Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

I am staying here at the Mercury Hotel in Dushanbe. Several things make this place noteworthy. First is that after hitting the bed at 6 a.m. for a couple hours of sleep, I got up, without any sleep to use the toilet. NO toilet paper. Shower and bathroom are about three feet by three feet...very close. Very clean. Soap is about 1 inch by 1 inch and is slightly unusual in that it doesn't move smoothly when wet. Bought a bar of real soap at the store today.
And I have never stayed in a hotel that had a complete computer in the room. The bell cap appeared hurt that I pulled my laptop out. English is not spoken here very much at all. And I now have about six words of Russian and none of Tajik. Issues. Spent the day meeting with media owners and Nigina, a Tajik who works at the U.S. Embassy was my translator. Very nice young lady.
Nigina took me to a supermarket so I could see how newspapers are sold and presented there but also so I could buy something for dinner a banana and a tangerine and some Cabernet from Moldova! Bought a second bottle from Uzbekistan. The Moldovan cabernet, which cost 23 somoni, about $6.00 is way better than the two buck chuck we get at Trader Joe's store in Atlanta.
Oh, another civility in the room is that there is a complete set of silverware, teapot, tea bags and a cork screw. I travel with one, but having it handy is very nice indeed.
Going to try to publish this much...issues uploading photos for some reason. More coming.

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