I'm writing this in Murat's flat, which is actually really nice compared to the one he used to have with Victor. It's a little bit larger and they have their own shower; though there is no kitchen so they don't cook. Dad, you'll be excited to hear that Murat's roommate is one of the guys you went to Oskamen with two years ago--Yerlan I think--the younger (but still older than me or Murat) history guy. I gave him your regards and he did the same to you.
The bus ride here kind of sucked--the bus was better than I expected; one of those greyhound type buses, but they still didn't bother to turn the AC on and my seat was directly above the driver at the front of the bus..so driving westward meant I was getting the full force of the sun the whole journey. So it was quite hot.
I'm sitting here snacking on some peanuts and I'm not sure if this makes the Kazakh/Russians crazy or brilliant--but they are bacon flavored peanuts. I would say the flavor is mild, mostly coming from the seasoning, but more like that Italian slice ham thing that I can't remember how to spell it and I have no google so I'm out of luck. They are OK. I'm sure they'd be much better if I was drinking beer instead of coke.
One thing I should mention before I stop writing this for now, is that the guy who was proctoring the exam was an ex-army guy. We got to chatting because I had gotten there first and we still had to wait for the other examinees (two guys who worked at the embassy--'in house' but if they worked at the embassy...why were they taking the exam? Were they interns? I never found out). Anyway, I found out that while you and he probably never served together, he had served with H.R. McMaster and I think is mentioned on the acknowledgements of McMaster's book because he helped McMaster get a computer to write it. Talk about degrees of separation...he'll be coming to Oskamen for that summer camp that I'll be helping out at in July. I'm not sure if I'll have my results by then, but that's still pretty neat coincidence.