DAY 7 (Saturday)
Was in the midst of the drive back to the capital when last I wrote. The journey was uneventful but I think I forgot to mention the peculiarity of that both on the way back and the drive out the first time there were cops with radar guns every few kilometers. It seemed to be a permanent0thing, our driver appeared to have a radar gun detector that kept going off to warm of them ahead. Reminded me of the alarm buzzer in top gun like movies that goes off when someone's getting a missile lock on you.
Arriving at the hotel around three I made a serious effort to try to get my computer0to charge (I think I mentioned, my new laptop has an Australian plug and all my plug-shape-converters are for US to something else). Strangely I could get power when I plugged my phone via US plug to my US-to-Aus converter to my US-to-Kyrgyz converter to the wall, those proving that an Aus plug could get power through that converter but my computer just wasn't having it.
Talking to my tech-savvy friend Mick in Australia he graciously volunteered while I'm in Australia for my brief layover to go to my house (40 min away from Melbourne) after getting off work at 11pm, to get my other plug (getting in my house by way of keys I left in a beehive ;-D yes fully occupied by bees) and then bring it to me two hours away in Melbourne (I'm not going home during my 14 hours in Melbourne between projects). We eventually decided to see if I could solve it by simply buying locally the length of cord from walk plug to the three pins that attach to the power-brick.
That evening I met up with my friend Valerie ("Lerchik"). We'd "met" on tinder when I was last here over a year ago, though too late to meet up, and become friends0in the intervening year. Who says Tinder is "just for hookups?"
Ironically it was looking like I might miss her again by the coincidence that she was possibly traveling to Issyk-Kul for a work meeting the very day I was coming back from that same place! Fortunately she ended up going the following day.
Taxi fare downtown was about a dollar each way and the drivers seemed to have no interest in trying to overcharge or scam me (having visited Egypt I'm now forever wary). Dinner was lovely (Italian place) and I'm sure Lerchik and I are even better friends now that we've confirmed eachother's corporeal existence. Evening was quite pleasantly warm for walking outside,, which coming from Melbourne daily highs in the mid 50s (/ less than 10c) I relished.
DAY 8, Sunday
Debriefed with the headquarters staff and found out they want me to come back for additional projects in both May AND August 2018. Funny how often I start a project feeling like it's a wild presumption that I'm even qualified for this and I'm the end find they all want me to come back even more.
While in HQ I tried borrowing the piece of questionable cable from another laptop and confirmed mine charged fine with a different cable. So went into town with my translator (Hamida) to get a cable and some souvenirs. Somehow this took nearly all day but it was fun. It was a warm sunny summer day, we took the local minibus "taxis" that I find can be found in most developing cities without public light rail networks. They always lack posted routes so it takes a local to get around. Bishkek is a nice town to explore on foot though with lots of people out on this nice Sunday afternoon and tree lined streets downtown.
The cable in question was acquired for two bucks and my computer henceforth was a productive member of society.
Went to bed early, had to get up at four to begin the 73 (SEVENTY THREE!!) hour odyssey to Nicaragua. And that's a good place to start next entry ;-)