Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 16, 2013

It was snowing once again when I woke up this morning. I made my pot of coffee in the portable gas hot plate as a headache had announced itself immediately upon opening my eyes and it demanded coffee fast. I texted Elvira to verify she was still available to accompany me to the bank to open an account so I don’t have to carry much cash around. By nine in the morning, the hammering started across the landing. I’m beginning to feel that this remodeling of apartments is going to be the vane of my existence in Bishkek.

                                The view from the bedroom's window

It was easy to make it to the bank on foot as the fluffy snow allowed for fast walking, but the branch Asia had pointed to was in the process of closing and they referred us to one closer to my street, Isanova, and there we got to deal with a young capable clerk that explained I didn’t need to deposit any money to open the account then and there. Instead, I had to wait for the debit card to arrive in 3-5 days and then make a deposit. I’d need to keep a $100.00 reserve at all times and they would charge a 5% fee for any electronic transfer of funds.

                       The snowy view of the apartment's courtyard

As was to be expected, it took a lot of paperwork and signatures, photocopying of passport and visa before we were handed a copy of the application and allowed to leave. I invited Elvira to try out a Korean restaurant recommended by one of the Filipino guys last Saturday. We had no difficulty finding the place, close to the Kyrgyzstan National University, and we were treated to a buffet but not before being warned that we couldn’t take any leftovers home or leave any food on the plates. I wish the latter was also the rule in the U.S.

It cost 250 soms per person and 50 soms for a pot of tea. I was delighted to see that there were several dishes with seafood in them and even sushi. The kimchi wasn’t as good as I remember having had in the States when my students prepared it, but I gave it a try. The place was almost full with what appeared to be a mostly Korean clientele. When we were finished, we walked next door to their grocery store where I bought a bottle of fish sauce for the adobo recipe I’m planning on cooking tomorrow. They didn’t have any oyster sauce, so I think I’ll have better luck finding that staple at a Chinese store.

The toilet at the Korean restaurant has a toilet paper holder made from a cut-up plastic bottle.

Elvira walked back with me almost to the apartment building, but I didn’t invite her in because my place was a bit messy. My headache hadn’t gone away and I thought I could have a chance to lie down for a bit before tackling some of my chores, but I then found out that the workers were still at it hammering away non-stop. I tried to block the noise by watching CNN for a little while, but all the news were so depressing that I turned it off in disgust.

I decided to watch another movie and chose one by a film director that has become dear to me now: Len Loach, a British filmmaker with an outstanding sensibility for the plight of the average man, woman or child. This one was titled “Family Life” and left me practically in tears. This is the fourth one of his movies I get to watch and each one has been better than the previous one. I only hope he continues to produce more work of such caliber.

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