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2002 12: The Journey to Uzbekistan

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

This covers leaving Denver, processing in Houston, the flights, Tashkent, and getting to Karshi-Khanabad Airbase.

Going back over these while migrating them from the old phpbb forum I noticed a few things that I mis-noticed at the time of writing or now know not to be quite true, having have more exposure to Uzbekistan, but I am leaving them in to more properly document what I saw and what I thought about it.

A Quick Update: I Am In Dubai Now & Here’s The Plan

Monday, May 30th, 2005

I got a job again. I am in Dubai now, where I wanted to be, and with the group of folks I wanted to be with. I’ve actually been pretty lucky targeting opportunities over the past several jobs, I must say. I’m back in server and system world, so hopefully my skills will un-rust. Guli is visiting the family back in Uzbekistan but we will get her here shortly. We will have an apartment and get to do all that fun shopping bit for all the stuff involved in making a home. Aside from curtains and furniture and crap, there will be manly stuff like TVs, computers, and probably some guns too. Actually, no guns.

Coincidences and Accidents of Timing

It is a good thing to be here. I get to BS with some folks I worked with before, deny their requests, and send them spiteful emails. Since folks come through here now to go out on R&R (even from Afghanistan) I have a chance to see folks even though we don’t work together anymore. As an example, while I and another ex-K2 person Annamaria were going to meet ex-K2 DJ, I happened to spot a guy I was in Mosul with. In typical fashion I snuck up from behind and ran into him. Then later we ran into another former K2 guy Stan in one of the bars. There’s people everywhere! I got another little fuzzy today via email, too. I sent out notification of new accounts to some folks, and the K2 IT guy emailed me to check on something. I knocked it out, and he came back with thanks and “everybody still misses you here in K2. Dude you’re like a legend here.” That’s a direct quote, even. That made me feel good. I must be at least slightly cool or something, but on the other hand everyone has probably just forgotten what a pain in the ass I am.


I suppose you can’t really say I revealed anything resembling a plan there. I guess in a nutshell, we want to go through several vacation locations before doing anything else. Anything else includes kids, since they tend to complicate vacation plans, and also any sort of permanent return to the US. I’m sure it’s in the cards eventually, but I am not yet ready to go back to the 2 weeks of vacation a year plan. Still too many places to go. At some time off every 3 months or so, that will be easier to accomplish.

Another nice thing is to actually have a day off per week, so the concept of a weekend comes back into meaning. Big change from 25 months of no weekend, and 4 months of never-ending weekend.

Things One Might Notice Watching Commie MTV

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

Things One Might Notice Watching Commie MTV:
• Russians quite simply can not lip synch. It’s disturbingly obvious in most of their videos, and even worse in “live” performances.
• Some ugly chick who more or less stares at the camera her whole video. They may as well have pasted a still picture on a screen for three and a half minutes. That’s entertainment all right…
• Glucose’s “It’s Snowing” plays every third song or so. I include this on radio too. Never heard of it before Monday, sick of it by Thursday.
• I don’t know if MTV and Commie MTV are that different. I haven’t seen American MTV in a long time, and don’t suppose that I care to. Commie MTV is different simply because it is different, and the music and groups are something I am still learning, as opposed to something so old hat and uninteresting that I wouldn’t care about it.
• Everybody has a Novy Gode song. That’s New Years, and it’s really a more direct equivalent to Christmas without the overly commercial overtones we are stuck with in the US. You see that a lot with easy listening or country acts in the states, but these are all real poppy groups. Interesting thing to notice. It’s really more about getting together friends and family so it’s not near as irritating as a Christmas song.
• A really bad “Faith” remake by a poppy group – can you say cheesy? Interestingly enough, the song itself on the radio is not bad, but the video is a couple of dorks at their worst.
• A video where this chick has some sort of sexual experience with the back seat of a limousine.
• Some other group re-did Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Five? Never heard of them before. At least it’s not the baby-voice version that was popular last year. Man, I couldn’t stand that song!
• There’s some band called Uma Thurman.
• I watch some “reality” show about this chick who gets plastic surgery, because she wants to look like her idol Pamela Anderson, and thinks it will help her career as an up and coming Playboy model. Talk about somebody who needs a dose of reality. She gets lip implants, chin liposuction, and breast implants. She already had an ample rack. They showed the process, and the part where the Playboy people don’t like her anymore because she doesn’t look as good afterwards. I think it was her mom or maybe a friend who commented that she doesn’t look a thing like Pamela Anderson, and the surgery didn’t change that at all. She basically cries and whines a lot. Plastic surgery doesn’t do much for you if you don’t like who you are as a person. They should have called the show “I am a stupid bint who gets plastic surgery because after all, I am a stupid bint.” Generally I am not fond of what the English have tried to do to the American language, but they do have some good slang not in common use here. Err…or for that matter, in America.
• The Russian anti-terror unit Alfa has a song and video. It’s not a real song and dance number of course, but a somber “we do our duty” kind of thing. Interesting concept. It’s actually a pretty good song for what it’s worth.
• Verka Cerdutchka – a cross between Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire and Elton John. Really popular and quite good, actually.

Leaving Dubai

Sunday, January 16th, 2005

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
They’ve got net access, right in the air-port…

Well, in a nutshell, Ikromjon didn’t do anything terribly helpful. Then they ran out of seats on Sunday afternoon’s leisurely flight. None til Weds…though maybe next Sunday. Eek! Then an array of other crappy choices until a last-second Turkish Airlines flight through Istanbul comes my way. It’s noticeably more expensive. It’s business class only. At least then my 3AM flight to Istanbul, and my 7PM flight to Tashkent should theoretically be more comfy. Can’t do much about the 12 hour layover, nor arriving in Tashkent at a warm winter’s welcoming 2AM. Ok, it will neither be warm nor welcoming, though the rest is true. Guli will be welcoming, and it will be great to see her. I will be bleary eyed, beat up, and probably stink. I am sure she will quite sensibly run away. Therefore it is imperative I sneak up on her.

I had meant to post the notes through Dubai, however due to a LOT of frenzied and near panicked running around today that will not yet take place.

Outward Bound: The Palace to Dubai

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

Mosul Palace

I haven’t even left yet, and I’m already a bit irritated. As regards stuff, I’m shipping it, taking it, or trashing it. I have good amounts of the first and last, and too much of the middle. One backpack contains electronic equipment such as my laptop, camera, external hard drive, Ipaq with all their attendant power supplies and cables, in addition to some paperwork type stuff such as my document folder, some small dictionaries, and a networking book. See, I had this idea about not being a totally hedonistic bum, and accomplishing something on such an extended time off. Not a major something, but more of a token something. Anyway, I bet that ends up a dead weight.

My other backpack is the clothes pack. It could be lighter, and also less stuffed. However, it’s my own fault, because I have made wildly differing plans in the climatological sense. Central Asian desert in winter vs. the tropical seas in and about Thailand, where they only understand winter in a theoretical sense, and from wild, unbelievable tales brought back by those with Nordic benefactors. Variety is the spice of life, but the bane of the traveler who totes his own gear. I have a jacket with liner. It’s not cold enough to require the liner here, but I’m gonna wear it because I have nowhere to pack it. It will be good in Uzbekistan, since I went with only short sleeve shirts to help the shirts do double duty. Maybe it will be warm enough in Uz that I can leave it entirely, since the thought of toting a jacket around Thailand is pretty abysmal. (more…)

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