Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28, 2012

I spent a lazy morning lounging around the flat until the gorgeous day called out for some exploring of my immediate surroundings. I ventured to Chuy Avenue, the main drag of Bishkek, but forgot to bring the map Natalia so graciously provided and couldn’t identify any of the landmarks I was looking at. I took some photos nonetheless hoping that Zarina will be able to label them for me tomorrow. I had promised to cook breakfast for her on Saturday before we head out to the Osh Bazaar to buy housewares to complete the look of my apartment.

I had one more delightful day to enjoy with brilliant sunshine, soft breezes and nary a touch of humidity. I found the sign for a Mexican cantina and karaoke bar first followed by some government buildings where a lot of activity seemed to be taking place. About three blocks later, I finally came upon the Beta Center Natalia had recommended that I check out before purchasing anything at the bazaar as she felt their prices are quite competitive. This is a Turkish store offering a variety of housewares, groceries and takeout food of pretty good quality.

I made sure to bring a crisp $100.00 dollar bill to exchange this time and had no problem when I approached the currency exchange counter on the first floor. I looked at glasses, pitchers, butter dishes, salad bowls, kitchen utensils, small appliances and so on until I came to the electric oven I was hoping to buy to allow me to bake all the things I like to eat. It’ll cost me over a hundred dollars to buy one and they are quite bulky in fact. I’ll have to think about how much I’d really use this oven as I ended up not baking much in Dushanbe last year. It could have been, partly, because the kitchen lacked heating and I fled from it during the cold months.

I overheard a young couple speak English nearby and introduced myself to Douglas and Sunshine who are enrolled at the London School of Languages while learning Russian and have been here for just over a month. We exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch especially if I get to enroll in the classes this coming week. I was starving at that point, and they recommended a buffet-type of restaurant located on the second floor. I made my way there and just pointed to three different items and ordered a bottle of iced tea. I was shocked to be presented with a bill for 517.00 som or about $11.00. I knew I had no choice but to  pay since I lacked the language skills to argue about the bill since no prices were posted, but swore never to set foot in that restaurant again. That’s unless a local accompanies me. What a rip off!

I perused the other shops on the second floor, mostly a lackluster collection of clothing and jewelry stores in tiny, ill-lit spaces. The third floor fared even worse with even less lighting and just three stores to look at. From there, I went to the Narodi supermarket, a Russian chain that seems to be everywhere, and bought the things I’d need to make breakfast in the morning but managed not to find any onions. I noticed that both Beta and this chain offer a very small section of fruit and vegetables to the public. I need to find out where people get most of their greens.

My landlady called to say she’d be coming around with the coffee table and night table she’d promised. When she got here, I thought it was funny that the coffee table was the same kind I had in my dining room in Dushanbe, only shorter and in black instead of blue. She told me she had decided not to buy the reading lamp since she wasn’t sure what kind of lamp I wanted and hoped I could find what I wanted at the bazaar tomorrow. Zarina called me about the same thing and told me I should expect to pay about 300.00 som or around 7.00 dollars. I offered her coffee while her husband brought up the furniture, and Nadya confirmed she’d been born in Russia and brought to Kyrgyzstan when she was five. She feels very comfortable here because she has a business and owns two apartments she rents while living in a big house with her mother.

When she was gone, I turned my attention to my first professional task: updating the professional development survey the Forum organization provides its teachers with at the beginning of the school year. Theirs contained only four questions, two of which asked how the Forum could help them become better teachers. I found a survey online and extended the survey to contain twelve questions altogether. I’ll submit it to the committee and wait for their answer. I have my first presentation there on October 13, so I need to start thinking of what I’ll say to them.

I watched a disturbing video, Kyrgyzstan: The Interim Country, about the fractious relationship between the different ethnic groups inhabiting the country: Russians, Germans, Turkish, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Uigers, Dungans, Tatars and others. I had no inkling about the 2010 attacks by Uzbeks on Kyrgyz in the city of Osh, the southern part of the country. Prior to that, the Kyrgyz had attacked the Turkish population in another region. Very sad, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Kyrgyzstan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Kyrgyzstan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez