Ash's Azer Adventure

Hello everyone! The following is my blog about my 27 month trip to Azerbaijan working with the Peace Corps. I am a part of the 4th group sent to Azerbaijan and am in the Community Economic Development (CED) Program working with local companies to help them operate better in the world. Hopefully I’ll have some fun stories and cool pictures from traveling around Asia Minor and Eastern Europe. This blog is in no way related to the Peace Corps or their opinions. I hope you all enjoy…

Monday, December 18, 2006

Some interesting times this week…

The past week was fairly status quo. We only had power at work for 2 hours at the end of Friday for the entire week, my boss was gone all week, I was bored out of my freaking mind, it was cool and windy, and it snowed in the northern part of the country this weekend (and in Georgia thankfully because the ski mountain is really lacking and we are leaving in 2 weeks). I found an American $1 bill on the ground today. People carry them over here a little bit, I just thought that was a random deal. And the answer to the question that has been bothering you all weekend, I had to take Nene’s undies off of the drying line this evening…

On Wednesday evening I went to a cemetery and then ate dinner with 15 old men I don’t know that only speak Azeri for 3 hours because my neighbors’ son died 1 year ago. Lot’s of chanting and reading from the Koran. Needless to say it wasn’t that fun. It was like when you were a kid and your parents had a dinner party and they made you sit at the table with them and all their friends, but you couldn’t really talk to anyone and no one talked to you, you just had to sit there until everyone was done, then you hauled ass to your room or to watch TV. Thank you Nene for getting me in on that gig. I came home and she told me she took me to a wedding to show me a fun Azeri thing and sent me to this to show me an un-fun Azeri thing…greatness. After thinking about it that night though, I am glad she sent me. It was a different cultural thing that most other volunteers won’t get to experience. On their tombstones (which are usually a glossy marble) they carve a detailed picture of the person from their shoulders up just before they died (so you can tell how old they are without reading). It is kinda cool and kinda creepy at the same time because you can see who it is that’s buried there, but you also have all of those faces looking at you that are dead and under your feet. I haven’t made my final decision yet.

Today Nene came into my room and asked me if I had a good movie for her to watch. Tom and I went through my movies and gave her 2 options based on entertaining to watch when you don’t understand the words and nothing with too much violence or any sexual scenes of any kind: Monster’s Inc. and Pirates of the Caribbean were offered. Nene chose Pirates, so the 3 of us sat down to watch the movie in surround sound with peanut M&M’s and cherry Kool-aide. About half way into the flick Nene reaches over, grabs a handful of M&M’s, swings her arm back hard and nails her mug of red cherry Kool-aide and spills it everywhere! It was AWESOME! Tom and I died laughing and proceeded to call her “baby” since she constantly says we are babies. She was cracking up, high comedy indeed. Nene loved the movie! She is hilarious to watch movies with because she makes all of these noises when stuff happens, will say “why why why” (in English) when she doesn’t like something, will crack up laughing at random stuff, and lets you know if the actors are good looking or fat. She really likes Kiera Knightly-I don’t blame her one bit…

Today officially ended my longest non-clean campaign of Azerbaijan so far-9 glorious days. I was starting to get a little ripe, but not near as bad as most people. What that does is get me extremely excited about “The Great American Stink Off” Tom and I are going to have next winter. The 17 day record doesn’t stand a chance man…

Since a lot of people really enjoyed my budget blog, here’s a smaller version for this week in Baku for our training:

Hotel is paid for directly from PC-$25/person/night

$5 each way for our travel to and from Baku

$12 per day for full days there and $8 per day for ½ days we are there (Tuesday and Saturday are travel days so we don’t get full per diem) for food and expenses which will break down daily to:

$1-big Snickers/fruit and water for breakfast

$1 or $2-street vendor sandwich or cheap local fast food for lunch

$5-$7-dinner of pizza, McDonald’s, nachos, chicken strips, or a meatloaf bacon cheeseburger

$3-$5-beers or to buy a bootleg DVD (we already have a few we need like the new James Bond)

I can buy a huge plate of nachos and a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s for $7-I may eat that each night except for 1 night of spicy bacon pizza!!!

For the comedy section of this week’s blog, Tom and I are scheduled to cook chips and salsa, garlic bread and lasagna for 10 Azeri friends and co-workers in Lenkeran on Christmas Eve afternoon. We will be making everything from scratch (minus the bread) and should do a bang up job! We have a cookbook that volunteers in AZ have put together over the past couple of years, so we will be relying heavily upon that. Please keep us in your thoughts this Holiday Season that we don’t completely mess it up! We are planning on having a feast of Kraft Mac&Cheese, Raman Noodles, M&M’s, Doritos, Slim Jims, Pringles, Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows, Gatorade and Kool-aide on Christmas day!!!

Sorry, no pictures this week. There should be a ton in the next 2 weeks’ blogs from Christmas and skiing in Georgia

Merry Christmas from 12,000 miles away everyone!!!


At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i may love nene. my kind of girl. and that's so weird that you found american currency on the ground. crrrrazy.

seems like everything is going well and i hope that you have a wonderful christmas....we'll be thinking of you :)

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

eew! I'm glad you guys won't be deprived of a good Christmas feast. enjoy! I hope whoever sent you all that junk food also sent some Pepto! :) Merry Christmas!

Go Bears!

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'll be thinking about you on Christmas. hope you have a merry one and have some pringles for me! LOL.


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