Sunday, January 23, 2005

Adventure 1 

I am traveling with my little sister, so I know many of you are expecting these great sagaistic tales of adventure and woe. I'd hate to disappoint, so I'll see what we can get into.

It didn't take too long for events to take an...exciting turn.

One of my first nights here in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, was spent in a disco. Yes, I know. Most of you that know me know that dancing and dance clubs are not my favorite place to spend time. Well, this is Uzbekistan and I figured it'd be more interesting than at home. I was right.

It was a nice place, though unlike a fancy club in the States people were not all dressed up in the fanciest shite. I saw many jeans (nice one) and more casual attire (by US club standards). Me? Looking as good as possible. Oversized travel pants and a fleece. I left my flannel at home.

The music was pretty good. Heard a lot of US songs (Nelly, Usher, etc), and many repeats (requests doubled and tripled up some songs). No worries.

The crowd. Whew. Very cosmopolitan. Uzbeks, Russians, a Candadian (?), 1 Americans, Tajics, Uyghers, Koreans, and many other nationalities I don't know. All dancing differently. Not the huge bouncing gyrating crowd I'm used to seeing. Little pockets of differing moves. Fun to watch, which is all I was there to do. Here are some of my faves:

The guy in a suit (sans tie) who stood in the middle of the floor, right hand in his pocket, left hand snapping. No other movement except his head that was chick scoping.

Another guy all in black with a black beret. Stared out at the floor, intensely morose and volatile.

2 Russian girls. Not to generalize, but I've decided that Russian girls scare me. Russians are not a small race, and many of the girls I see are taller than me. These girls were....bigger than me and very drunk. At one point they offered me a shot of vodka. I declined in fear. Later, as I stood and talked with one of my new friends (sis's old friend), one of them ran a finger or 2 down my back (they were sitting next door) then reached a hand out as I moved away and stared as though she were going to grab my ass. Frigthened, I fled to the dance floor to join my sis and her other friend. They were surprised to see me and amused at the look of abject terror on my face. A few minutes later, while they laughed at my story, the abover girls stumbled onto the floor. The scarier girl shoved some random girl who turned, grabbed hold of the 3 foot bleached blonde ponytail, and pulled it off! The now hairfree girl lunged and was kicked out screaming and convulsing by the Russian bouncers. I remained in hiding until her friend joined her outside

The Russian bouncers. Ya seen those movies with big Russian dudes wearing running and sweat suits? They exist. These guys were all around the floor keeping order. Very large men. Nice enough though. I think. I can't speak Russian, you know.

I guy we met at the english institute earlier in the day (taking care of business) who followed us around for the rest of the night. This dude was mostly full of shit about everything he said. Claimed to be a saint who could work miracles at will. A vegan, though he ate meat for dinner because it was "a holiday". He is also going to personally eradicate violence in the world and make all women sane. Like I said, the guy was full of it. Anyway, when we first got to the club he told me that he was a terrible dancer (true) and was shy so he'd only dance in a large group (very untrue). Minutes later he followed my sis onto the floor and spent the rest of the night (regardless of how crowded or empty the floor became) with his eyes mostly to fully closed, head back, arms scattered all over hell, moving to some beat that wasn't coming out of any speakers I could hear with a huge idiot grin plastered to his face. Yes, he looked silly, but he looked so blissfully happy and unaware that is was great!

The place closed at 5am, but we left early. 4:15AM.

Now, how would you get home at 4Am in a strange ex-Soviet city? Taxi, right? Not us! No taxi, no bus, no walking (way too far). No, we didn't find bicycles. We hitchhiked. The club was down a dark road so we stumbled back to the main ride (tired tired tired), past a couple of policemen (no harassment which was nice. I was too tired to enjoy that) and down the road a ways. Hands out until a car stopped. The guy stopped because he recognized us from the bus earlier that day! How strange is that?

Good times

Now after almost a week in Tashkent we are heading out. A bus will take us to Bukhara this afternoon where we will probably be staying with a couple more of my sis's friends. After a fdw days there, to the small town she worked in back in her Peace Corps day. Then: Samarkand, Khiva, and I forget where else until we get back here in early Feb. Should be a blast. Don't worry, I have a ton of film and a couple mostly empty memory cards for the dig (don't worry, R. I took out the card with the last downloaded pics of us togehter so they're safe).

Word out

Hey Corey...I'll have you know that I've shared some of these "adventures" with my sophomore students...so now you've made it into the American culture's Sophomore Lit and Comp curriculum. Congrats! If you've never read Jon Krakauer's _Into the Wild_ I suggest that you do.... my students are enjoying that book, and I thought that I'd share that I know someone of the same mindset. They all think McCandless is nuts, and I'm doing my best to defend. :) Take care, and travel on! --Meredith (Paul's girl) PS--happy belated birthday!
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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com