trying to pull an all-nighter

it’s 1:03 a.m. and we leave for the airport in an hour. Our flight is not until 5:00 a.m. but somehow we need to leave with 3 hours to go. I am exhuasted. I’m sure the rest of the gang is equally tired. I want to sleep but fear that I will not hear my alarm so I will do things like use the computer to keep me awake. I have the window open too and staying a bit cold keeps my eyelids open for some reason.

Our brief time in Azerbaijan made such a great impact on us and really started this tour right. Our hosts from the US embassy were so organized and helpful as well as super knowledgeable about the country’s history and about the history of the region.

We ended our tour with a traditional Azeri meal including Dolma and Plof. That’s dolmas and rice pilaf for all you Americans:)  The dolma was sautéed meat stuffed into cooked eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. It was so delicious. Then the plof included my favorite-chestnuts and apricots as well as local and small plums. Tea all around and with a side of cubed sugar that is so ubiquitous around the world. Why don’t we have that in the States? It seems more dignified than a packet of sugar somehow.

Earlier today included travel/teach/perform/travel to and from the city of Khachmaz.  To get there we had to drive on a new-ish highway past a deserted refinery and then a mountain range that looks like 5 fingers.   We learned that our sound guy-with all the gear-had a car breakdown at finger number 2 so he barely made it to our gig that afternoon!   We held a masterclass with 3 violin students and Alisa worked on “Cluck Old Hen” with them by ear. it was cute–“now that you know the song, stand on one foot, close one eye, air bow!!” with that endearing Wisconsin accent! Great Job!! (sounding like “great jab”!)

There was a strict piano teacher in the room–she had many things to say including letting us know that Arnold Schwarzenegger had been our governor. She also congratulated us on our recent Obama re-election.  Then she started acting like our teacher and correcting our music and we all got a bit nervous around her.   But–she and I had a nice smile from the stage to the audience at the concert.   I think some folks here don’t know what to make of us really! A string quartet that does not play Mozart? In these parts, it can be confusing I suppose.

falling asleep….need coffee….to much coffee

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