Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So, on my walk to work one morning something funny happened. At least I was amused, which admittedly doesn’t take much, so hopefully you all will be too. My office is about a 25 minute walk from my house and is basically a straight shot down one main road. I was walking down the road, just minding my own business when, from way behind me (like a couple blocks), I hear the unmistakable sound of a bell being rung from a bicycle. Lots of kids in my neighborhood ride backs and like to ride circles around me as I walk home and ask me random questions, so I figured one of the kids saw me and was cruising down the street to say, “Hello, what is your name?” So I keep walking and I keep hearing the RING RING getting closer and closer. Now, the RING RING is just about next to me and all of a sudden there is a flurry of RING RINGs as the bike rider slows down and pulls up next to me and rides at my walking pace. I look over to see an old man, probably around 50 or so, staring right at me. RING RING, he says. He followed that up with a quizzical stare that I returned to him. After saying hello and then asking him what he wanted with a simple wave of my hand (you know what I’m talking about), I looked away. He stared at me for a few more seconds and said … (wait for it) … RING RING RING RING RING RING and rode away. I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder what the hell had just happened. And now on to this week’s update.

Last weekend ROCKED!!! Team Lankaran decided to take the night train into Baku, so we left around 9:00 Friday night and arrived around 6:30 Saturday morning. A long train ride to be sure, but with music, beverages and snacks (FUNYONS RULE!!!) it can be a fun ride. Once we arrived in Baku we went right to the Peace Corps lounge where there was already a good number of our friends trying to catch up on some sleep and hang out until they could go to the houses they were staying at for the weekend. The Peace Corps calls other Americans that live in the area and arrange for us to stay at their houses for a night or two. Ashley and I stayed with the same couple we stayed with last year. They’re really nice and have an amazing house. We got there around 11 and they were just getting up and making breakfast so we were treated to eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon. Needless to say, it was awesome. Ben, Carlo and Jason also stayed with us. During the day, we decided to relax at the house and have some beers while we swam in the pool and sat in the sauna. Great Peace Corps experience, right? Around 3:30 or so it was time to start preparing our dish to bring to the party. This year was a potluck party with volunteers bringing pies and mashed potatoes and things like that while the embassy provided the turkeys and stuffing and the house and main items. We made mashed potatoes. They were delicious. A little after 5, we headed out to the party only getting a little lost along the way. We made it there in time, though, and got some appetizers and chatted up our friends and Peace Corps staff. It was funny watching people react to the appetizers. One server would walk in with a tray full of chicken nuggets and volunteers would be running from different rooms to grab one or two. You would think we’d never eaten before. Then came the real meal. You know you have served yourself well when you walk by other people and they stare at your plate and say, “Oh wow.” I done well. Twenty minutes later, I couldn’t move. The food was incredibly good. I covered everything in tons of gravy. For the first 5 minutes, I stared at my plate, just soaking in all the Thanksgiving wonderfulness. Dinner was amazing and so was dessert. Shortly afterwards, it was time for the talent show.

Many of you have probably already heard, but Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne made an appearance at the party. Ashley and I have been trying to figure out a way to outdo last year’s performance so several months ago we decided it would be funny to dress up as Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne, since they are both really awesome performers. A few days before the party, we were practicing at my house and trying to decide how we could have some chatter in between the songs we played and came up with the idea to do a “VH1 Storytellers” skit. After I got up on stage and played Dave Matthews Band’s Warehouse solo, I headed to the basement to get beautified as Kelly Clarkson. Ashely was already dressed as Avril when I got down there and our beautician, our PCV friend Karen, was putting on his makeup. It was my turn next and then we patiently awaited our turn at the end of the show. Some of the staff was cleaning up dishes and taking down the tables and saw Ashley and I sitting in the room preparing and just laughed at us. One lady freaked out and started yelling something in Russian then petted the tuft of hair on my chest. She then walked away laughing hysterically. Ashley and I just about lost it there. Finally we got called up on stage and performed quite possibly the most ridiculous performance ever. It took us a while to prepare for this too, because Ashley can’t play guitar so I had to learn all of his songs as well as mine so I could teach him how to play at least a little. We played a duet together as the last song, and I’ve been told that we melted at least one face (Joyce’s). If you ask me how Ashley and I look dressed in drag, I’ll tell you its incredibly hideous and more than a little frightening. Everyone else at the party seemed to think that I was quite attractive. Not sure what I think of that, but compliments are compliments. I’ll take what I can get.

And so now the last month’s whirlwind tour of Azerbaijan is complete. I look forward to resting and getting back into a normal routine again. I’m having some troubles with my house that I need to get fixed. The gas line that heats my house is very weak and doesn’t light. The landlord has come over to look at it but I need to follow up with them and find out what the deal is before winter really starts. I’m concentrating a little more on my Russian lessons as well and hope to get into more of a routine for that as well. For real Thanksgiving, Team Lankaran will be sitting around someone’s house, eating some good food, some pumpkin pie (thanks to Becky, I believe) and watching movies. In other words, we’ll be doing nothing. I’ve posted some pictures of people getting food last Saturday, people sitting in the room of the talent show and Kelly and Avril. I’m still collecting more and hope to get those up next week. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!


Anonymous Zach said...

I'll have more later, but... just... just awesome.

Happy Turkey Day, Turkey Tom.

12:36 PM  

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