Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

I had notified the staff at the guesthouse that I didn’t want to be served their salty rice porridge for breakfast, and instead requested two boiled eggs. The woman at the front desk put on a frown and didn’t look too happy. I had eggs, cold, waiting for me this morning and neither salt nor pepper was available until I requested them. Only salt was to be had.

My presentation on body language and its importance for all teachers, but especially for these ones who plan on becoming trainers themselves, went quite well I felt. It was evident they didn’t have much knowledge about it since completing the worksheet where they could match a gesture to a meaning became quite challenging for them.

Elvira continued with speaking activities and then we stopped for the day as it was an official holiday in the country and normally the teachers don’t work on Labor Day. We went in search of a decent meal before heading to the hot springs sanatorium we have been recommended.

It was only half past twelve, but none of the four “restaurants” we stopped at had any plov available only lagman noodles and other fried treats. Frustrated once again, I agreed to just have a snack on the way to the resort in the hope we could find a better place to eat there.

We boarded a marshrutka into town and immediately found a taxi heading to the resort. Since it was a holiday, the place was swarming with people, especially love birds necking everywhere. We stopped at two restaurants and neither had plov to serve. Other restaurants informed us reservations needed to be made ahead of time for them to prepare food.

We had no better luck in accessing the bath as it had been closed at 2:00 pm because of the holiday. Of course, that didn’t make sense to me since I felt the place could have made a killing by serving the throngs of people milling around, but they don’t think in that way around here.

Music was blaring from some loudspeakers and we headed into a clearing where a paunchy middle age DJ was playing what Elvira identified as Kyrgyz music, but which sounded exactly like the  same highly syncopated shrill Russian music I’ve come to dislike listening to around here.

Elvira told that just like in Tajikistan, female dancers can only move from the waist up so as to avoid any suggestive moves using their hips. I tried to dance to the beat but found it too slow and repetitive, not to mention the fact that we were trying to dance under the hot sun in the middle of the afternoon.

We walked around the grounds some more while I took some photos of statues and some passersby who agreed to have their photo taken including an Uzbek family that I took for being Tajik. I then went across the street to photograph a grove of pistachio trees, something I’d never seen before.

Having been unsuccessful in securing a meal, we went back to town and found a restaurant with open air sitting where I ordered solyanka soup and a Korean salad. Evidently, the cook had dumped a pound of salt into my salad for I gagged on the first forkful and refused to eat anymore of it. Elvira mentioned it to the waitress, who took the salad back, indicated she’d rinsed it and brought it back to us. I refused to eat it.

I ate the soup with the flat bread we’d brought with us and had a very cold Baltika 7 beer and felt satiated. We just chatted for a while before agreeing it was time to find a beauty salon where we could get respective pedicures, but just as in the resort, none of the four establishments we went to had the necessary equipment to do pedicures.

I settled for having my hair colored and after agreeing to a price of 200 soms, went nearby to buy two bottles of chestnut hair dye and returned to the beauty salon where a young woman applied it to my hair in a manner I’d had never seen before. Once she rinsed it out, I told her I didn’t need to have it blown dried and she opened her eyes in amazement.

We rode back to the guesthouse in a crowded marshrutka. I stopped at the convenience store and bought water before retiring to my room.

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