Thursday, March 24, 2005

Came home last night to find the phone line silent; couldn't get online and, for about half an hour, felt as if all the oxygen was suddenly gone; then I calmed down and ended up enjoying this forced isolation.

Besides reviving my very private Dear Diary (more or less dormant since late August 2004, the time I revived this blog), I also finished reading a really interesting book, Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia, by Louisa Waugh.

Mongolia is a lot more obscure than Ukraine, and I know only one person who visited it briefly, and the book is about the most obscure and remote area of Mongolia, the village of Tsengel in the Bayan-Olgii province, populated mainly by the Mongol Kazakhs and the Tuvans. A very intimate and honest account of an extremely tough, year-long expat experience; when I read the last page, I felt quite brokenhearted - as if I myself had befriended all the people mentioned in the book and then had to part with them for good.

Interestingly, Louisa Waugh had been in Sarajevo, researching the city's literary scene, shortly before I suddenly got an urge to go there: here's her piece in the Guardian on her Sarajevo encounters.

Back to the phone situation: at around 8 am today, I heard a single ring of our phone, and then, ten minutes later, another one. Two guys came to repair it around noon, but the problem had been long gone by then. (Why it took them almost 18 hours to show up is another story - this is how things work here. Also, I still have no idea what the problem was - but who cares when everything's fine again...)

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