Saturday, 11 October 2014

Teachers' Day and The Great Fishing Ordeal of 2014

Anyone who reads this blog and doesn’t know me (and hasn’t read the ‘about’ page, shame on you) might be led to believe that I am spending a year running around Central Asia taking pictures of everything. While this is part of it, the main reason that I am here is to work as a teaching assistant. Being a TA is pretty exhausting, but fortunately Uzbekistan has a special day for teaching staff on October 1st.

On this day, Teachers’ Day, children bring in presents and flowers for their teachers. There is no feeling more wonderful than receiving presents. It’s a fact. And these ones were pretty spectacular: enough chocolate to mean I didn’t have to cook tea, a set of cocktail glasses, some flowers, body lotion which came with a spoon to apply it and a towel that was so soft it felt as though I was drying my face on a cat. Tragically, I think I received fewer presents for my actual birthday!

Although now I have 20 new 6 to 7-year-old friends.

Teachers’ Day was followed by a fabulous meal on the Friday, accompanied by belly dancers, some of whom inexplicably but brilliantly had candelabras on their heads. It was like being inside the fantasy of a teenage boy, which was evident from the number of male jaws that had to be picked up off the floor afterwards. Of course, the night ended the way nights seem to always end for us in Tashkent: with atrocious dancing and karaoke.

Half of the room had to wait a few minutes before standing up.

On Sunday, it was time to relax a little bit. So, obviously, we went fishing. I don’t know what I was expecting; I had never been fishing before. This meant that everyone on the bus to where we were going saw fit to tell me lies: “Yes, Sarah, you have to kill your own fish by punching it.” “Isn’t that just in the Inbetweeners?” “Yeah, but that’s what you’re supposed to do.” I refuse to have my innocent trusting nature shattered.

I had no idea that fishing had any kind of skill involved. I thought that you put the rod in the water and waited. Turns out there’s a lot of casting, reeling and generally not tangling yourself up in fishing wire involved. It took me a good half hour (and a lot of help from a man with little patience) to work out how not to unravel the entire thing and get the hook to fly more than a metre away from me. Despite trying to tempt the fish with corn, bread and shashlik, which are well known for being a fish’s favourite foods, I did not manage to catch anything. Two of our group did, but the rest of us only succeeded in catching dead leaves, the curtains on the little marquees and, in my case, my own head.

It took us all of fifteen minutes to realise that floaty material plus fishing hooks on long rods equals what a bad idea.

 This week is half term! Hopefully this means a trip away to Bukhara, but it is now Sunday and we have no plan, so it may be a week of trying to recover in Tashkent. In which case I will try to do something interesting in order to have a little more blog fodder. 

I got my hair cut. Here's me looking all Instagram and unsure about it.