Thursday, 12 March 2009

Birthday surprise

Our eldest daughter is eight today. It feels like more than eight years since she was born in Brazil, 5 countries ago - blimey!

We bought her a new bike, super snazzy with gears and everything. I visited several shops to obtain said bike. The first place, Limpopo, does not sell bikes until April. The second place is called Robinson and had been recommended as an outdoorsy type of place. It is a bizarre fishing shop stacked full of rods and nets, and bizarrely fronted with two full size sets of armour which you have to pass to get in. The armour stands just in front of a scuba diving section, so you feel as if you are walking into some kooky S&M store! They don't sell bikes, but I did discover that I could buy a smaller tent than the one I found on the internet in the UK the other day for only four times its European price - I must bear that in mind for later...

At the next shop they had a choice of one new (but scratched) bike, coming in at an extortionate 35000 tenge (I think that is a lot for a kids bike but perhaps I am not in touch with the cost of these things), and since there was no choice and it was scratched, I did not buy it. Moving on, I tried Dinamo which has the atmosphere of a failing government-run department store. It has a very patchy and rather sad selection of things to buy - lots of boxing gloves, a smattering of chinese-made ice skates, and some dance wear. They had two bikes of the kind that might be donated to an orphanage and had obviously been manufactured in about 1980. And one gleaming blue and white number which was also around the 40000 tenge mark. 

Finally I tried Extreme sports near our house which is a dark little place selling some new and some used ski and snow board gear. It smells of sweaty shoes and the two young men who run it obviously only wash when they start to really smell, but they were nice and helpful and had four bikes of the right size to choose from.  So I bought one, and this morning Beatriz was presented with her bike which is the perfect size and has a speedometer on the handlebars and she was completely delighted. Job done!

She even managed to look surprised, despite her younger sisters big mouth efforts after swimming the other day:

"Bia, you know why Mummy hasn't bought you your present yet?"
"No, why?"
"Because they didn't have any bikes for sale!"

Well done Big Mouth. I called Sasha to me, and explained that she might have just blown any surprise for the birthday girl. 
"Mmm," she said, "Perhaps she will forget?" she hopefully suggested. 

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