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I know nothing

  Tue 23rd January 2018

We've got our second day off in a row today, because of the cold. The Met Office reckons it "feels like" minus 46. I wanted to see what that really does feel like, so yesterday I took Mr Joyce to a "German" brewpub.

There's always the staring, the treacly slow passage of a couple of seconds during which they stand absolutely still and don't say a word to you during the facial inspection; before a super-ego'd civility resumes its precedence over their id-driven bemusement at unfamiliar racial features. They want to be decent, but they can come across as country folk sometimes. Fuck knows what it would be like to be black here.

The beer was 900 Tenge -- £2 -- but that's a lot of money when you can get a perfectly good bottle of Kazakh wine in the supermarket for 950. I stayed for only the one, feeling self-conscious and disabled by my lack of Kazakh, missing the shameless open-ended afternoons down The Shipbuilder's Arms, missing Karen in her narrow-waisted broderie anglaise top and black miniskirt, and how she gives me license to say the first thing that comes into my head.

I went to pay with a 1000 note. The waiter brought my bill, revealing its rune in a red leatherette apparatus that looked like a prop from Fawlty Towers. He disappeared with my money, and I stood awkwardly at the bar next to a young local girl, before realising that he wasn't coming back with any change. I fiddled with my phone to provide a cover for a fiftysomething foreign man hovering next to a woman half his age.


Checking my emails, I am invited to an interview for a job in Piedmont, (which I decline), and I arrange a meeting with the Export Director of a refrigeration equipment firm to discuss giving the executives business English lessons. I've never been in such demand in my life.

One from Wendy glints like a single sequin; I save it till last. She ends it with a paragraph, "I want to get drunk with you", and sexual desire for her washed over me.


I changed some money yesterday. Not quite all of it, because the cashier refused one of the old style tenners, pointing at the dates during which Charles Darwin was alive and shaking his head. But with what was acceptable for transmutation, I'm off to buy a "smartphone". Wish me luck -- I hardly know what a smartphone is. Work wants me to have one, and I can Instawhat home for free.

4 comments

I’m glad that these posts are coming more frequently. You used to make us wait an interminable amount of time between writings. I much prefer this. Same great stuff. Just more of it.

Smartphones are crazy expensive here in the US. Odd that they would insist you have one.

Tue 23rd January 2018 @ 17:49
Comment from: [Member]

When you’ve got no-one to talk to, it makes you more voluble online. Thanks Mark, you’re always so appreciative.

Smartphones here, running Android, start at about £40 for the basic Russian models. Odd that they’re so expensive in the US. I’d have thought such a large market would have produced economies of scale.

Anyway, I’ve decided to postpone my purchase until I get paid. I haven’t got much money to play with at the moment and I don’t get paid until 10th Feb.

Tue 23rd January 2018 @ 18:31
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

i’m also enjoying the more regular posts - i look forward to seeing you make progress socially, culturally and finding more comfort. At least i hope that happens!

Sun 28th January 2018 @ 22:20
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thank you Daisy. My flat’s warm but you wouldn’t want come here for comfort :) Got to crack on with the Kazakh. I was thinking of your daughter actually because if you had some Turkish, Kazakh would be a lot easier. Cheers though Daisy. Onward and upward!

Sun 28th January 2018 @ 22:32


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M / 53 / now in Astana, but from Lancaster ("the Brighton of the North").

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

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