Monday, May 4, 2009

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers (inshallah). Any Az7 or any faithful reader for that matter, ask me your burning question and I will update this post with replies!

Brenda B asks: What are the grocery stores like? Are there American brands? Totally weird things?

Löki Gale answers: Oldu - grocery stores here are mom & pop deals. There are a couple chains, but you will only find them in major urban areas. Rarely do you find anything that isn't Russian...so American brands are difficult, if not impossible to find. And weird..want a set of cow hooves for some soup?

Jenni asks: How do you get books? Do you trade with other PCVs? Do you trek to Baku? And what kind of snow boots do you recommend?

Löki Gale answers: By trade, family & friends send them, pick 'em up from the PC lounge in Baku. BUT! In PST you may have some problems getting a book or two, but our answer was to set up a book exchange during Hub Days.

And boots...people do not wear snow boots here and you will not need them (the snow does not get that bad in most areas). Bring rain boots - but be warned, you will get a lot of stares and maybe some negative attention.

Brenda B asks: When you pass people on the street, what is their reaction?

Löki Gale answers: The most often reaction I get on the street is an intense stare. I think it is because I stick out like a sore thumb, but I could be wrong. My return reaction is usually a mixture of small town Alaskan politeness and confrontation - I give a big smile and say, "Salam, Netarsen?"

Jenni asks: Do you plan to travel much before COS (Close of Service)? I have a hankering for Tblisi.

Löki Gale answers: Uh..YES! Traveling is a big perk of being a Volunteer! A lot of Volunteers travel and especially to Georgia (it is easily accessible and cheap). There are certain rules about travel as PCVs have to be extra safe, but once you learn the ropes, it is a blast. Even better - most countries in this area have PCVs, so you know you've got connections!