next day.