Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Well, I thought I would take advantage of the free WiFi here in Istanbul to give you an update on the trip to Dushanbe thus far.

I flew out from D.C. on the evening of February 1st - I'll arrive in "the 'Stan" early in the morning of February 3rd. I essentially go through customs and then immediately meet my host family.

Highlights of the journey thus far include:
- Gruff and unsmiling German flight attendants unsuccessfully trying to get airplane passengers to fasten their seat belts.
- Ambivalent Turkish flight attendants not really caring whether seat belts were buckled, tray tables were up, or electronics turned off.
- Bored Turkish police officers reading books while guarding passport control centers.
- Scarily plastic surgery-ed  European women. Collagen has never seemed so terrifying.
- Unlimited free samples of Turkish Delight in Istanbul Duty Free Shops. It's Hazer Baba brand - pretty generic. But it's free.
- Knitting - on the plane, during layovers. I'm getting fairly good at it, and will most likely end up knitting one of my host siblings something over the course of my stay in Tajikistan.
- Europeans don't believe in water fountains. I had to pay 3 Euro for a bottle of water.

Concerns thus far include:
- Learning the Cyrillic alphabet. While Farsi uses, for the most part, the Arabic alphabet, the Tajik dialect uses Cyrillic and borrows words from Russian. I've managed to avoid learning a third alphabet - but I'll have to buck up and figure out Cyrillic.
- Meeting the host family. It's gonna be awkward. I'll be jet lagged, and we speak different dialects of Persian. Communication will be rough at first, so I'm bracing myself for the first week of life with my host family.

Worries aside, I'm thrilled. The "holy-crap-I'm going-to-Tajikistan" adrenalin rush has finally hit, and I'm ready to land in Dushanbe and get my "boots on the ground."

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