19 November, 2006

Guess who came to lunch ....

The day was FUN. Lots of work, but worth it. The house staff will have stories for their grandchildren as the VIP came to lunch. Tons of guests with lots of congratulations -- yes, we can fit a LOT of people in that place. Gaz. brothers stayed around a long time, seranding and singing, and sang my favorite "Dark Eyes" po russkiye.

Had many thoughts about how to make this posting PC and all of that, so just decided to crib from the Embassy Website:

"President Nazarbayev and Ambassador Ordway Emphasize Strong Partnership at New Embassy Compound Dedication

More than 500 guests, among them President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, and Astana Mayor Askar Mamin, attended the embassy's long awaited dedication on November 14. Speaking at the ceremony, President Nazarbayev said the United States and Kazakhstan had achieved a high level of cooperation in international stability, energy security, nonproliferation, the struggle against terrorism, and support for democratic reform. (Link) Ambassador Ordway impressed the audience with remarks in Kazakh and Russian, describing the completion of the two year construction project as "a symbol of the two countries' friendship and strategic partnership." General Charles Williams, the director and chief operating officer of the State Department's Overseas Buildings Office, said the project represented $20 million in terms of investment in the local economy. The program of events began with the presentation of colors by the embassy's Marine Security Guards, followed by the national anthems sung by bass and alto impresarios Rafael and Zhalil Gizatullin, and performed by the Ministry of Defense's Zhas Ulan orchestra. Photographs illustrating the bilateral history were on display, as well as quilts sewn by craftswomen from Almaty and Astana, and artwork by Kazakhstani children. The "Sound 4" jazz quartet put the crowd in a celebratory mood."

And now, onto Thanksgiving planning.