At first I thought that the particular cake we had for dessert one day was dry. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty tasty, but it was dry! Soon after I discovered another dry, tasty cake. After finding a third dry cake, I think I've decided that all cakes in Tajikistan are dry. It's really not all that bad because it still tastes good, but it's just so dry!
Anyways, aside from my issues with cake the food here has been fantastic. Every morning Sharnova (our host mom) makes us this really tasty "sheer-berenge" which roughly translates to milky rice. It tastes a lot better than it sounds, I promise! We also get some hot-dog like meat, dates, and fresh tea (we drink a lot of tea here).
For lunch, Barrington (or Beh-rooz as they call him here in Tajikistan) and I try to find a new resturant everyday. Even though we are in the heart of Dushanbe, it can be hard to find places to eat because not every place is open because of Ramazan. Yesterday, we found a weird alley with a woman seemingly standing guard. She asked us if we wanted food, and we said yes. She led us back into the alley and it turned out to be a decent sized resturant area hidden back there. We ordered some chicken kebobs (they were incredible) and some "kompot" (kompot is the local drink of choice; think raspberry juice).
Dinner is my favorite meal because, luckily for Behrooz and I, our host mom is probably the best cook in all of Dushanbe. We usually eat rice pilaf with home made meat balls in it, fresh made bread, and various salads. Of course, we have kompot and tea at every meal!
Two nights ago, Sharnova made fish. I don't think any of you would believe that I ate this. When she served us our meals, I had to put every ounce of effort I could into not showing my disgust, because on the plate was an almost whole fish with only the head missing. Puzzled, I watched my host father (Shareef) eat his fish, so that I could figure out how to tackle mine. I'm not sure how to really describe the technique. Essetially, you just grab the fish and pull it open (almost like a book), and then you pick the meat off the skin. Relunctantly, I ate almost all the meat. I was a little geeked out because the spine was still in the fish!
All in all, Shareef and Sharnova and fantastic. Even after four days, they are super patient and accomadating. For example, during the first day or two here I got some pretty bad blisters on my feet. I needed to pop them (yeah, I know, yuck) but I didn't know the word for needle in Persian. So you can imagine how interesting this conversation was when I had to ask Sharnova for the "tool used to fix clothes" (I also don't know the word for sew!). She thought I wanted to sew my clothes, and proceeded to tell me that she didn't have the right color thread for my clothes. It was pretty funny, until I had to explain why I needed the needle!
Shareef is also hilarious. I actually think this guy is the funniest guy in Dushanbe. I don't think we can get through a single conversation without him cracking a joke about something. Sometimes I don't realize he's even joking until afterward when everyone else has finished laughing. All and all, it's really quite the comical experience to be around him.
Behrooz and I are going to the bazaar today. I'm interested to see how this goes and, honestly, I'm a little nervous to try and haggle. I'll let you all know how it goes tomorrow!
P.S. that's what they call me here