As the Mahalla Turns...

Trip Start Sep 04, 2003
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Trip End Dec 20, 2003


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Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Oy! Where do I even start?

Ok, so I received a memory card and universal USB port converter thingie in my awesome birthday box, so I can actually post the pictures I take now! Yay! Figuring out how that worked, though, was very interesting...

So after an extremely busy day (no time for lunch even!), I decided around 6:00 to try to figure out how to post pictures, and ended up providing hours of entertainment for the internet cafe staff and patrons.

Once Ildar and Maxim figued out where and how to insert the USB port, we were baffled by the lack of pictures on the memory card (there were supposed to have been two.) I eventually figured out (with Muzaffar's 20% help/80% distraction) that the camera has dual memory capability and I had to switch from internal to card memory. Maybe this is common sense, but I only recently started using this camera at all! So, I switched it, and wanted to take a test photo to see if it would work. Well, didn't that simple desire turn into a mjor production! :) You can see the result in Image #1 (Nadia, Muzaffar and Ildar) and #2 (Ildar and myself).

I was thrilled that that worked, and couldn't wait to post them to see if I could figure out part #2 of the process (actually putting them in my post.) Alas, the internet server crashed right as I was starting. This is not unusual at all. So, I kicked back to wait a while-- I was expecting a call from Dilfuza, but not for a while, and I had no other pressing commitments. This is when the fun started.

...I swapped my discman for Muzaffar's cell phone, so that he could listen to my CDs and I could listen to the radio on his phone (which was very cool!)...

...I discussed "trash rock" wit 17 year old Daniel and 16 year old Artuz, and they critiqued my CD collection: Artuz gave "Take the Long Road and Walk It" a thumbs up, Daniel gave it a thumbs down after listening to it, and the rest of my CDs were rejected on name alone. These boys are into Metallica, Rammstein, Linkin Park, etc., and pop is anethema. That's fine, I just have to talk them /out/ of the Limp Bizkit! Yuck.

...I watched music videos that Muzaffar set up on my computer (Bumfunk MC's "Freestyler" was a very cool discovery!) and part of Ali G's movie "In Da House" on his computer...

I basically met all of the staff and regulars that I didn't really know yet, since I had really only talked to Rustlan, Ildar and Maxim so far, and very very little. Now I'm apparently one of the cool kids... actually, I think I might be a new mascot or something-- Ildar and Rustlan get the biggest kick out of telling people that I know Uzbek, but barely any Russian. I had so much fun just kicking back and hanging out with everyone! There was almost that stranded-in-an-airport-when-all-flights-have-been-cancelled vibe while we all waited for the server to come back online, and everyone is very quirky, which I like.

Ildar says I have a "very dangerous name"-- something about the "-gan" being a word for "weapon" or a specific weapon? I don't know. Of course, he also fancies himself a dragon ("You can either call me Ildar or Draco"), so I think someone has spent a little too much time in Dungeons and Dragons land. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

Muzaffar is very funny. Actually, I'm sure everyone is, but he speaks English really well (he was an exchange student to Oxford ten years or so ago when he was 14), so at this point, it's easiest for me to appreciate his sense of humor (it also helps that it's on the silly side.) He also told me why I hadn't seen Rustlan in a while-- apparently he got mugged and has been in the hospital for a week! Let's all hope he's released soon and is back on his feet again next week. Muzaffar and I decided that the computers crashed because they miss him.

Sidenote: I asked Muzaffar if Rustlan got mugged nearby (i.e. in my neighborhood). He said no. Even though he didn't say where he was mugged, it doesn't really matter, because no one let's me go anywhere by myself at night, anyway-- not even Nadia! (Tpo find out who Nadia is, keep reading.)

Eventually I gave up on the net and decided I was cutting it close to be home for Dilfuza's call. On my way out though, I was waylaid by Nadia (whom I had met when taking the test pictures) when in the cafe half of the internet cafe (think 2 buildings attached, and with an open doorway between. Nadia's friend who speaks fluent French was there, and I was pulled into conversation with her. And then the food came. And came. And came. It was actually cool to be able to speak French with Gulya (?), but for the first time, instead of speaking French when I was supposed to be saying a word in Uzbek, I was thinking in Uzbek instead of French!!! I was so shocked, but I had been thinking in and speaking in Uzbek for quite a few hours previously. I also met Igor and Nadia and Gulya's preteen daughters, who speak a little English. I left with the biggest headache, because I was constantly switching (either mentally or verbally) between English, French, Uzbek and Russian-- within each sentence!

Igor is concerned about how useful Uzbek will be for me. The following conversation was conducted in Russian and French via Gulya (who speaks Russian, Uzbek, French and some English):
I: You don't speak Russian? Why not?
M: I studied it, but I've forgotten a lot of it. Besides, I like Uzbek better.
I: But I don't understand. You can only speak Uzbek in Uzbekistan. You can speak Russian in many countries.
M: I know, but don't worry, I'm sure I'll find a use for it. ;-)

I eventually escaped at 10:00 (!), and was escorted home by Igor, at his and Nadia's insistence. I protested, but he was going to Oybek metro, anyway. And yes, I shook him before we got to my actual apartment, so that even though he's a nice guy, he doesn't know where I live. I've got it covered. :)

I felt so bad, though-- Dilfuza had been calling me on the hour and finally got me at 10:30. When she couldn't reach me earlier, she had called my teacher to see if I was alright, had been to class earlier, etc. I'm just glad neither of them called the Accels staff or Mavjuda!

Today, I got a clean bill of health from Dr. Ellen (YAY! I can go to Samarkand and Bukhara this weekend! Whoohoo!!!), went to Chorsu bazaar with Dilfuza (massive, cool place), and then to my Mahalla Guzari for lunch. (I will take pictures of my Guzari and post them to this entry soon!) They wanted to know why I didn't come yesterday! I have more people looking out for me than I know what to do with! Then I ran to class, and then here to update and try to post pictures. I'm so glad it works, becaue I'm really looking forward to being able to post pictures from my trip this weekend. YAY! :-D

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing very well! Until Monday.....
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