Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day 2010 - Timor-Leste

Timorese workers braved the heat and humidity today to mark International Workers' Day or Labor Day.

Remembering Tajikistan 2007 on May Day

Mosaics like this in northern Tajikistan were created during the Soviet period as a public works project. Many of these colorful "works of art" still dot the countryside, but most are beginning to fade with time and no funds for restoration.

The guy below is also beginning to fade from view -- although he still stands guard outside a government building in Khujan, the second largest city in Tajikistan.
Pristine rivers like this one -- about 50 kilometers outside Dushanbe, the capital -- can turn into raging torrents after a heavy rain. This was a particularly beautiful May day in 2007. It goes without saying -- when the river rises -- the road disappears.
The road above leads to a trail that leads to the mountain lake below.

Delicious Tajik Dish

I got a craving the other day for this Tajik dish that I first had in northern Tajikistan. It's called Kurutob. Served in a hand-made wooden bowl, take pieces of naan, mix with yogurt and then put in onions and greens and -- here's the healthy part -- cover with very hot butter or oil -- and don't forget to put some salt on top. Don't forget the red hot chili pepper! This is a dish you'd probably want to have only once a year -- just to preserve your arteries.

Trio of Kittens

Vopros in the foreground, Lichtenstein at left and Wolfenstein

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunset on April 25

A mangrove just east of Dili at sunset.

Moments of Clarity

I never thought I would ever say this, but….I am tired of endless days of summer and blue skies, not to mention the heat and humidity.

I write these lines as I sit at my desk and enjoy a glorious rain storm that has been going on for the past 20 minutes. I’d forgotten how much I miss a gray sky and rain.

I miss, too, the coziness of the rain. I'm reminded of curling up with a good book at my grandmother’s house – sitting by the window next to the giant holly tree in the side yard.

For me, the Dili heat prevents everything except the shortest of walks – although I see a number of brave expats – jogging or playing soccer in the heat – their red faces contorted by the near non-existent breeze and high humidity.

The distant roar of thunder accompanies this rain storm and it, too, is most enjoyable. Where’s the lightning?

The rain is easing up now – the air is fresh – there is the fragrance of flowers – the leaves on the trees are bright green – the rain having washed away the dust.

My brain clears -- I'm able to focus more sharply -- as if the rain has cleared away the routine of the day.

More thunder – it’s closer now. Still no lightning.

Overhead, the rain drips from the mango leaves onto the roof. It's nice to have a break in the routine.

Sunday, April 25, 2010