Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012

My jet lagged state caused me to stay up until 3:00am when I finally gave in and took a Tylenol PM to be able to fall asleep. As a result, I didn’t get up until 9:30am and missed the breakfast offered by the guest house once again. When I walked in to make my coffee, two men, obviously foreigners, were finishing their breakfast. I perused the buffet offerings and noticed they had cereal, muesli, olives, broiled eggplant with tomato slices on top, cucumbers, and lots of fresh fruit. I asked the clerk if I could take some fruit to my room and she assented. I ended up with fresh slices of melon, a banana, plum, apple and pear.

I checked my email and got ready to explore the city on my own even though I didn’t even have a map with me. I figured the distance covered by the taxi yesterday, from the building housing the Lingua School to the guest house, wasn’t that far and that I could possibly walk there and back in a couple of hours. My first stop was to peruse the menu at a Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, practically next door. I wasn’t hungry enough yet to eat sushi, but reassured the young manager, who spoke English quite fluently, that I’d be returning for dinner. I walked to the corner where a large park stood and figured that would be a good landmark to return to and proceeded until I got to a supermarket where I, naturally, had to stop and peruse every isle. I found they carried fettuccini, a big improvement over Dushanbe, ground coffee at a reasonable price and ready-made sandwiches. The produce section left much to be desired.

At the VEFA Center, I found the exact type of winter boots I'd like to buy before winter arrives in earnest, but their prices were equivalent to the ones in the States running between $294.00-315.00. Who can afford to buy those shoes here?

It was time to eat lunch and after much searching for something that looked open, I walked into the Aria Restaurant where a young woman understood enough English to bring me a Russian salad containing herring, cubes of potatoes and cucumber ladled with enough mayonnaise to disguise all flavor in it, A Solyanka soup and flat bread.  There was hookah lounge at the entrance and a dozen young people listened to loud American music while puffing on the pipes. The soup was just ok, not as good as the one I had had in Almaty while visiting with Valerie. 

More walking brought me to the intersection where the underpass could take me to the Lingua School building and then I knew exactly where I was. I confidently strolled to the front of the building to take a photo of it while realizing that several wedding parties were getting their photos taken across the street where the Hyatt Regency Hotel maintains a meticulous patch of grass, fountain and sculpture.

I was unabashed in asking people to pose for me and even took a surreptitious image of a group waiting for the wedding ceremony to be over while having a little party of their own. More walking brought me face to face with extremely dilapidated Soviet-era type of apartment complexes and made me puzzle as to what I might be able to find tomorrow in my search for a “pie de Terre” . Deciding that I’d be tired to return to the Japanese restaurant for dinner on my own, I stopped at the same supermarket on the way back and bought sparkling water, cold, apple cider vinegar and a sandwich to eat in my room. Low and behold, as I was just getting to the guest house, I ran into the manager of the sushi place and he walked alongside while telling he was only 23 and already made manager for this place that only opened three days ago. He reassured me I could find an elegant apartment right in town with no problem whatsoever. I promised to have lunch or dinner at his place tomorrow at the latest.

                The Lingua School occupies the third floor of this office building.

Back at the guest house, Gulnora called me to find out how my day had gone. She had tried reaching me at my new number, but couldn’t get an answer. I tried calling her right then and there, but only got a recorded message in Russian indicating something or other was wrong with my account. She’ll look into it tomorrow. Gulnora wanted to know if had decided to check out of the guest house tomorrow morning and bring my luggage to her office while searching for a flat. That sounded like a good idea and I only hope I don’t have to come back here with my bags again because I couldn’t find a suitable apartment.

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