White, Wild, and Wonderful

Katie and Myles, Mikey's sister and her main man, are visiting us for two weeks. We have had an action packed time together!

Once the pair adjusted to the 12 hour time difference from Denver to Dushanbe we started our adventures by going horse back riding. This wasn't a pony ride at the fair or a follow the leader trail ride like we remembered from our youth. We rode buzkachi horses, horses that are trained to run fast and fight.

We arrived mid-morning to a village where the horses and chirvandos (buzkachi competitors) lived near Dushanbe. Mounting the horses was an experience in itself. Katie who hovers around 5 feet tall was assisted by the chirvandos. Viraf, a fellow Fulbrighter and Southern Califronia native was not the recipient of such help. Men don't insult other men by offering assistance. Viraf had never sat on a horse, much less ridden one, and my laughter prevented me from being any help. Eventually our horses were led to a near by wall where Viraf and I were able to settle into the wooden saddles and join the group.

Once on the horses, we realized the plan was unclear. We were delighted when two chirvandos joined us as guides. They were clearly unaware of our expectations which were based on horse back riding tourism in the states. Initially, we were all confused. We were startled when our horses started bucking and kicking towards one another. The guides were surprised we were stupid enough to put our horses so close together, yelling "these are buzkachi horses, they will fight!" A variety of lessons were learned quickly.

The weather was snowy with near white-out conditions for the duration of our two hour ride. If there had been scenery other than white, I'm not sure we would have been able to enjoy it. The majority of our energy was spent trying to stay upright in the saddle and to restrain our horses from galloping. Katie's horse was the spunkiest; it dumped her in a pile of snow half way back to the village. What a way to be welcomed to Tajikistan! She showed her gumption by remounting the feisty steed and leading us all back to the village.

This weekend we will attend a buzkachi match with a clearer understanding of how spetacular the chirvandos and horses are!

Prostate Stimulator

This is a story I must tell vicariously, as it is another's experience not my own.

In a Tajik village there is a foreigner who rents a room with a family, the head of the household is a local doctor, he is a family practitioner, an everything doctor. This doctor is a pragmatic person. There are certain medical supplies that aren't available in Tajikistan and a foreign friend can be the supplier of much needed medical equipment.

The foreign lodger was leaving Tajikistan for the holidays and was asked by his doctor-friend to pick up supplies he needed for his practice: a blood sugar monitor and a prostate stimulator. The first request was self explanatory, but the second request needed an explanation for the the foreigner to understand specifically what was needed.

The doctor informed him there was a man in the village who was having difficulties pleasuring his wife, Viagra hadn't done the trick, and the doctor assumed a prostate stimulator was the next reasonable medical prescription. The only hitch was prostate stimulators aren't readily available in Tajikistan. There are no XXX shops with neon lights advertising adult toys like where the foreigner was traveling to.

While on vacation, with a good sense of humor, the foreigner visited a sex shop to obtain the requested prostate stimulator. The conversation went as expected:

Foreigner: "I'd like to see the varieties of prostate stimulators you have in stock. It's not for me, it's for my friend...no, really, I live in Tajikistan and this is for medical purposes."

Salesperson: "Ok, so hypothetically speaking what is "your friend" looking for?"

The selection was made, the prostate stimulator was purchased, but the foreigner had doubts about the appropriateness of his selection. His first night back in Tajikistan he had dinner with the doctor's family. New Years gifts were dispersed and the medical equipment was passed to the doctor in a brown paper bag with a discreet comment and a wink, "we can discuss this later."

Shortly afterwards the doctor unexpectedly opened the brown bag to examine its contents at the dinner table. He was pleased with the blood sugar monitor and perplexed by the prostate stimulator. The foreigner showed the doctor how to turn on the vibrating mechanism. Subsequently, the prostate stimulator was passed around the dinner table from family member to family member, vibrating all the while.

When the foreigner realized that the whole family knew who and what the prostate stimulator was for, he changed from subtle to diret communication. He inquired if the anal vibrator was what the doctor wanted for his patient. He offered to return the stimulator if it wasn't what the doctor wanted. The doctor addressed his and the foreigner's uncertainty by responding "we can let my patient try it out, and if it doesn't work, you can return it."

Having lived in Tajikistan for a while, the foreigner was able to respond to the unexpected with ease. He explained that once the prostate stimulator was used it would not be possible to return it. We can all be hopeful that what the doctor ordered is what the patient needed, and that the vibrator doesn't find intself incarnated as a child's toy in a Tajik village!