Sunday, July 13, 2008

Get Your Own Damn Letters, Comrade!

I'm learning to read the Russian script. It's not that hard, since it's phonetic and it's not like I have to memorize thousands of Kanji. I hate not being able to read, and the tourist maps are all written in our letters while what few street signs there are are in Cyrillic, so the only way to get un-lost if you can't sound out the signs is by asking a loal, and I've found quite a few locals who don't know what the streets are called, either. And so, in short, I'm becoming literate.

I still remember the day in Sri Lanka that I finally sounded out the words "Seat Covers" on an advertizement we passed every day in our van. It was a thrill. The comparable thrill came today when without consulting a map, I read that we were on "Pavlov" street.

I do have a beef with the Ruskies, however. I don't mind if they borrow some of our letters. It makes it easier for me to memorize them, actually. But if they want to use our letters they should have to use the sound, too. Instead, they're all: "Oh, I like your P. It's really pretty. Let's make it sound like an R." and "Ooo, that B is so curvey and bubbly, it sure would make a nice V. Oh, and let's make it sound like an F at the end of a word, too, OK?" Bunch of pinko Commies, if you ask me. We have an R and a V and an F. Why don't you just take those?

Anyway, the gang (except for Rice Girl) shopped for picnic food at the Osh Market, and then we drove an hour to a park up in the mountains to eat it. Unfortunately, it started to rain as soon as we unpacked the food, so we sheltered under some trees until it was safe to walk back to the van, where Suze led us in a meditation which I tried to follow, despite my inherant skeptism, until I heard Tom, who is nearly deaf, whisper loudly to Denise: "Now, what are we waiting for?" He couldn't hear a word of the tranquil meditation. I decided to have my own meditation watching the rain drops on the van window merge and drip down the glass. It's difficult for me to suspend my disbelief during a group mediation in the best of circumstances.

Then we visited a tourist yurt in the middle of a monument to Manas. There was instense wind blowing against us all the way to the yurt, and when we got inside we discovered that the yurt had been damaged by the wind. Somehow I think that an actual, non-tourist yurt can withstand a wind storm. In the yurt, the crew played dress-up with the costumes available (put there for that purpose?), while I tried not to think about my intestines and took pictures.

I'm still on the BRAT diet this morning, because I had pizza for dinner, and it didn't sit well, but I've broken down and taken an immodium, so I can work today. There was a BBC special on our apartment TV this morning about Cordova. I'm already planning my next adventure. Now I need some Spanish lessons to go with my Cyrillic ones.

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