Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday, continued

I am hoping this next photo shows up....I saw this older woman, one of hundreds out sweeping leaves and dirt in the streets. I am told that this type of work is part of the old Soviet program where there is no unemployment...everyone works at something. These folks make next to nothing but work a good 8 hours a day. Look at her broom!! Handmade and it is cold.

Today we interviewed a few of the bigger independent kiosk newspaper sales people. We went to meet Igor but he wasn't there but his mother was working the stand. As Drew and I approached, she quickly held up the Tajik Times, the only English language newspaper here. Now it is full of plagiarized "news" but then, that is not seen only in this publication. The old lady was lovely and answered our questions nicely and she had to have been 75-80 years old. Today was cold...very cold and although she was bundled up, we got to her at 4:30 in the afternoon and she said she started at 8 a.m. I felt badly for her...Igor arrived to pick up money from mom and he also helped answer our questions though he thought it amusing that we would like to help him make more money.

Oh, for lunch I ate a pastry, not a sweet, that is also Russian. No one I was with knew its name but it was round and had a yogurt tasting inside and you put a cream sauce on top of it. The meal I ate in the cafeteria down the street from one of the research company cost $1.50. I had the pastry, buckwheat and chicken. Very tasty and the buckwheat kinda looked and tasted like bulgur. Not sure if they are the same or not.

The office I went to this afternoon to meet the Soviet era research woman to learn more about her company was on the sixth floor of an old "disgusting" building which I learned was filled with apartments one can buy for about $100,000 plus monthly fees for maintainance which had not occured in maybe 20 years. We went in and the elevators, thankfully, did not work. We had to walk up six flights in the dark with old steps that were not even and were definitely NOT checked by OSHA. Coming down was better but darker. Drew said to pack a flashlight when I come back.

I definitely would pack differently for a return visit. I had no clue. Shoes are the big issue for me...I wear sandals and tennis shoes and the closed toed shoes I brought are fine for a short walk but I cannot do a mile or two walking in these. They hurt and I hate to whine.

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