Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013

I was up early to start cooking, cleaning the kitchen and getting my place tidy to receive Willoughby for lunch. I tried cooking the Filipino pork adobo according to a recipe found online, but the amount of vinegar was excessive and it turned too sour. I added sugar to it, but it had little effect on the overall flavor. I even had to open the kitchen window to let the acrid smell escape. My polenta turned out all right, but the pickled Haitian coleslaw was also too sour for me even though Willoughby didn’t complain about it.

Willoughby then informed me that volunteers were instructed to dilute the local vinegar in a solution of one part vinegar to five part water to make it similar to the one we’d use in the States. I wish I had know that earlier.

By ten in the morning, the construction noise started again with the sound of a drill that seemed to penetrate right through my skull. I knocked on the door of the offending apartment and notified the couple that opened the door that it was Sunday and they weren't supposed to be working on that day. The woman cut her eyes at me while the husband, who spoke some English, wanted to know where I lived. I pointed to my unit and left. There was no more drilling after that. I felt victorious for once.

We sat down at my computer and went over my presentation on the state of teacher training in Kyrgyzstan and she gave me some pointers especially when she thought I was sounding too negative about the whole situation here. I shared some more resources with her and after having her oatmeal cookies and coffee, we got ready to go to the Opera Ballet Theater to see the local production of the opera “La Traviata”.

Rohat, the Peace Corps trainer and friend of Willoughby  who had offered to buy the tickets ahead of time was nowhere to be seen, so we purchased three tickets at 100 soms each and tried to wait in the foyer for her, but theater employees practically dragged us inside as the production had started one hour ahead of the listed time on the poster. We had already missed fifteen minutes of it. The usher promised to reunite us with Rohat whenever she showed up.

Only about half of the seats were occupied and at least four rows of them were filled with soldiers in their fatigue uniforms, some looking not older than fifteen. The acoustics were terrible so that when the performers moved toward the end of the stage, we could barely hear them. The orchestra was magnificent and I certainly enjoyed the music much more than the actual singing. The costumes and set were just mediocre, but then again I’m sure the company might not have much money for such frills.

Rohat joined us before the end of the first act and bought a program for ten soms so we could have an idea as to how long it would be. There was no synopsis of the opera in itself, so I was still in the dark as to what was taking place on the stage. Rohat told me an anecdote about her visiting Washington, D.C. and the comments she garnered about her “grille” as she has both her front and bottom teeth capped in gold. 

Willoughby had never heard the term grille in reference to teeth. We certainly had a good laugh about that.
When we went in search of the bathroom, I met a glamorous young woman and complimented her on her dress. She spoke fluent English and told us she had been born in Kyrgyzstan but moved to the States when she was fifteen. She’s now back to look after her sick grandmother and as luck would have it, she’s an ESL teacher and looking for a job. We exchange information and promised to keep in touch.

Rohat helped us negotiate a taxi ride so I could be dropped off first and Willoughby second. It was pleasant outing all in all.

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