Category Archives: Tajikistan

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Here’s a little random update on some random stuff.

I worked as an extra on this past week’s episode of Cold Case. I didn’t see myself at all but I did see my car… waaaaaaaaaay in the back, haha.

Cold Case

A little over two weeks ago I bought Forza III for XBOX 360. I played it for about two hours before I had to go somewhere. When I came home I went to turn on my xbox and I got the dreaded red ring of death. It was quite frustrating to have that happen right after getting a new game, haha. Well I finally got it back the other day and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Forza. I don’t think I’ll be needing a Playstation 3 or waiting for Gran Turismo 5 anymore. It’s awesome.

And now on the topic of thanksgiving. I recently came to the conclusion that rule of law is the most taken-for-granted thing in America. Few people who grew up here know what it is like to live without it. Let me tell you that without rule of law, everything pretty much sucks and nothing can get better.

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Back from Tajikistan

I came back from Tajikistan last week after being there for two months. I was planning on posting an update sooner but I couldn’t decide what to write so before too much time passes I thought I’d just mention that I was back, for anyone who didn’t know.

I had an awesome time while I was there, and hopefully I’ll find some time to write about some of my experiences. I can’t wait for my next trip out there.


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The quest for Diet Coke

Coca Cola Light from Afghanistan

Let me preface this entry by saying that I am addicted to Diet Coke. A few years ago I weighed about 35 pounds more than I do now. Then, as now, I drank an amazing amount of cola on a daily basis. But one day I decided to switch to diet cola, and over the course of about three years I lost a lot of weight without changing much else about my diet. Today I am very near my high school weight. And out of the available diet colas, I eventually settled up on Diet Coke as my favorite.

A good friend of mine who works in the pharmaceutical industry, concerned about my huge intake of Diet Coke, mentioned that it has been found that aspartame crosses the blood-brain barrier, but that we do not know exactly what it does. “It makes you addicted to Diet Coke, is what it does,” I quipped.

Diet Coke (or Coca Cola Light, as it is known in this region) is not widely available in Tajikistan. As I mentioned in a previous entry, the vast majority of food products in this country are imported, and Coke is no different. There is no Coca Cola bottling plant in this country, so all of the Coca Cola here is imported from other countries, usually Kazakhstan or Afghanistan.

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Earthquake on the Kyrgyz/Chinese/Tajik border

People have contacted me regarding the earthquake in Kyrgyzstan, wondering if I am OK, so I just wanted to say to everyone that I am fine. Many of the news reports are saying that it occurred on the border with Tajikistan and being unfamiliar with the geography, some people became worried about me. So for those people, rest assured, Dushanbe is hundreds of miles away from Kyrgyzstan, so we did not even feel it at all, though I must say that this region is in general, earthquake prone.


New York Times: Quake Kills at least 72 in Kyrgyzstan

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Back in the (former) U.S.S.R. [Update 1]

(Updated October 3, 2008)

So I’m back in Dushanbe, Tajikistan right now and I’ll be here until late October. In the past I haven’t really written a whole lot about what I do out here. Maybe it’s because I didn’t think other people would be all that interested. Or maybe, this being my fourth trip out there, I suppose I have gotten accustomed to the sights, sounds, culture, all the stuff that goes on in the course of these trips, and actually, yeah maybe it would be interesting for other people to hear.

So I guess I’ll start by just giving you some background information, and maybe in further entries I will give more specifics about different topics.

Tajikistan is a highly mountainous country in Central Asia, located just north of Afghanistan and just to the west of China. With very few natural resources and very little workable land, it is the poorest of all of the former Soviet republics. The Tajik people share some common history with the Persians of Iran and speak a mutually-intelligible dialect of the same language (Farsi, as spoken in Iran has a lot more loanwords from Arabic, while Tajik understandably has a lot more loanwords from Russian).

If you believe the 1980’s action movie portrayals of the USSR you’d think it was only Russians around but actually there are also many different ethnic groups speaking many other languages here in Dushanbe, with Russian serving as a lingua franca, particularly in the arenas of business and politics.

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