Sunday, August 9, 2009

‘Arse Shalom dar Tajikiwickistan’

The language is a doddle, honest! a mixture of Russian shapes and Farsi scrip with a few extra throaty growls. Is this the last bastion of a secret Welsh empire?

Regards to all, and immense apologies to those I did not catch up with before leaving, in fact there are too many to mention from Cornwall to Suffolk, from Bedminster to Worcester…. And so on and so forth, the irony being I have oodles of tajik time to fill.

So taking on board Darren’s comments that my last futile effort at blogging was cumbersome and long winded, I will try to refrain from rambling and for Ed’s benefit metamorphose from a cantankerous old man to something more enlightening and enigmatic.

Dushanbe (Dooshambai) is actually really really pleasant, ageing tree line avenues, parks a plenty and fountains to meet all your watery needs. The warm/ hot weather, minimal traffic, especially as President Rahmon has the main drag closed for his motorcade at least twice a day and nearly permanently for the visiting Turkish premier, however it does mean that strolling and cycling around the abandoned eight-lane road is a utopia places like Bristol can but dream about.

With supermarkets, restaurants and an abundance of teahouses it’s easy forget you are in the world’s 144th poorest county. Herein lies the problem, a few (corrupt) have the money, the influence and the cultural status to become untouchable. I am sure within a few weeks I will hit the wall of ambivalence and join with the other hundreds of aid workers here in Dushanbe chipping away at the status quo.

So some key points:

Living in a luxurious mansion, balcony, courtyard with Tommy Terrance the Terrifying Tortoise and Jo the other VSO volunteer. (She is working with disabled kids that officially don’t exist).

It is extortionately expensive here, inflation is rocketing and the Somoni is plummeting against hard currencies, obviously I can no longer include the pound in that statement.

The snow capped mountains hang like curtains around the city, where the other 95% of the population live in worsening conditions.

I have mobile access (but no texting)….+992985165732 so pick up the blower or skype (4hrs ahead).

An open invite to all to share in the experience, it definitely would be an eye opener. There are VISA hurdles so let me know well in advance – BalticAir, Sleasyjet of the Rooskey Skies.

1 comment:

brinker said...

Hi there. I'm Dawn greeting you from the Sultanate of Oman.

Don't worry, no, you haven't forgotten a long-lost friend from 1st grade. You don't know me. :)

I'm considering accepting a job in Tajikistan. So, in typical country-research fashion that I'm sure you've used as well, I first set out reading wikipedia, and the CIA factbook, and Lonely Planet, and other random info sites around the net. Then I set out to find expat blogs. And guess whose I found. :)

I realize there's no obligation to say "hi," but my own sense of blog etiquette says it's polite to at least leave a comment so you know a random stranger is reading it, and to say thanks for writing such an interesting one. So I hope you don't mind me lurking.

Incidentally, my own blog is over at http://brinker.livejournal.com/ . (There are some random comments about life in Oman, but it tends to be more random topic'y than yours.) Not that I expect you to have any reason to be interested, but again, personal internet etiquette seems to me that if you're going to read someone's blog, you should at least tell them where yours is.

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