firstly, i apologize for my last of correspondence with just about everybody. i hardly have internet access anymore. something happened with my phone line and i just can't seem to get a connection speed fast enough to email.
during this past week azerbaijan celebrated its most important holiday: novruz. it is a sort of celebration marking the spring solstice. and, as the spring has come, so has the warmer weather. i am no longer using an electric petch (heater) and taking baths via bucket has gotten a lot easier. unfortunately, during this seasonal change i also became sick. it isn't so bad...i can still do most things. at first i had a sore throat and was very congested. now, i'm still congested, though not as horribly, and i have a gross wet cough. but i definitely think things are improving.
despite being sick, i've had a number of excursions and visitors. first, a troupe of european tourists and workers in baku came to mingechevir. most of them were polish, but a german, a frenchman, and dutch woman trickled in there as well. european guests are great: they are cleaner than pcvs and tend to be less broke as well! after all, they are teaching in baku or are EVS (European Volunteer Services) volunteers...and are therefore more compensated than myself.
we hiked to the mingechevir reservoir and then the next day a few of us continued on to the city of yevlax to find the famed halved Lenin statue. i'll post pictures of that statue soon enough. afterwards, i traveled west to a village close to georgia called qaraxanli ("with black king") to visit a pcv named lorena and to meet up with an EVS volunteer and another PCV traveling back from tbilisi. boy, is the village life different! i never got harassed. not ONCE. everyone knows their local pcv and so, there seems to be no need for harassment. it was a nice break from the onslaught of harassment that seems to come towards myself and my visitors in ming.
a day or so later, i traveled to barda for a real deal passover seder. it has been years and years since my last seder and the experience was nostalgic and fun. we had a great matriarch rule over the dinner (Shira, another PCV) and everything was definitely liberal in its politics and egalitarian in its understanding of gender roles. also, most people at the dinner weren't even jewish. most importently: i got to eat matzoh ball soup (vegetarian!). mission accomplished.
in other news: i'm losing my housing June 1st. What will I do? I don't know. Stay tuned.