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08:59 pm: two days in my life
Tuesday

I woke up early at Fausto’s house; peering through the lacy curtains with sleepy eyes I saw an orangeish sky. Dawn already. I lay awake in bed, thinking of the coming day after my five hours of sleep. It’s just not enough at my advanced age.

I reluctantly got out of bed to rush home, then off to my morning class.

Today is Oraza Eid (in other places called Eid ul-Fitr), a Muslim celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. It’s an important day to go to Mosque, and the locals heeding the morning call to prayer filled the entire mosque, its expansive courtyard, the sidewalks, and the whole street was packed with men lined up on their prayer rugs. The mullah’s voice resonated across the quiet morning as commuters fled from motionless buses, huffing up the street past praying Muslims.

At home, after gulping down a cup of coffee and a few bites of naan, I grabbed my books and headed to Chinese class. After a restless two hours that normally would have been four (Kazakh class cancelled due to the holiday), I came back home and basked in a couple solitary hours spent alternating between bumbling around my house doing little things and half-heartedly cracking a book.

In the afternoon, I wandered down the road to hang out with David, whom I have not seen much of lately. We talked for a couple hours about Xinjiang, future plans, and classes. In that time, a call came from my Kazakh teacher’s daughter, inviting me over to their house for the festival. It’s customary to go to friends’ and relatives’ homes to have some snacks, eat some meat, chat, and then move on to the next one.

I arrived to find a house empty of guests except myself. My teacher sauntered in with wildly messy hair and around-the-house clothing, and started ordering her daughter to bring tea, spoons, fruit. I admired the dastarkhana spread of pastries, Kazakh cheese-type stuff, fruit and nuts. Soon the meat appeared and I was ordered to je (eat), and after that dumplings appeared and I was ordered to je some more. About the time I was preparing to bid farewell (these holiday visits are intended to be short and sweet) a gaggle of Kazakh women showed up. I had to je some more, had a bit of conversation with them, and got to listen to them talk about me in Kazakh. I could understand most of what they said, I’m very proud to say.

I left with the gaggle, made my way home with a gift of several kilos of raw mutton, and nearly immediately left again to have ice cream with a traveler coming through the region who had crashed on my couch a few weeks ago and an American archaeologist I met recently in a supermarket.

The ice cream store is run by a friendly Uzbek man who once discovered I’m studying Kazakh and ever since only replies to anything I say in Chinese in Uyghur. Close enough, I can understand.

The three of us were happily going on mostly about systems of education until the above-mentioned proprietor began yawning loudly and eventually got up to close the shop doors. We took the cue, paid up, and headed home.

My head hit the pillow and I was in total oblivion until

Wednesday

Another early morning class. I woke up an hour before class started and managed to peel myself away from my sheets, groggily have some coffee and naan, and arrive at class a few minutes late.

I found myself again completely restless in class, unable to imagine how I could manage to make it through all four hours of class today. But in the break between classes, I received a call from another traveler I’m hosting right now to say that he had arrived in town, and was waiting on the street by my house. The excuse to skip the last two hours that I desperately wanted just materialized.

I ran home to meet my guest and almost immediately ran off again to take him to the train-ticket selling office. After trying several sold-out destinations, we got him a ticket for Lanzhou and we proceeded to other places to inquire about camera prices and change some foreign currency.

As we made our way back up to my side of town, lunchtime had arrived and we headed to a local semi-Turkish restaurant run by an Azeri woman for lunch with a few other friends.

After lunch, Guillaume (my guest) and I sat in my living room for hours while I answered question after question about the United States and China. I tried unsuccessfully to get some work done. Even the simplest task was unaccomplishable as every time I left the room I was called back with a cry of “Tiffany!” and another question.

He left for dinner, and I cooked up some vegetables with some of that mutton for myself. I got a call from another friend I’ve seen too little of lately, we talked for quite a while, and now I’m at home writing this waiting for Fausto to come over.

I haven’t prepared for my classes tomorrow. I’m not concerned.

Tomorrow I’ve got classes straight through till dinner, then a dinner date, and then I’m hoping I can come home to an empty house to collapse, sit around and do nothing, or maybe page through the Chinese travel magazine I picked up recently.

Comments

From:eheckinger
Date:November 8th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
I can't believe that you're finally needing sleep! And at such a young age too! I thought you'd make it into your 40's before requiring more than 5 hours a night.
[User Picture]
From:tifanjo
Date:November 12th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, it came as a horrible shock to me, as well, that I'm not 19 anymore.

But even when I was 19 and sleeping four hours a night, I think it did make me a little crazy. Maybe the difference is that I'm too attached to my sanity these days.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 4th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)

Продаю сертификаты Вебмани.

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Привет.
Продаю персональный сертификат WebMoney за $99.
Можете проверить: WMID 322973398779 Redfern
Всё чисто, не одной жалоб. Сделан на утерянные документы. Всё законно.
Если нужно, то есть сертификаты ещё.
Стучацо в личную почту на Вебмани.

Это не спам. Не пишите на мой WMID жалобы в арбитраж Вебмани.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 5th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)

Продаю сертификаты Вебмани.

(Link)
Привет.
Продаю персональный сертификат WebMoney за $99.
Можете проверить: WMID 322973398779 Redfern
Всё чисто, не одной жалоб. Сделан на утерянные документы. Всё законно.
Если нужно, то есть сертификаты ещё.
Стучацо в личную почту на Вебмани.

Это не спам. Не пишите на мой WMID жалобы в арбитраж Вебмани.
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