Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6, 2013

When I woke up this morning, I remembered I still had a packet of the 3-1 coffee concoction in one of my bags and managed to get water hot enough to dissolve it in using my drinking bottle as a mug. It was good enough to hold me out for a while.

The Wi-Fi connection was much stronger than it had been the night before, so I had a chance to catch up on my emails after three days without access to it. I sent another message to my sister on her birthday by posting it on her Facebook page as it was still May 5 in the States.

When breakfast time came around, the owner knocked on my door and brought in a tray containing the dreadful rice porridge, a few of those biscuits that taste like sawdust, and handful of an unknown dried fruit. There was a teapot as well. I tasted the rice porridge and found as vile as the other ones had been. When Elvira came into my room, I told to inform the owner I didn’t want any other breakfast at all.

We got a ride to the university where the training sessions were going to take place. Having access to a vehicle was really nice as we had a lot of stuff to carry on the first day. Several teachers were already congregating in what used to be the American Corner of Batken. A group of tables had been pushed together to form one round table that occupied most of the space.

I had been forewarned about the low level of the teachers in the city of Batken and Elvira asked me to speak slower than usual for them to be able to follow me. Doing the Venn diagram and talking about themselves proved challenging for some of them. When the coffee break came along, I served myself two big cups of the stuff to assuage what had started to be a massive headache.

Uluk and Jigy took us to a restaurant where I was able to eat a delicious plov and salad combination, and since we had enough time before resuming the training, we stopped at a local hardware store where I bought  a single burner hot plate to make coffee in my room. It only cost 250 soms or about $5.00 and I was tickled pink to know coffee would be at my fingertips the next day.

The teachers didn’t know anything about Bloom’s Taxonomy and so the afternoon session was devoted to this topic. Having the teachers come up with one question for each classification using the action words devised for the pyramid was next to impossible for some of them.

We were dropped off at the guesthouse and after changing into jean and sandals, Elvira and I went to explore the town. We found a cobbler around the corner who could repair the broken strap on my handbag and he charged 70 soms to do so right there and then.

We went looking for a supermarket where I could find staples to keep in my room that I could eat for breakfast. I settled for some cheese, salami, and flat bread along with the fruit I had leftover. We stopped at a restaurant where fish was on the menu and I had a decent meal of fried fish, mashed potatoes and salad along with a very cold beer.

Elvira and I were able to reconnect once the tension was gone and I had reiterated that my need for my own space and privacy were paramount. We were both glad that this was the tail end of our trip and we promised to strive to make the best of it so that our friendship would not suffer further damage.

The owner of the guesthouse was sitting outside when we got there, and I asked for a knife and an iron to press the wrinkles out of my clothes for this week. He showed me another room on the second floor where an ironing board and corresponding iron sat. He later returned with a knife for my salami and cheese.

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