We arrived in Kazakhstan at 1:30 AM Local time, June 19th, 2011. As Eric says: "June 18th was lost in the space time continual." I hate losing a day like that...
Travelling went well, but it was quite exaushting. Met a very nice girl from Arizona, who was on her way to her grandfather's funeral in Manchester. She's a dual citizen and her father had been in the British army. Quite an interesting tale.
Our arrival in Kazakhstan was somewhat marred for Eric when discovered the man next to him on the plane was masturbating under the blanket...Needless to say, I think he was quite scarred, as any reasonable person would be. We had to wait at the airport for several hours until we could get our tickets and fly to Semey. I think Eric dislikes flying even more than I do.
We were riding on the bus to get from the main airport building to our plane; I was explaining to Eric how I was pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to carry our luggage to the plane and load it ourselves. I was in the process of explaining to him that the plane I had previous flown on was an old Soviet junker; I looked out the window and saw an old soviet era two propellored plane, gestured to it and said "But hey, it wasn't anything like that."
Murphey's law would of course dictate than I was to be punished for my hubris and gall to insult the Glorious Red Airforce, and no sooner had I said this, than the bus stopped and doors opened, and lo and behold, we had arrived at our mode of transportation. To be honest however, this flight went much better than might otherwise be expected and I was pretty excited to check out a prop plane, as I had never flown in one and I was always attracted to the old WWI and II era planes.
Our arrival in Semey was not to quite as much fanfare as my first trip--no dancing girls and candy being thrown at us. However, I ran into Medina, one of my students from last time, which was a pleasant experience. I've been very fortunate this time around, Max, the kid I traded a flag for two army uniforms. Viktor, an old hand that I have run into every time I visited Semey and I traded him my highlighted and well loved copy of Starship Troopers, was at the Institute as one of the main overseers for our class (read Commissar!)
We have about five main assistants to our program, all 3rd year girls, and quite attractive to boot. Hopefully I can upload some photos soon; you won't believe which one of them is married and has a 1.4 year old son...
Our students are also very good; the first day was a little rough getting started, but they have started opening up. Most of them are quite younger than than us--16 to 20 I think. Some of these girls will be pretty cute when they are older. Jonathan's quite a lucky man--maybe his decision not to cut his hair has paid off, as he is sort of a celebrity here with the ladies since long hair is quite uncommon. However, that just is not something I can ever allow myself to do.
Running out of time here in the internet cafe; we left Jonathan back at the flat to hold down the fort and I fear he will be missing us. I will finish later.