Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10, 2013

After a pretty good night sleep, I started to cook the lamb only to realize that I had no onions, garlic, peppers or tomato paste to finish the dish. Reluctantly, I got dressed to face the chilled air outside and made a run for the Narodni supermarket where the clerks had a tough time weighing one onion, a head of garlic, two green peppers and a single hot pepper. I need to make a trip to the Osh Bazaar and stock up on everything next week.

I go the lamb browned and then cleaned the kitchen, tidied up the place, and started a load of laundry. When Willoughby called to say she was on her way, I added the black eye peas to the lamb and started to cook the white rice. I took a shower and got ready for company.

Willoughby brought a bottle of red wine labeled “Merlot”, which turned out to be much too sweet even for me. The rice had too much water in it and turned into  clumps much to my dislike. I have yet to find the right proportion of water to rice to cook it so it turns out fluffy here.

The landlady didn’t show up with the chairs as she had promised. We left the flat and stopped at the VEFA Center for a cup of coffee as Willoughby had never been there. The fancy coffee shop on the third floor had an extensive list of coffee drinks, but it was in Russian and the female server spoke no English. She finally gave up and brought a young man along who turned out to be the barista and who did his best to describe the different drinks.

I ended up with something with caramel that was way too sweet and had too little coffee in it. We chitchatted there for a while until the place filled up with smokers and we had to leave. We took another marshrutka and made our way to the Opera Ballet Theater where a ballet based on the story of the 1001 Nights would be performed. I remembered reading that books years ago and couldn’t conceive of a ballet based on a woman telling a king stories night after night.

There was a good crowd already waiting inside and out and people kept arriving even after the ballet had begun. It was a short one, about 45 minutes, and I had no idea what it was about, but it certainly didn’t follow the story in the book. Three young women sat to our right and one of them spoke to us in English. They had purchased the program and told us another ballet, a Russian one, was to follow and we stay for it. Apparently, it was to portrait the wars that had taken place between the Mongols and the Russians before they decided to make peace among themselves.

I had pretty much run out of money, and Willoughby was fine with not splitting a cab tonight, so she jumped into a marshrutka and I waited for the trolley. The streets were so deserted of traffic that we made it to my stop so quickly I didn’t even recognize it and had to get off at the next one.

When I walked into the kitchen, I found that the landlady had brought in three used chairs and six steak knives which she left on top of the washer. The toilet was still leaking and no garbage can materialized, but at least, finally, I had a comfortable chair to sit at my computer.

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