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Uzbekistan Gallery Uploaded

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Well, it only took 6 weeks this time, but the 2008 03 Uzbekistan Gallery has been uploaded.

We flew into Tashkent and took the train down to Karshi the next day to hang out with family.

The next day we ambled up to Navoi to see Malika’s (Guli’s youngest sister) family and their place.

Duststorm Sounds So Innocuous

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Oh, by the way, we’re back from Uzbekistan again. I’m working on the pics right now, but this seemed like a good day to make a post. Also, remember to switch your email subscription, because I’m turning the old one off Real Soon Now.

Lots of Dust

It’s kind of dusty out today; the worst I’ve ever seen.

Even inside the office, the lucky are weary breathing masks. They’re a bit small for my face, but this storm is worse than the last big one last week, which was pretty rough, even inside.

It is visibly dusty inside; however it doesn’t show in pictures very well. Outside, it IS just that orange. I haven’t edited these pics at all. Headlights turn a bright blue shade, and are visible maybe as far as 50m in the mist. The vehicle itself won’t show up until about half that distance.

This building that you can not quite see is about 40m away. I could not actually see it when taking this picture, but I do know where it is. :) If you look closely, you can see the outline of the aluminum building, the darker shapes of the hescoes around it, and a tallish tree to the right.

This place blows.

Posts Imported

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

I’ve got a large chunk of the posts from the old site imported finally. It takes a while, particularly as I had to re-link all the images and cut/paste the original comments in. It was interesting to read and remember what was going on then living in the camps in Uzbekistan and Iraq. The format is certainly much easier to read and it’s easier to navigate, since you can look by category (primarily Iraq, Uzbekistan, and Camp Life) or by timeframe. See the sidebar along the right, going down towards the bottom. Note that posts can be in multiple categories — for example Camp Life covers most of the stuff from living on base, and will have another category for location as well, that sort of thing.

The remaining items at the old site are primarily Trip Reports, which have their own sort of hierarchy here and will be moved over as time, energy, and interest permits. Basically, all the work and less of the play is here right now. 😉

Part III: ‘stanward Bound

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Flight Out – ‘stanward Bound

And as always, sooner or later it’s time to leave. Don’t you just love airports and planes? I don’t.

Going down the escalator to somewhere, an old couple is in front of me. The lady slipped somehow and fell backwards. Her husband supported her, and she didn’t truly fall, but she began totally squawking. “I’VE FALLEN! I’VE FALLEN! I’VE FALLEN! MY JACKET, MY SHOE, HELP ME!” I know that sounds strange, but it’s a direct quote. I typed it in to Mr. Ipaq shortly after. I don’t want to become old and decrepit. It terrifies me. I hope to go out with some measure of dignity, if not any at all of grace. Smile

I stop in the airport shops looking for some Denver / Colorado trinkets to bring back to a few people. Generally I’m not terribly creative when it comes to that, but I happened to see a decent t-shirt. Ah, that works. What’s this? Made in Uzbekistan?!?! Oh, the irony…

Finally it’s boarding time. Speaking of fat Americans, there’s a huuuge guy in the window seat — thank God I am at the aisle with someone else in between for him to crush. He has his hand on his companion’s leg, but it does not appear to be mere affection — the armrest is folded up out of the way, and from the looks it’d be up under him in any event. He’s also a wide-awake snorer. He puts his stuff on her tray table because he can’t get his even remotely level.

My seat will not stay upright. If I lean back at all, I’m going all the way back. Of course the kind individual behind me keeps using it to pull her out of her own seat, resulting in me reclining. I hate people. I seat leaning forward for 3-4 hours.

You can now buy your own airline meal for $10. The snack is still complimentary, as is your standard array of drinks, but still…that’s just ridiculous. I forget the restaurant company, but it was presented as a new partnership bringing to you the benefits of blah blah…

Actually HugeGuy isn’t so bad, but a bit ignorant. Though his wife is afraid of all the terrorists, he convinced her to go to Vienna & Budapest. I tell him to try and hit Prague, but he needs reassurances that they don’t hate Americans there. Why Prague would be different than the other two I am not entirely sure. Of course, we may not be hated, but we may not be universally loved. It’s too easy to generalize about whether country X hates or loves Americans. I’m sure they have better things to do on the average day. That said, I think there are general areas where it’s easy to generalize one way or another, but at the same time the actions of individuals swing it a bit. Waiters and other service types are different, because of course you are a pain in the ass to them!

Dulles International in Washington DC is a crap airport. Thankfully our flight from there to Frankfurt is full, because…I end up in business class! Business class on a 777 rocks. I could not reach the seat in front of me. I had a reclining seat with all sorts of neat gadgetry and good service.

What kind of fucking moron has to look for seat 1a in a plane? These 2 dipshits were wandering around 1st Class looking over and up at all the numbers, making a kind of figure-8 type pattern. Eventually they get to the very front left of the plane — “Oh, here it is, seat 1a.” Those guys had the ‘we’re CEOs’ look. One kept pestering another lady who appeared to be the one who actually runs the company and makes it all work. The clueless get overpaid because they are the dealmakers, but people who actually do the work make nothing in comparison. The average CEO makes some obscene multiple of the average paid workers in their company. That’s an eye-opener. I don’t remember the multiple, but I want to say something in the several hundred range. It used to be much less than that, but times change.

Big Fat guy + short shirt + reaching overhead = eewww! I think he may be pregnant.

Somebody else got awarded my seat also – oh heeelllllll no! Fortune continues to shine on me, and he is escorted somewhere to the rear of the plane, where people like him belong. Twisted Evil

Make short shirt guy stop doing that. He keeps standing around in the aisle, staring around at everyone with his best “I’m a badass” look. I think he’s trying to figure out which of us is the terrorist, so he can live out his “9/11 would have been very different if I was on board” fantasy. Sigh…

Oddest thing on the baggage carousel – 2 containers of Tang mix and a small plastic bag from some grocery store chain. The Frankfurt to Tashkent flight wasn’t terribly interesting, but it’s always fun to see who’s on the same plane with you. Since there are only a certain number of flights, you are guaranteed to see someone you know. In this case, the flight was mostly empty. Without KBR people, it would have been almost completely empty.

Part II: Denver

Thursday, December 21st, 2006


The bright lights of Denver are shining like diamonds
Like 10,000 jewels in the sky
And it’s nobody’s business
Where you’re going or where you come from
And you’re judged by the look in your eye…

So I’m back home. I just feel so strange. Everything is somehow different. I have a changed perspective on so many things. It’s Christmas season, so many of the stranger aspects are exaggerated. Shopping is king. I look around at all the fat consumerists driving around in the monster SUVs and cringe. I think everyone should go to a poor country for a wakeup call so they appreciate what they have. As Americans, we have so much…stuff. We have so much stuff, that we have stores that sell stuff to help you keep your stuff organized, packed away neat and clean until you need it, or don’t. The size of some of the vehicles on the road is almost intimidating after being only around smaller vehicles. Now obviously, I consider a lot of the ones here in Uzbekistan too small. But in America there are so many big trucks and SUVs on the road, not to mention the big American status cars. I have a Nissan Maxima, which I would class as a good sized vehicle which sits between the two extremes. The land of the Super-size is something to behold. We have so much stuff it’s trivial to waste it. It’s hard to describe the feeling of “everything is somehow different.” How do you quantify that? It makes me feel adrift on the sea of uncertainty.

I apologize for that last bit, it sounds horribly pretentious. Rolling Eyes

Anyway, so it’s Christmas time as I said, and much folks stop by to spend the holidays. I do some seeing of the friends, but not as much as I had hoped. Several things just sort of fall apart. I guess it works out that way sometimes. I hang out with my friends, but in some ways I still feel alone. I don’t know why. I got a kick out of my brother Roy, who is a world traveler type. I had gotten some CDs earlier, and we were driving somewhere when he goes, “hey, is that Cheb Khaled?” He’d wandered around North Africa at some point, which I had completely forgotten.

Speaking of my car, it was odd to see it again after almost 13 months. Stranger still to drive it. When I got home, I just sat in it for about a half hour, remembering where buttons were, programming the radio, adjusting the seat, and then just sitting there for a while before driving off. It was nice, but so unusual. Something that I had previously done every day entirely without thought was some new and almost unfamiliar task. Over a week later I would realize I had a sunglasses compartment. Sure enough, there was a pair sitting in there, too!

My time schedule never did fully adapt to Colorado. Several days I was awake all night, not tired at all. I spent a good deal of time then messaging the folks “back home” in Uzbekistan. I didn’t sleep much at all. I emailed back and forth with Cher daily. It was nice to have something to look forward to. It made me want to get back to my new life, such as it is. There are so many holes and gaps in it, but I feel drawn away. I simply don’t know where I belong anymore. I wonder if I will be able to simply go back to the states when my goal is reached and re-join the corporate world.

Other than that, it was nice to see the things I had missed, as well as those I had forgotten about. I didn’t get to all of them, but there’s always tomorrow.

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