Archive for May, 2009

I have definitely been pushing the idea that people should come visit me in Dushanbe over the couse of the next year.  This request has been met with a variety of negative responses:

  1. That’s really far away.
  2. It’s too expensive to get there.
  3. I’d rather go to Paris, the Caribbean, Hawaii, anywhere else before I go out there.
  4. Who are you?

Luckily, some of my friends and family have a sense of adventure, or they are adept at humoring me, and they want to come visit me in Tajikistan.  As this is something I really want to happen, I have created a “Trip Idea” on Kayak.com that will help people track fares to Dushanbe and, more helpfully, the major gateways to the “Roof of the World.”  The link is:

My Kayak Trip Idea "Get to TJ"

My Kayak Trip Idea "Get to TJ"

So, no excuses, get on it!


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My Memorial Day in New York City has been lovely.  It’s been fantastic to catch up with my friends down here and spend some time outside — mostly in Prospect Park and the Green-wood Cemetery.  At the latter, the highlight was seeing Boss Tweed’s tomb, but the moving part was to see all of the stones of the Civil War soldiers, which seemed appropriate on Mem Day.

Aside from seeing my friends, a big reason for the trip was to deliver my shipping boxes to the freight forwarder at JFK airport.  Unfortunately, although I had been speaking with the folks at the forwarding company for weeks, I hadn’t sent them paperwork until last Friday.  Because it is Memorial Day weekend, however, nothing could be processed until Tuesday, which was a problem as I had brought my shipping boxes weighing 225 lbs. to New York with me and I needed to drop them off on Monday.  Well, after calling around, it became clear that even though the passenger side of the airport was fully functional on a holiday, the cargo people were all at barbecues and that the cargo facilities were all closed.

Luckily, in calling around frantically to figure out my shipping options, I called Simple Freight Solutions, which is an outfit on Long Island.  SFS’s owner, Patrick, was a no nonsense type who could get the job done at half the price and, better yet, I could drop my boxes at Logan.  Sure, I felt a bit dumb for dragging my stuff down to New York unnecessarily, but there’s no reason to compound the error by leaving the boxes in NYC and trying to arrange something from afar.

I’m off to Florida tomorrow, but I’m hopeful I can get this all worked out.  Fingers crossed.

Simple Freight Solutions

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An egg and bacon salad with a goblet of Maredsous beer

An egg and bacon salad with a goblet of Maredsous beer and a side of Belgian frites

This is one important way that my trip to Dushanbe will be different from my trip to Mons, Belgium, for instance.

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I’ve been out in Michigan visiting my grandmother; it’s one of the things I wanted to do before I took off for a year.  As a result, my posting has been nil.  I’m around for the next couple of days, so expect more stunning Tajik photos soon.  In the meantime, let me try to describe my Michigan trip with links and terse statements:

  1. Vernor’s – not as good as I remembered, very carbonated
  2. The Ramada Saginaw – free continental breakfast and dinner
  3. Nissan Versa coupe – you could do worse for a rental
  4. Whittemore, MI – not even a stop light
  5. Flint airport – shortest security screening line ever
  6. Mariner Market of Omer, MI – no words can describe the spectacularness of the jerky I got there
  7. Michigan State – still better than that other school in Ann Arbor
  8. Michigan’s economy and state of mind – Michigan is hurting

More soon . . .

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Books to go

It is said that when you know the books a person keeps and the ones they give away, you have a window into their soul.  Actually, I don’t know if that’s “said” because I’m pretty sure I just made it up.  Nevertheless, below is a list of books I’m giving away today to Got Books? — which sends donated books overseas to our troops, or gives them to educators or nonprofits here in the U.S — glean what insight you can from it:

  • Agee, Jonis. A .38 Special and a Broken Heart. Minneapolis: Coffee House P, Distributor, Consortium Books Sales & Distribution, 1995.
  • Carre, John Le. The Constant Gardener. New York: Pocket Star, 2005.
  • Crossette, Barbara. Great Hill Stations of Asia. New York: Basic Books, 1999.
  • Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Vintage, 1954.
  • Fenby, Jonathan. France On the Brink: A Great Civilization Faces a New Century. Grand Rapids: Arcade, 2000.
  • Harr, Jonathan. A Civil Action. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.
  • Hays, Rebecca, ed. The Cook’s Guide to Boston Restaurants, 2001-2002. New York: Boston Common P, 2001.
  • Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.
  • Koski-Karell, Art, ed. The Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard. Cambridge, Mass.: Unofficial Publications, Harvard Student Agencies, Inc., 2000.
  • Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
  • Lewis, Michael. Panic!: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009.
  • Lieven, Anatol. The Baltic Revolution Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence. New York: Yale UP, 1994.
  • Palmer, Grant H. An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins. New York: Signature Books, 2002.
  • Shakespeare, William. All’s Well That Ends Well. New York: Washington Square P, 2001.
  • Steinsaltz, Adin. The Thirteen Petalled Rose. New York: Basic Books, 1985.

Thanks again to EasyBib for letting me indulge my bibliography predilection.

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. . . has involved taking three depos, a bankruptcy court hearing, a clerk magistrate’s hearing at the BMC, numerous meetings, and skipping lunch today.  I would say that “a good time was had by all,” but I don’t like to lie.

T minus 51 hours and counting.

In more exciting, TJ-related news, my ticket to Dushanbe was purchased to today.  Twenty-five hours of travel time from Boston to Dushanbe with layovers in Frankfurt and Istanbul.  I may have just enough time on my first layover to pop into the center of Frankfurt and quaff some of the city’s lovely apfelwein, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get into Istanbul as the time between planes is only about 4 hours.  That’s all right though, I’ll probably be pretty tired by that point.

Actually, I’m pretty tired now and I think I’m going to stop blogging and go home.

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This reminds me of where 95 goes from Attleboro into Pawtucket:

Tajik road along the border

Tajik road along the border


So is everyone getting the idea that Tajikistan has some pretty impressive mountain scenery?  Thanks to Sophie who suggested in a comment elsewhere on here that I check out the gallery on the website for the Roof of the World Rally, which I did and on which I found this cool photo.

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