Tuesday, April 23, 2013
April 22, 2013
I was up at the crack of dawn having gone to bed so early the night before and even got to hear a rooster crowing nearby, a sound that I hadn’t heard for a long time. I grabbed my coffeemaker and coffee and headed to the reception area where I found the young woman ready to take me to the kitchen and light up the stove for me. I took the coffee back to my room and enjoyed it in solitude.
I knocked on Elvira’s door at seven, just as we had previously agreed, and then had a buffet breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, yogurt, cold cuts, bread and tea or instant coffee. We were later offered what the staff called French toast, but it was actually the bread fried to a crisp. I passed on it and instead took some dark bread with me for the coffee break at the school.
Elvira called a taxi to take us to the Osh Nuru hotel where I had the unpleasant experience of being told the room I had selected the night before was now reserved for someone else. I raised hell and the manager had to be called in with my asserting repeatedly that the front desk clerk, in front of us, had assured me the room was available. The manager, a very young guy in this case, finally caved in and they gave me the key to the quiet room I had previously selected.
We dumped our luggage, found a place on the first floor where to make a few photocopies for the first session and boarded the same taxi again to go to the school where the training sessions were scheduled to be held. Jyldyz met us there and took us to the school’s assembly hall, something closer to a conference room, where the teachers were already waiting for us.
The school principal said a few words of welcome and so did Jyldyz followed by Elvira who then introduced me. I got to work immediately getting the teachers to complete the survey of needs and getting the presentation on classroom management underway. After the coffee break, Elvira presented a talk on what communicative methodology meant.
We broke for lunch and walked about two blocks to a busy cafeteria where everyone piled up at the counter shouting their orders to the two harassed employees who could barely keep track of them. My lagman was quite good, but Elvira was displeased with the ambiance of the place, the rude service and limited options.
I presented on pragmatics in the afternoon doing my best to keep the audience awake. Elvira followed with more activities that demonstrated communicative language teaching and then we were free for the rest of the evening.
Jyldyz accompanied us to the bus stop and we got into a marshrutka that dropped us off in front of the hotel. After dropping off our bundles and getting into more comfortable outfits, we went in search of a coffee house, but none was to be found.
We tried to find a place to copy the handouts for the next day, but my flash drive would not open at the only place capable of offering Elvira a receipt containing the equivalent to their IRS number. Dejected, I suggested we had dinner and just deal with that issue in the morning.
Another marshrutka took us to the center and to the Beijing restaurant Asel had recommended. We got to sit outdoors near the bazaar engulfed by all the traffic, noise and bustle so typical of such places. Our young waiter kept coming back to make changes to our order and then we got to somewhat enjoy another mediocre meal. We both had leftovers and took them to the hotel at Elvira’s insistence even though we had no microwaves in our rooms.
When we got to the hotel, Elvira asked me to let her check her email from my computer since I had the modem with me and I almost fell asleep while she was doing so. As soon as she was done, I went to bed.