Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You know you're bored (pathetic) when...

…you’ve spent your last 33 hours watching an entire seasons’ worth of Grey’s Anatomy episodes (25 in all). I can see why it’s popular—it definitely has an addictive quality about it—but I feel the need to bring all of you “Greyniacs” back to Earth. The show, while entertaining, lacks originality. Shows like Weeds, Breaking Bad, even Flight of the Conchords; these shows are trailblazers, started from scratch with no readymade formula for success available to them. Grey’s, in this Peace Corps volunteer’s opinion, is merely standing on the shoulders of the many, many other successful hospital dramas that came before. The dialogue is catchy, the cast is attractive and the characters are well developed, but I can’t shake the feeling that each week’s script follows some algebraic equation that was worked out long before Grey’s hit the scene. Good summer time viewing but nothing to write home about (unless it’s in this blog). Oh, and the episode where Meredith almost dies—lame. You just can’t expect to build any real suspense when the victim is the shows namesake. I’ll give Grey’s Anatomy 2 ½ out of a possible 4 steaming hot bowls of borscht.

Now onto the real reason you come to this blog…me! As usual, a relatively uneventful past 10 days or so. I spent some time visiting two of my good friends, and fellow volunteers, who respectively just moved into fresh digs. Unlike myself, who has nothing new to report on the housing front, both Nathan and Lindsey have spacious accommodations of their own where they are free to come, go and do as they please…but that’s where the similarities end. Lindsey lives in a beautifully appointed apartment in a city of 50,000+; whereas Nathan has an old, barren house in a town of 424 (425 including him…). Lindsey’s apartment came with a washing machine, DVD player, Dolby 6.1 surround sound, a microwave and an incredible shower complete with hot water; whereas Nathan’s house (much closer to the norm for PC housing) has a table, a few chairs, no running water (not even a sink), a coal burning stove and an outhouse. He does, however, have neighbors that bring him meals at least twice a day and check in on him often just to make sure he’s happy. Quite the contrast, but each does come with its own set of perks. Needless to say though, both Nathan and I will be paying frequent visits to the Four Seasons Джанкой as long as Lindsey is willing to have us.

Alright…one somewhat embarrassing/adventure filled story before I go. On Thursday morning, after a brief shopping trip to the bazaar, I boarded a hot bus back to my village as I always do. I knew it was my bus instinctively; same overweight, cigarette smoking bus driver, same peeling paintjob, same ripped up seats. I sat impatiently as my butter began to melt, wondering why it was taking us so long to pull out of the bus station but really thinking nothing of it. I also wondered why I didn’t recognize any of the villagers, but again, thought nothing of it. Finally, 20 minutes later than usual, the engine sputtered into gear and we were on our way.

The first sign something was wrong came only seconds into our trip. My bus always turns left out of the bus station but for some inexplicable reason we had made a right turn and were headed north. Still not quite confident in my language ability, I convinced myself that maybe we were just making a big loop, would be turning around any minute, and that there was no need for me to make a fool of myself by asking where exactly we were going. 5 minutes later, headed towards the middle of nowhere and not quite as certain of my story, I decided to suck it up and asked an old man why we were going the wrong way. He looked at me, muttered something in Russian and laughed. Then he alerted everyone aboard that I was on the wrong bus and that we needed to pull over so I could catch a new one headed back towards my village. Embarrassed, I climbed off the bus, but not before spilling 2 kilos of potatoes on the floor and leaving half of them behind in my haste to avoid further humiliation.

My butter now fully melted, I copped a squat on the side of a dusty highway in the hot sun...waiting…waiting for my salvation, but being left just another sweaty, stoopid foreigner as each car, truck and horse drawn carriage passed me by. Exactly 56 minutes later, my salvation finally arrived in the form of giant, shiny bus that I managed to flag down. The driver agreed to drive me back to the station, whereupon being dropped off, I asked 5 people which bus went to my village, climbed on an eerily familiar looking bus and 15 minutes later (after a left turn out of the bus station)found myself back in Ishun. Lesson learned…you can’t judge a bus by its fat bus driver.

Ok…that’s all for now. I need to go eat breakfast and quickly throw some clothes into a backpack. I am headed out to the eastern part of Ukraine to visit some friends and to get some much needed R and R (ha). Hopefully I come across a high-speed internet connection out there and will be able to upload some pictures for you all to check out. Oh, and I’m still waiting for some questions from you for my Q and A entry. Пока! (bye)


AK said...

I had a few experiences not unlike yours the first few months I was in San Francisco (except it was Spanish, not Russian). Of course, it wasn't quite as daunting, but still... I empathize a bit. I agree about Grey's Anatomy too; it's pretty effing lame, but somehow kind of addicting. I'm ashamed to admit I tune in. *hangs head*

Anonymous said...

Jordan, this latest post reads like a mystery story, replete with signs that the hero never sees, but feels... Potatoes and melted butter sound so good to me now. You'll laugh about this one for years to come... I picture potatoes on the floor of the bus and you crawling on your hands and knees, arms filled.. butter melting on your shirt in the heat...little old ladies socks rolled down around their ankles, kicking you as you dare to catch a glimpse of your precious potatoes and they... thinking you are leering at their hairy russian stumps... hard E har har.