Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 6

July 6, 2013

I had quite a hectic day starting with my attempt to finish packing the second suitcase to see how much room I’d have in my carrying-on bag. It was all bad news for I couldn’t fit in everything I had accumulated plus present I’ve received and the ones I’ve bought.

It then occurred to me to find out how much the Turkish Airlines might charge for excess baggage, but what I found through Google was a complicated table that required I specify the zone and airport I was flying to and from so that the site could give me the appropriate amount. It didn’t make any sense since I’ll be flying into four different airports anyway.

Zarina called early on to say she wanted to come by to have a chance for a proper goodbye. Since I was expecting Gulnara from Forum to come by as well to finally pick up the boxes of materials, I told her to drop by whenever she could and then I could have her call the Turkish Airlines for specific guidelines on my luggage.

Rebecca sent a text message indicating we were to meet her at a German-style restaurant near her house, we agreed to meet in front of her apartment at 6:30 and walk from there. I forwarded the message to both Willoughby and Luann, who both confirmed their attendance.

Zarina came bearing two pieces of pastry from Vanilla Sky and another present, a wall clock with images of Kyrgyzstan in the background. She indicated she wanted to give me something I could look at all the time and think of her. I have no idea how I’m going to pack this gift.

We were able to sit down to a cup of coffee and the pastries, talk about many topics and for me to give her some additional teaching materials as well. She took the two dozen hangers I’d bought for the apartment, the calendar I’d no longer use and some fridge magnets, too.

Willoughby came along and after chitchatting with Zarina, the three of us left the flat so we could proceed to our respective destinations. Zarina indicated a desire to see me one more time before my departure, but I wasn’t so sure there’d be a chance for that.

The marshrutka dropped us off near Rebecca’s place and we waited at the corner for Luann and the birthday girl to meet us. Rebecca came accompanied by her boyfriend, Sasha, whom I hadn’t met before, and she was wearing the pair of earrings I’d brought her from Kathmandu last year.

We then walked to a German/Russian restaurant where we sat in a courtyard at what looked like picnic tables. I ordered a pair of German sausages, grilled, and a salad along with carbonated water. When they came, the sausages hadn’t been grilled, but fried and the salad contain bits of tough beef pieces in it. No flat bread was available.

I learned that to make a toast, Russians first have to order what they call a “chaser”, in this case, salted fish with sliced onions and boiled potatoes. David and Daniel had joined us by then and the round of toasts started getting a bit old as everyone of us had to offer a toast to Rebecca that would sound somewhat different.

There were no mosquitoes out, that was quite a relief, and the conversation was animated. Most of the group members were planning on going to the Alar Cha trek the next morning, so we discussed the logistics and agreed on a place and time to meet. I shared a taxi with David to go back to my flat.

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