While I'm at it, here's another update/correction, a very, very belated one: Ilyas, the only Kyrgyz I used to know, is not the nephew of Misir Ashyrkulov, former head of Kyrgyzstan’s Security Council and Askar Akayev's friend. Someone who calls him/herself "another Kyrgyz" left this comment on April 12:
Neeka, I can assure you that Ilyas is not in any kind of relation to Misir Ashyrkulov. I know both of them very well.
Finally, while I'm at it, I've been looking for this guy for a painfully long time - Matthew Thomas, or Motya, or Matvey. I know that several other friends have been looking for him as well.
He could be anywhere now: in LA, in Tanzania, in Zanzibar or Kenya, or in Russia...
Last time I heard from him was in October 1999 - and I do miss him terribly. Here're two silly pictures of us that I've got right here with me, taken in Moscow, in August 1998, by our friend Dima - too tiny, and all you can see is that Matvey is very blond and totally unforgettable.
Internet is an amazing thing - but it's helpless when the guy you're looking for has this crazy name: Matthew Thomas...
Here's what he was up to at the end of October 1999 - has anyone here heard anything about him or seen him since then?.. That'd be such a miracle...
O so pleasant to settle down for your story of lousy Ukrainian trains. You are a sponge wiping up the flavors of life from the table top, the walls,--this metaphor would become quickly disgusting if I said even the liquid off the train's bathroom floor...
I miss you nika. I saw Dima the other night. I went to the Bijou, not knowing what was playing and saw a documentary on a legendary experimental film maker I had never heard of. Dima was doing the same. We walked after the movie and caught up on each other's news. He leaves soon for Munchen-lucky sod.
For myself, I leave soon for LA. I'm spending 6 weeks with my family, then I'll return quickly for a week in Iowa City to defend my thesis for Journalism. Then I'm off for Tanzania. It feels like a huge change, I'm anxious for it yet nervous. I'm trying to get all the details together for my trip, and not doing a good job of it. I hate those travel details, packing mostly.
Between departure and thesis, I have plenty to keep me boringly busy. I look forward to Zanzibar where I'll have nothing to do for a while except learn Kiswahili.
I kiss you,
(Motya, where the fuck are you? This letter has made me cry, almost. I do hope you're safe and happy...)