23.9.03
If you are so desirous of knowing what the weather is in Bishkek, The Weather Channel online will give you a forecast and a nice little satellite map of Europe and Central Asia. Click here for the forecast and map.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 1:35 PM  |  

21.9.03
Good Sunday morning, All:  And welcome to the Bishkek internet.  First day of freedom; "base restriction" for we new volunteers ends today as we are picked up by our host families for the next three months.

It has been a long, long week.  Flew to
Chicago last Sunday, spent the day with Tom and Anna, and then reported into the staging hotel on Monday.  A day and a half of rather intense preparation there, and then off to O'Hare and twenty hours of travel with three of it on the ground in London.  Got in here at 0430 on Friday after a stop in Baku.  I was one of the lucky ones who received all their luggage!  We had a completely full A-320 from London, with half the load being Peace Corps, each of whom had two huge and heavy bags, much of which could not be carried
because of airplane weight restrictions.

Two days of rather intense work at the Issyk-Kul hotel just outside of Bishkek.  It was Soviet built at some time in the past.  Creative and sometimes imaginative design, but with shoddy workmanship and poor maintenance.  The view of the mountains is spectacular, though--only the Canadian Rockies begin to equal it.  Fairly heavy pollution in the area; Bishkek is in a bowl, and air inversions trap all kinds of crap.  Watched burning off of grass on foothills; weather here follows the same pattern as So. Calif. with dry summers and moisture in the winter.

My language is Russian.  It ain't easy!  I suspect that my learning is going to have to be by osmosis; I'm not doing at all well in the classes.  With luck I will have a very patient host family that is able to spend hours with me.  Won't need the language for my classes, but will for getting around town and surviving.  I will be in Novo Pokrovka, a village just to the east of Bishkek, for the next three months.

At this point, what more is there to tell?  Other than there probably are at least 600 ways to prepare mutton.  At dinner last night had a choice between lamb and chicken; although I settled for lamb I wound up with about half lamb and half chicken!  Eggs are a big part of the diet, and on the way to the internet cafe this morning passed a couple of stands selling fresh fruit.

The days will begin to settle in place; soon I will begin to know just what all is happening in the world.  Did manage to pick up both BBC and CBC last night; I'll set up a high gain antennae once I'm settled.  All the news I've seen/heard is of a bombing in Karachi.

And I hope to be able to reach you all again within a week!

Charles

     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 6:44 PM  |  

18.9.03
After a short phone call on Wednesday evening, Charles was off from O'Hare to London. According to Expedia, the flight landed on time, allowing for a three hour layover in London before taking off for Bishkek via Baku, Azerbaijan. This flight departed at 8:30am CDT. He should arrive around 5:30pm CDT or 4:30am in Bishkek!
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 8:48 AM  |  

15.9.03
For those who might be thinking that they want to send something to Charles, I have an interesting tidbit from the US Postal Service....Ignore everything the Peace Corps tells you and please put the country name, ie. Kyrgyzstan on the last line of writing. Therefore, your address should have Kyrgyzstan on both the top and the bottom unless I find out differently. Also, make your packages and letters count. Even surface mail is expensive. Find rates at USPS online.

For those who are interested, I have survived being an adult for 36 hours! Now that Dad has departed for his journey in learning, it is also time for my journey to begin.
     posted by Megan Harkness-Madole at 9:41 PM  |  

11.9.03
Two more days and I'm out of here. All the yard and outside of house projects are cleaned up; packing is checked and re-checked; thank-you notes are written (Got some wonderful items last Saturday at the Open House). Guess the biggest job left at this point is to "clean down" the refrigerator and freezer so that I don't leave a lot of unwanted food behind for Megan.
     posted by Charles at 3:07 PM  |  

             

Charles In 
Kyrgyzstan