Monday, September 28, 2009

The Road to Garm

Sorry there are some technical difficulties; the video didn't upload. I'll try to add it later. Only the first 2 sentences are about the video so continue reading even without it! :-)

This is a video of the road to Garm when I first left from Dushanbe on September 1. I was on this road for about 4 hours. It wasn't all like this because there are some places where the Chinese are paving the roads and it's nice, smooth asphalt. However, MOST of the way is narrow, windy, steep, and scary. Luckily I was in an embassy vehicle and it's an SUV and the driver was driving carefully. When I just returned to Dushanbe a few days ago I DIDN'T have an embassy vehicle and was in a small hatchback car with a colleague and some random woman also going to Dushanbe. On the way back to Dushanbe we got pulled over at a security checkpoint to check documents. They checked mine of course and all I had was a copy of my passport and my visa that expired that day. The security officers wanted to know why my documents were in Tajik or in Russian. Ummmm because passports aren't translated into other langauges dummy! I'm lucky they didn't ask for a bribe and said that they trusted that we were going to Dushanbe to resolve this issue...and we were.

As you can see it's difficult enough just to get to Dushanbe so I won't be leaving without my passport AND my proper documents showing that I'm here legally. The director of my program wanted me to return to Garm yesterday but I refused. I don't want to be in Tajikistan, where corruption is rampid, without my proper documents.

On another note, Tajik man came with me to Dushanbe because he had business to do here and had a wedding to attend. A few weeks ago he told me "You will go to my relatives' wedding with me in Dushanbe and we will stay in my flat." Ummmm We will? I didn't say anything about NOT going with him until we were in the car on the way to Dushanbe. I told him I wouldn't be going to the wedding because I had plans with my friend. He just ignored me. When I arrived to Dushanbe, Bethany, my ELF colleague, met me down the street from her apartment (she had been out shopping). The Tajik man insisted on helping take my luggage to her place. When we arrived at Bethany's we were both trying to get rid of this man and didn't invite him in. He dropped off my stuff and we were like "Okay, bye, thanks for bringing my stuff. We'll see you later." He just stood in the doorway. Then he said "I'll call you and tell you what restaurant the wedding will be in. Maybe it will start at 4 p.m." I said, "I don't think we're gonna go. We have plans with some other people." The man wasn't paying attention and said insisted he would call. So he left. About 40 minutes later he called and said the wedding was at 2 p.m. and they were at the restaurant. He was calling to give me directions. I told him we couldn't go because we were on our way out to meet some people, which was true. He wasn't happy and hung up. Then about 5 hours later he called me and was SHOUTING at me on the phone and said, "I thought about you and your girlfriend while I was at the wedding and wondered WHY? WHY? isn't Miss Sharon here? The music was LOUD, you see, and there was dancing, you see? Why you didn't come to the wedding?" I told him I had had plans. What more could I say. He was so obnoxious and had obviously had a few too many drinks at the wedding. He wasn't happy with me but accepted my answer.

I didn't go to the wedding with him because it's not appropriate for a man to ask a woman to wedding who isn't his wife or his daughter or a girlfriend. I am NONE of those to this man. In Garm and the villages it would be different because the men and women are separated and never see each other anyway so I would be with all women but in Dushanbe the weddings are in a restaurant and you sit with whomever you go with. I talked to so many women and they advised me it wasn't appropriate for me to go and I listened. He keeps calling me wanting me to visit his relatives' house in Dushanbe to see how the Tajiks live in Dushanbe and I just told him that I would be in Tajikistan for a long time and would get to see a wedding and how people live some other time. I'm sure his intentions aren't good so I just avoid him. He will go back to Garm today but I'm staying so I'm glad that I won't have to ride back in a car with him and listen to him. I don't feel like he would do anything to put me into danger, but I feel like he would be an ass and try to make me feel bad about not going to the wedding.

So that is the update for now. I'm waiting for this video to upload...hopefully it will work.

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