Friday, March 29, 2013

March 28, 2013

Having had a chance to sleep a full night, I didn’t even hear Holly when she came back from the night club; I got up a six and finished packing my suitcase and miscellaneous items I had accumulated during the week. I had my bowl of muesli and was ready to go when Holly finished doing her morning ablutions.

We walked to the guys’ apartment and Holly went up to the sixth floor to get Max as my legs couldn’t stand the idea of such exertion again. We got into a taxi with a very cordial driver whose family had originally come from Korea many years ago. At the bus terminal, the marshrutka driver tried to cajole us into occupying the last two seats at the very back of the van, but I refused reminding Max I couldn’t be without any ventilation for very long.

The guy even told us no other van would be leaving Taraz until three that afternoon, but I didn’t believe him and chose to take a chance. Immediately after he pulled out, another van took its spot and we informed that driver that the two front seats were for us. It took another hour before the van got full, so we didn’t leave until half past ten.

We kept being harassed by a group of young gypsy girls who were going around burning birch twigs in small pots and asking for money claiming to be removing evil spirits from around us. After that came the regular beggars and then a guy who thought Max and I were a couple and asked him for money to pay the fare for his wife.

We drove through the same grim landscape as last Thursday with Max falling asleep almost as soon as he got reasonably comfortable in the rather narrow van. I tried listening to my MP3 player, but the battery was dead so I just had to stare straight ahead. Crossing the border took no time at all and even the driver came through it somewhat speedily.

There was no stop for lunch and I had to eat some chocolates and grapes I had stashed in my bag just in case. We went through the same dismal little towns as before and it seemed to take forever to reach the bus terminal in Bishkek. Max and I shared a taxi once again and before reaching my flat, I stopped at the convenience store across the street and bought some cooked noodles, potato salad and salty fish for dinner.

It was a relief to be back in my own place after almost a week of being cooped up in such a small place. Checking my emails, I found that Nargiza had written to indicate my presence was expected at the opening ceremony for the conference at KNU. She would be expecting me at 9:30, and I needed to be ready to speak for about two minutes. I was able to complete my blog entries for the last four days and then read for a while before going to sleep.

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