Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012

The sleeping pill I took must have done the trick for I was able to sleep until eight and felt quite refreshed. I noticed that the coffee was taking forever to percolate and looking closely at the stove, it was obvious that the surface had been damaged in the past and only the center portion was putting out any heat. Zarina was scheduled to come by in the morning to show me how to ride the marshruska to the school on my own and I made a mental note to ask her to notify Nadia of the problem.

I perused the television channels and found, to my horror, that the only channel available in English was CNN, the one channel I never had in Tajikistan and which I don’t particularly care for. There was no BBC, Al Jazeera, TVe, TeleSur, or RTD available. It might be a signal for me to get real about learning Russian instead of getting all of my entertainment and news in English. I had a bowl of muesli and ironed my clothes while waiting for Zarina who arrived to inform me that the rental agreement had been emailed to both of us and I needed to get to the school to review the language and add any changes I deemed necessary.

It was great to realize that I only need to turn the corner around my building to be able to get into the right mini-van, #227 or #129. It costs ten som each way or about 25 cents. The mini vans here are different with seats on the left side only and bars on the right for people to stand. It’s not possible to look out the window if you’re riding standing up and thus easy to miss your stop. Gulnara was in a meeting when we got in, so proceeded to print the lease agreement and Zarina translated it into English with the modifications I had suggested. I was able to get online using one of their computers and chitchatted with Mat, the Peace Corps volunteer from Amelia Island, of all places, with whom I’ll be sharing a conversation club on Saturdays.

Contract in hand, it was back to the apartment where Nadia was already waiting to sign it and collect the remaining sum for the three month advanced payment. She is a beautiful woman of typical Russian physique: blonde, blue-eye, bosomy, with sharp cheek bones and a sensual mouth. As she didn’t need to do any cleaning today, she was decked out in stylish black pants, a white tank top and black jacket while sporting five-inch stiletto heels. Once inside the apartment, she quickly got on the telephone with the cable people only to tell me that I’d need to pay something like twenty dollars every month to upgrade her package so I’d have access to another ten channels in English. I told I’d need to think about it first.

I next showed her the stove and she acknowledged she knew it wasn’t working right and promised to take it to the technician to see if it could be repaired. If not, she’d buy another one hopefully tomorrow. When I pointed out that the other burner could not be plugged in because the outlet was too far away, she couldn’t believe it. Her husband came in at that point and used an extension cord, but to no avail as the burner just didn’t work. So tonight, I have no stove whatsoever. They arranged to get the Internet people here tomorrow to install the Wi-Fi set up. We signed the respective copies of the contract, I paid the remaining $1500.00 and they promised to follow through on the myriad of repairs and missing things we agreed on.

Nadia’s husband offered Zarina a ride while Nadia accompanied me to a restaurant nearby to consider for dinner. What I found, instead, is that I’ll be living in quite a lively neighborhood full of restaurants, shops, bazaars and cafes. We walked along one of the busy streets going in and out of different places so I could become acquainted with them and by that time, I was so hungry I could stand it no more. Since I had stove to cook on, I once again bought some already cooked noodles with the sauce in a plastic bag,  marinated eggplant, and two other dishes that looked interesting, along with a piece of pastry for dessert. I then bought a kilo of the most luscious grapes from a street vendor while declining the puny pears her neighbor was trying to sell me. Nadia said goodbye and I walked back to my flat to have a delicious repast as the noodle sauce was very spicy and the pastry was to die for. I tried not to think about the fact that I had no way of making coffee tomorrow morning.

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