The tables were always filled with food. All the salads were devoured but I blink and suddenly there was something else to take the place of the empty bowl. In short it was an orgy of food. As we danced, the wait staff took everything off the table and gave us our hot entree; fish with mashed potatoes. Pretty decent fish for an almost landlocked country. The toasts went on and on and on and on. In Kazakh and in Russian, effusive 15 minute outpourings of emotions and respect. Times that by 200 people and Oy Vey will they ever shut up!!!! I jest a little. Hell, if/when I get to that age, may I have that many people be giving me such lavish toasts.
The piece de resistance, after gorging ourselves on appetizers, a hot entree, cakes and sweets was a giant baked fish presented on a platter surrounded by lettuce leaves and lemon slices. They told me what it was in Russian but let me tell you what it was: Ceolocanth! Yes this prehistoric fish reported in the rivers of Africa has made it to Central Asia somehow and there were about 20 of them being passed out at the tables around the hall. The ladies at my table grabbed the serving utensils and started passing out baked Ceolocanth to everyone. I was really full but still I got a huge piece as guest of honor from NYC. I took a few bites to be polite, a little too fishy for me and imagined how much Murka would love this. The waitress gave me a doggy bag and I quietly slid the prehistoric slab into it. Hey, a least it wasn’t the feared goat head with the eyeball!
So after hours of food, drink and dance, it was time to go home. Kulyash piled our winter clothes back on and headed out into the -30 degree Celcius night to flag down a cab. Poor Kulyash got robbed last week and all they took were her winter coats, so she was running around in her sister’s thick wool coat that night. No glamorous fur coat for her–some men broke into her apartment and stole the stoles so to speak. I’m sure my PETA friendly readers are clapping right now but let me tell you, when it gets this cold, you’ll be wanting a fur coat too! It keeps all the cold out. With that said, let me pile on my clothes and attend to my morning student waiting for me at the office.