Wednesday, March 07, 2007

International Woman Day

Holidays are a huge deal here - I have already in some form celebrated day of the disabled person, day of the accountant, day of the student, day of the volunteer and day of the tenge (the Kazkakh currency)... and tomorrow is international woman's day....

Today is the day before International Woman’s Day (8th March) which is a bit like mother’s day but on a much larger scale. I was invited to my departments celebratory dinner (unlike at Christmas so I am very pleased about having made the jump from foreigner who works in room 16 to the weird foreigner who works in the internal political department in room 16). And what a spread has just been laid on. In a department of women there was a lot of home made food and after a few days of manic work today was a real break. When I came in to work I was turned around and taken to buy a cake for after dinner and everyone had managed to slink off home to finish their part of the feast before reconvening at 1pm for a three hour marathon eating session with vodka, cognac and wine flowing freely. I get the feeling I may have been here too long when I immediately reach for the pickled cabbage followed by the pickled tomatoes before starting on the fresh stuff! By the time it came to cake and after a lot of toasts I everyone was a little tipsy and the best bit about it all is that everyone then went straight back to work!

Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday have been decreed as bank holidays but people are all a little confused because it was only announced at the end of last week from what I can work out. Most people were expecting Thursday off but not the other two days. But in exchange for a long holiday there is a price to pay which is Sunday has been made a working day! Not sure of the morality of taking away a persons weekend but none seems to be complaining.

You would be forgiven for thinking today is a bank holiday because no one seems to be in work. When I went to buy the cake there was a long queue and an even longer queue for one of the three cash points in the town of at least forty people.

Not sure of my plans for the break as it is all a little last minute and I had no idea that it was such a big thing here!


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