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Published: September 28th 2009
The Lenin Statue in OshDay 22, July 17, 2009, Friday, Juma:
Statues of Lenin remain everywhere in Kyrgyzstan.
Three weeks in Kyrgyzstan and I never really know what is coming next. I am now told that Colonel Nurmatov as some plans for us to see the country, especially some fine natural spots, with water. That may or may not delay the return to Bishkek. Late yesterday I was told that Gulnara, who is the boss, after all, wanted me to go to Kyzylkia to see the grandparents at the village. Then I was to fly back to Bishkek on Sunday. We will see just how far that gets. I keep saying that if we are going to buy an airline ticket we need to go to an airline office. But no one every has a sense of urgency about anything here. While it is charming, it is also slightly annoying to my American spirit of “...let's just get it done.”
I awoke late again this morning, but have managed to get my reading caught up. I only have about a week to finish “The Flashes” of Said Nursi before Emil comes from America. I promised to have completed it by that time. And he has also sent me a Sura
A new friend met in Osh.
of the Qu'ran to read when I finish the Nursi. I have got to stay on schedule with the reading, regardless of anything else.
One of Marat's friends who has accompanied me now on a couple of excursions has left Osh for his village. His grandmother has died and he has gone there to be with the rest of his family. I am sorry that I did not get an opportunity to express my support for him in his grief before he left. But I have been keeping him in my morning prayers and meditations.
Yesterday, Marat finally acquiesced to my request to hit the internet cassa and the bank. I always feel better when I have a pile of bills in my wallet and I needed to pay an overdue bill on the internet. It is hard to convince people here that much of my life is tied up in the technology I am carrying with me and that I have to go every two or three days to the internet cassa to take care of business. That the internet is not just for fun or some other purpose. The idea that one might actually conduct business
Teen-agers jumping from the platform
on a regular basis using the technology seems foreign to them. I do see advertisements that I think are for wireless services from MegaCom and BeeLine, two very big mobile phone companies. But getting anyone to help me negotiate that seems impossible. Maybe when Emil comes, I can convince him that we need to get a key that will allow us access when possible to save money and time. I have managed to convince everyone that I have to buy 200 Soms worth of mobile phone time per purchase. I just showed Marat what one call to the US ran me and he agreed. Sometimes, though, dealing with Marat is a little like dealing with his cousin, Timka. They often think alike. And Marat's skills in English have declined some since last summer. That is partly, I think, because he is not in school at the moment, and he is not practicing and using the English he knows. We are, like Timka, working with a Russian-English dictionary to translate certain concepts. Yesterday, with Gulbara, I learned that the Russian word for wasp was acas when she tried to describe what had bitten Kuba on the leg. We saw yellow-jacket wasps
at the swimming pool yesterday and I had a picture of one to show that I understood what it was.
Marat and I, along with a new friend, Nurdin, went to a swimming pool yesterday to get out of the heat. The water was cold and brisk, probably about 68 degrees, but once I was in it I found it really pleasant. I swam some off and on for about two hours. We rented a little shelter with two wooden slat beds and had a small stool table brought so we could have Coca-Cola and water brought to us. The place had an entrance fee of about 100 Soms each, and charged 10 Soms per hour for the cabin area. The pool was mostly occupied by youngsters. There were children of young age at the shallow end, and a group of daredevil teenagers jumping and diving with limited skill from a platform that may have once had a diving board on it. Several severe looking characters were acting as lifeguards, but I never saw or heard a whistle, or commands to stop running, etc. There were a few pretty girls when we arrived, but the prettiest came about 3
A couple of beauties
Two young women we met at the pool.
p.m. So we all agreed that we should come to the pool about 3 p.m. The next time during the middle of the week. I took lots of pictures and we had a really good time.
That was the adventure for the day. Then home to watch some video of Kyrgyz music performances that included a lot of video shot in and around Osh by the Bass music company. Some of it is pretty good, but some of the video seemed to make no sense at all even to Marat. I thought at first that I was having a language gap, but he assured me that he did not understand the symbolism either in some of them. Others just needed better editing and a little better set decoration, etc.
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