Sunday, October 26, 2008

1 Year Anniversary

Yesterday marked 1 whole year in Azerbaijan. This is the longest I've ever spent in a foreign country.

Some of the memorable moments so far:

-sleeping above a bazaar
-riding around a Soviet-era velodrome
-taking the midnight train to Georgia
-making the hamam a Sunday tradition
-applying for a job at a local pizza place
-negotiating a bribe with a customs official
-touring a pipe-laying barge

Let's see what year 2 brings.

End of an Era


Julian's Azerbaijan mission ended yesterday. While we will sorely miss him, I think the night club industry stands to suffer the most.
Thanks for everything, Julian.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

...to all the Canadians out there.

Too bad the turkeys at the supermarket cost 100 dollars.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Transsiberian

Has anyone seen this movie?

It had potential after the very first scene in Vladivostok. Then it went downhill from there.

Having taken the train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, I was able to notice a couple of errors. The most obvious being the exclusion of Mongolia as a sovereign state.

It happens when Woody Harrelson comes into the compartment and tells his wife that they have just entered into Russia. The very next scene shows the train trucks being changed to fit the narrow gauge that exists in Russia, or so Woody says. In the building where this is taking place, he and his wife are standing outside the train watching and taking pictures (it's the middle of the day). There is Chinese script everywhere.

First: the trucks are changed at the Mongolian-Chinese border.
Second: you're definitely not allowed outside the train while this is taking place.
Third: this whole ordeal takes place at like 12am, not in the middle of the day.

One possible explanation for this is that the route taken did not go through Mongolia, however just before Woody and and his wife boarded the train, his wife was looking at a map of the route which distinctly showed Ulaanbaatar as a major stop. The alternate route adds at least an extra day to the journey and I believe the train leaves at night (not in the afternoon as portrayed in the movie)

What really did it for me, though, was when Woody got pushed out of the train by a member of the Uzbek mafia. When he hits the ground in the snow, he yells out, "What is this? I'm an American!" If there was ever a way to induce uncontrollable vomiting, that was it.

The only other point worth mention was that the "bad guy" in the movie held a Canadian passport. Woody did is best clueless American impression by asking, "What's it like in Canada?" and stating, "If you want to see cold, you should go to Iowa."

Iowa...now there's an idea.