Monday, April 23, 2007


Now that the weather is getting nicer, I moved in to my own house and the fact that I haven’t done laundry in over a month, it’s time I start learning some new skills. One of those being hand-washing my clothes and the other will be cooking. This week I’m really excited to get to the store and buy some Barf laundry detergent (it’s actually called Barf) and figure out how to get my hands to do the work of a machine. I’ve been putting this off for quite some time now and can procrastinate no more. It’s moments like these when I really wish my host mother or nene wouldn’t have yelled at me whenever I tried to help with the laundry. I’ve been told I’m a fairly intelligent person, though, so I’m sure I can figure it out. Plus it’ll give me a chance to spend some quality time looking at my dinosaur mural, which is always pleasing.

Second, I’m going to actually start cooking real food. I’ve told a few of you that I typically make something really easy, like macaroni noodles that I cover with ketchup. This sounds kind of gross at first, but it’s actually quite good once you try it. Of course I mix in a good amount of butter too, and there you go, a delicious meal that requires absolutely no skill or brainwork. Another staple of mine is fried potatoes. I’m still perfecting this meal and have gotten a little better, but still have room for improvement. Another great meal that is really easy to make is eggs mixed up with tomatoes and onions. Mix this in with some of the fried potatoes and some Tabasco sauce, and you’re good to go. Clean up the slop with a slice of bread and you’ll be one happy camper. The Peace Corps gave us a cookbook that was developed by past volunteers and has a lot of good recipes. Starting this week, I hope to pick out a few recipes and head over to the bazaar to buy some supplies and cook myself a real meal of food. We’ll see how that goes.

This past weekend I was in Barda and Genja. Friday night we stayed with some volunteers in Barda and helped her with a trash pickup that she organized with one of the schools. A handful of us teamed up with a bunch of students and cleaned a couple of streets near the school and bazaar. We ran out of garbage bags and gloves too early, but overall, it was a good day. Once that was finished, we took a nap and took a short ride to Genja where we celebrated two of our friends’ birthdays. There was a good group of volunteers there so we had a ton of fun. I even got to play euchre! It’s nice getting together with some people from the Midwest that know how to play. On Sunday I made the long trip back home to Lankaran.

Things are going good at work now, too. We have started up our conversation clubs and our tourism booklet project is starting to get some wheels. There’s a lot of work to do still, so it should keep me busy for a while. I have another project idea that I want to start working on this week to create an athletic club for girls with some of the schools to give them more opportunities to play sports. Hopefully I can get parents and teachers involved as well and eventually I want to create a league and have the project move to other villages and towns (if it’s successful). We’ll see though. In other news, I’m going to get my first electric bill from my house, so I’m hoping it’s not too expensive. Today I was interviewed by a reporter from Lankaran TV doing a report about NGO’s and the roles they play, so I’ll soon be a celebrity, I’m sure. I forgot to put pictures of my parents’ visit up here, so here is one of a group of friends and my mom and dad at a restaurant in Baku. I still don’t have all the pictures from different cameras from that weekend, but should get those soon. The other pictures are Ashley and me standing next to the statues in Lankaran that we have named after ourselves and the last picture is the old prison in town. There’s a story that Stalin was kept as a prisoner there and escaped through underground tunnels to the lighthouse across town and then out to the Caspian. Finally, we have a picture of a bunch of chickens being cooked in a tandir oven. This oven and way of cooking is specific to Lankaran and this region. It’s a clay oven with a hole in the top and on the bottom they have hot coals/fire to heat the oven. The women working there will either put the chickens in there (stuffed with lavangi, of course) on a grill that they put in the bottoms, or they will slap the dough for the bread to the side. The bread and or chicken straight out of the tandir is really good and one of my favorite meals here. It’s even better than noodles covered with butter and ketchup. The last picture is one of the women working there. There are a bunch of tandir shops all around Lankaran and a cooked chicken costs us four manat, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me.


Anonymous Zach S. said...

If you are going to learn to cook. Please, please, learn to cook those chickens. They look awesome.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cokking must be real good. you haven't updated the blog in a while. :-)

7:21 PM  

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