Skip to main content

A Volunteer and the FBI

Some of you might have heard of Christine's troubles with the FBI (a friend of Jelte thought that gave her a lot of extra credit). Signing up for a volunteer job involves filling out a lot of forms; one of those is a criminal record check, which after 9/11, in the USA, is being handled by the FBI. We were warned about their bureaucracy but didn't expect that they couldn't read Christine's fingerprints which we heard a week before our intended day of departure to Dushanbe.

A frantic couple of days followed with Christine re-issuing her fingerprints (three sets to be on the safe side), follow up calls from England and Holland to chase the FBI,  all in the hope that we would make our scheduled departure from Frankfurt on Sunday Oct 2. We almost made it (one UPS delivery too late) but are happy to report that we are getting out of Europe on Wednesday October 6, arrival in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 3.20 AM local time October 7.  A huge THANK YOU  to 'Monica' at the FBI from Christine.  She's sure that without your incredible customer service and efficiency, she would still be languishing in Holland.  For the followers; in hours, Dushanbe is + 13 from LA, + 5 from London and + 4 from Amsterdam (so we will start really bright and early).

Every cloud has a silver lining of course, since the short delay gave us the opportunity to stock up on necessary supplies and medicines (thanks to our local GP), download all the books we wanted on our Ipad and to catch up with old friends in the UK and Holland.

So now it's on our way to Frankfurt to catch a 'plane to Tajikistan, where, it seems, they are waiting for us. There were already reports in the local press about two tourism advisors, who were on their way (that's us folks). Can't wait to get going....

Comments

  1. so glad to read an update from you guys and i'm glad that everything worked out! so excited to read about your adventure and to hear more about what it's like in Tajikistan - and pics too!

    and yay! you decided on an iPad! how are you liking it?

    safe travels - looking forward to your next update from Taji!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good luck with your trip! What an interesting country you're going to.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cross Border Markets and our First Tajik Wedding

It's Friday afternoon, 4:30 pm and a colleague mentions, by-the-way,  that Monday is a holiday as Constitution day falls on Saturday, 6th November.  A long week-end with places to go and things to see!!  To hell with a two week pile of unwashed clothes!   Here in Khorog, every Saturday morning  there is a cross-border market, which is the closest we can get to actually visiting Afghanistan.  
At 10 am Jelte, Rod and I hail a 'cab' and for the price of  just one Somoni each (the equivalent of 30c or 20p) we share a 'golf cart' - commonly known as a Chinese van - with 4 other passengers to take us to the site of the cross-border market.  When we arrive, things are just beginning to come alive.  
We wander around the few stalls of fruits and clothes and odds and ends. Jelte and Rod sit down to breakfast of 'choi' and bread with Halva. Christine is too busy watching one of the stall owners cook 'pilav' on an open fire.   
Within half an hour the mark…

A Presidential visit

For the past few months, Khorog residents have been busy repaving roads, completing unfinished buildings, walls, park boundaries.  We’ve never seen such frantic activity, nor Khorog looking so ... spruced.  President Rahmon is on his rounds... he’s visited Penjikent, ........ and now it’s the turn of the capital of the Pamirs.  The response to this ‘State Visit’ is mixed.   Some people shrug their shoulders in resignation, others plan what they are going to wear and how they can finagle a ‘ring side seat’ for this parade.   And us?  We’re going fishing.  Well, we might wait until the weekend, when all the fuss is over.
On his visit, the President opened the new Lycee, a gymnasium, amongst other notable activities.  The speechifying took place in Central Park, and of course, no-one but invited guests were able to get anywhere near the area.  The PECTA office, located in the Park, just yards from the centre of activity, was closed for the day.  No access.  Jelte did try to get in via an…

Reality Bites

Finally, I suppose it's time to talk about the weather here. Since arriving in Khorog, we have had just one day of rain... every other day has been filled with startling blue skies and sunshine. But, as the days draw shorter, the sun struggles to show its face over the mountain-tops. Which means that most of the valley sits in the shade until 10am. So, progressively, the edges of the river have started freezing and our daily walk across the wooden suspension bridge is a little more slippery. As Jelte mentioned, two weeks ago we took a trip to Roshan, Darwaz and the Gisev valley. It was pretty cool. This last week, we took a trip to Ishkashim; it was COLD. Both of us are eternally grateful to my sister Paula for guiding us through the necessities of cold weather gear. I know that our thin California blood would not have made it thus far without our thermals and countless other layers. The only items that we have still to get good use out of are our balaclavas and we hope they will …