A few of us rode bikes into town yesterday afternoon to have a meal that was not potatoes and rice. It took a while to dig through the bikes on camp to find the ones most suitable for riding– most of them were missing breaks, or pedals, or other semi-important parts. I finally settled on the one with spiderwebs in the handlebars.

The bikes are heavy and don’t have gears, which makes riding them very, very hard work. (Last time I rode one I fell off and bruised my face). But yesterday I just sweated so much that my contact lenses felt like they were going to burst into flames. So I’m improving.

But it was all worth it because at lunch I had STEAK, which is the single best thing that has happened in my life in a while.

The waiter was excited that a couple of us were American, and told us that there is an American song that he likes very much, though he said he didn’t know the name.

“Can you sing it?” I asked.

He made a few short sounds, which reminded me of the opening to that dumb Christmas song, “Me and My Drum,” but I doubted very much that that was it.

“Is the song new or old?” I asked.


“Who sings it?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “A man.”

“Young man or old man?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen the video.”

“… Michael Jackson?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I don’t like his songs–only his style.”

“Well I don’t know how else to identify it,” I said.

“All the Russians like the song,” he said.

“Yeah… that doesn’t help.”

He went back inside, I guess to look it up, because he came back and announced that the song was “Baby,” by Justin Bieber, and he stood there singing it for a while as I ate my steak.