Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 18, 2013

It was a frosty morning with temperatures dropping to the just 5 degree Fahrenheit when I walked across the street to meet with Laira for breakfast at the Vanilla Sky café. The place is adding an all-glass enclosure to allow customers to sit outdoors even in the dead of winter and workers were busily scurrying around to get it done as soon as possible.

The non-smoking section was completely empty at 9:00 am and I asked the server if they had just opened, but he replied they opened an hour earlier. Despite Rebecca’s assertion that the café had a fantastic breakfast menu, I found no evidence of it as there were no eggs, pancakes, crepes, omelets or anything I could recognize as a breakfast offering. The server brought me another menu in English, but that didn’t help any.

When Laira arrived, she brought me the pair of trackers she had purchased in Switzerland for me so I can attach them to the soles of my boots and keep from skidding on the ice and breaking my neck. They were quite different from the flimsy ones Peace Corps volunteers wear, but then again these were Swiss. I paid Laira the $40.00 I owed her and we proceeded to order something that looked like a cross between a wrap and a crepe.

I asked for American coffee and hot milk on the side, but the server brought me a large glass of hot milk instead. It doesn’t to amaze me that these places, catering to the expat community for the most part, fail to hire personnel with a certain degree of fluency in English. Laira commented that the NGO her husband works for, Helvetica, does provide training in the tourist area of Issyk-Kul as that region attracts more tourists than Bishkek does.

The meal was just all right and hardly worth the almost $10.00 I had to pay for it. I told Laira that next time we met; I’d cook Dominican-style scrambled eggs, toast and coffee at my place.  We went up to my place so she could see the apartment and agreed to meet on Monday for the Zumba class she told me was hosted just across the street and next to Vanilla Sky.

Willoughby called in the afternoon to ask if I wanted to accompany her to see the opera “La Traviata” which is being offered at the Philharmonic Hall on Sunday evening. Although I’m not really a fan of opera, I agreed to go with her and even pick up the tickets tomorrow afternoon after the conversation club at Lingua. I thought it’d do me good to get out of the house for a bit and haven’t seen this one anyway. Willoughby plays the piano and is thus quite knowledgeable about music.

In the evening, I got to watch yet another movie, “A Serious Man”, a film I knew nothing about but just knowing it was written, directed and produced by the Coen brothers was enough to get me interested. It’s a bleak film on the surface and merits a second watch before I form a definite opinion on it.

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