Thursday, March 4, 2010

48 Hours

(This happened back in Janauary; the month when interesting things
were still happening)

This past weekend managed to be really busy for me. It doesn't always
happen that way, but I decided to write up a detailed account. It will
probably bore most of you guys, but it was fun while it was happening!

7:30 PM Finish work and meet my friend to go to Avatar
8:00 PM Avatar in a real movie theater on a big screen, but with
really old seats that slanted funny
11:00 PM Meet AC at his place to hang out
11:45 PM Decide to check out a place I'd heard described as an
Almatanski (Almaty-like. If you want to turn a noun into an adjective
in Russian, usually you add ski if it's a place. Ni if it's a thing.
American => Americanski. Applecin (orange) => Applecini (orange
adjective (fruit, not color)). Palmedor (tomato) => Tomatni (tomato
adjective)) café. What was that I asked. You know, she said, it's
different. No, I said, I didn't know. She finally said candles, and
films on the walls, and just classier feeling.
12:00 AM Discover Taraz has a legit Lounge! So Almaty café = lounge.
Meaning, dim lighting, couches surrounding tables. Somewhat overpriced
drinks. Loungey music playing. And they also have an actual bar with
barstools there as well. Also a rare commodity. (Said Lounge is
Bacardi Bar and Lounge on Toli Bi behind Fresno if you ever want to
12:15 AM Meet manager of said lounge when she comes over and speaks to
us. Gives us her business card and says we're always welcome. Points
out a British guy at the bar.
12:30 AM Meet said British guy when he comes over to talk with us.
He's been working in Kstan for 8 years, but has been in Taraz for
about 2 weeks.
12:35 AM British ex-pats two friends come and join us.
1:00 AM We decide to go dancing at Navigator.
1:05 AM The five of us squeeze into a taxi and go to Navigator
1:10 AM Arrive at Navigator
1:15 AM Dancing begins.
4:00 AM Dancing ends.
4:10 AM Arrive home.
10:45 AM Wake up.
11:00 AM Leave for work on a Saturday begrudgingly.
11:20 AM Arrive at work to find that no one else has shown up for the
meeting as well.
11:30 AM Meet with Faruq who will take us to play soccer with some
people at his school.
12:00 PM Marks meets Faruq and me at work.
12:02 PM Leave for Faruq's school.
12:40 PM Arrive at Faruq's school to see children there in uniforms.
You guys had school today? Yeah, it's the first day back from break.
On a Saturday (yes, they children go to school on Saturday here). Why
12:50 PM Meet the director of Faruq's school and have a normal
conversation. Okay, so maybe after a year in a country I should expect
to be pretty good in a language, but I'm honestly amazed at how easily
I can communicate with people. It still seems strange to me that I can
talk with people.
1:00 PM Begin to play soccer. It is me, Mark, Faruq, and another kid
versus four other kids. I am 24, Mark is 27, they are all about 15. We
are playing indoor soccer at Faruq's school because I asked my
colleagues if they knew where we could play soccer. They talked to a
friend, and the friend said we could play there. Not quite what I had
intended, but it worked out well. The gym was rather small though,
probably about 3/4 of an actual basketball gym. The ball went out of
bounds a lot.
1:30 PM Win the first game with a score of about 3-2. Begin game two
with kids about 17 years old.
1:31 PM The other team scores their first goal.
2:00 PM Lose game to older kids with a score of about 4-2.
2:05 PM Go to lunch at the school with Faruq, Mark, and some of the
teachers. They offer us chai and kasha (porridge). Mark says that chai
and porridge are not good when someone is running around. They
disagree. I stay silent and drink the chai and eat my porridge. It's
my first meal in about 24 hours. I didn't have time to eat before
Avatar and I don't usually eat breakfast.
2:25 PM We begin game two of soccer.
2:45 PM Game two of soccer turns into a strange mix of basketball and
rugby. Perhaps it actually resembled Team Handball, but since I don't
really understand that game, I can't say for sure.
2:55 PM Soccer is pretty much over for the day, but we try to reassemble a game.
3:00 PM Mark says he needs to get going. I agree, and we bid the
school farewell.
3:10 PM Get on a bus going back to the center where my office is.
3:20 PM While Mark and I are talking in English, a guy on the bus
interrupts and asks, "Excuse me, but are you speaking English?" in
English. I answer, "No." He says he studied in American ten years ago,
but not he works on a bus.
3:30 PM Call Jennie who just had book club to ask her to go to lunch
at Mark's house.
3:40 PM Arrive at Mark's house for lunch. This is the third meal I've
eaten there in a span of five days. His host mom is a great cook. I
only self-invited myself over Tuesday. (Thursday was shoshlik and Mark
invited us. It was Jessica's first time eating shoshlik. She used to
be vegetarian, and still hasn't completely given it up. I argued that
if she is going to eat meat in Kstan, then she should at least eat
delicious meat.)
3:50 PM Chris tells Mark that he and Laura are about 15 minutes from
Taraz. They were supposed to get in at 5:00 and meet us at my place.
4:00 PM We are served our food. Beans with meat, a side of cabbage,
and a side of rice. Yes, beans! Beans! I know! A local cooked
something with beans. This is the first time I have ever seen this in
4:15 PM Jennie arrives at Mark's house. She too is amazed by the beans.
5:00 PM We leave Mark's house and call Chris. No answer.

Michael Hotard
+7 777 323 8192
Peace Corps Volunteer - Kazakhstan

No comments: