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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

Just kidding about the internet access, apparently. I thought the Istanbul layover would be more hectic, what with touring the city and all, but as it turns out travel is an hour there and back, and all the cool stuff is closed on Sundays, so most of us (including me) have elected to hang out in the airport for the five or so hours until our flight to Bishkek. It's very cosmopolitan in here, and much nicer than JFK. We got two meals and three movies on the flight here, and I caught "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and part of "The Invention of Lying" before zonking out. I'm starting to reek a little - some people went in search of a shower at the airport hotel, but in the spirit of weekly bathing I think I'll just stick to a reapplication of deodorant. Short hair was a good choice.

In meeting everyone, I've started to notice that I'm among the youngest. Applying to the Peace Corps requires a college degree, but I figured most people would be newly graduated, like me. Instead, the average age seems to be about 26 or 27, with some people doing the Peace Corps as part of a graduate program, some already out of grad school, some a few years into a career. There are two married couples, both (I'm guessing) about 30 or so, and one guy who looks to be in his 50s. After the basics (age, hometown, degree, PC program), popular questions include what you packed and how much you've studied the language. Generally, people seem not to have done much, either because they didn't feel like it or out of a fear of learning something wrong and having to be retaught.

I'm surprisingly awake and surprisingly hungry considering my sleep schedule and the amount of sitting I've been doing lately, respectively, and I expect there is a crash coming. I think we're meant to arrive in Bishkek about 1:30 AM local time (which, by the way, is 10 hours ahead of EST, 12 ahead of Mountain), but no one seems to know if we get to sleep or if we have to start in on training and such right away. I'm hoping for the former.

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