I was sad to leave my Tash Rabat and my host family. We left early and waged war with the Chinese trunks whilst choking on the dusty roads. Amazingly out little car didn’t pack up and we made it to Narryn in one piece. From Narryn my taxi driver helped me find a Marsh to Bishkek. Luckily it was almost full up and I was off.
The drive was long, but entertaining. There was a party atmosphere on the marshrutka and soon enough my fellow travelers were well liquored up and spilling malt and vodka all over the bus. I was a bit alarmed to see our driver take a swig or two as well. Considering it was a long bloody haul to Bishkek we stopped far too often. We stopped to get fresh water from the river, we stopped at every food stand, we stopped for cigarette breaks, we stopped and waited for people to give or receive things hells bloody bells. We waited forever in Balykchy where my friendly neighbor insisted I had to taste the dried fish (yuk). He bought me three of them and insisted I ate them all. After choking on countless fish bones, I’d had enough! The malt they were forcing down my throat wasn’t particularly nice either. I was certain I’d die from either food poisoning or alcohol poisoning after that adventure in gastronomy. This dude was relentless in his task to get everyone on the marsh drunk! “Brum brum derpartybus geht rum”
I arrived in Bishkek late afternoon and make it to the guesthouse where I’d left my belongings. They thankfully had a spare bed and I spent the evening chatting to gorgeous French and Israeli men 🙂
I got hold of lovely Gulzada and caught up with Jakob as well after he returned from his hike around Altyn Arashan. Gulzada met me at the hostel and off we went to Kant. I didn’t know what to expect. She was so thrilled to have me stay with her and her family. I was the first international guest they had stay with them. They were so welcoming and mum embraced me whenever she got the chance. I had a wonderful stay with wonderful food and long chai sessions. It was great to get out of the hostel environment and reside with a family. I met all Gulzada’s lovely friends and family. We did all sorts of things like go to markets, walk about town and giggle at Russian soldiers at the air base. It was interesting to see how different the urban population of Kyrgystan live compared to their rural nomadic relatives. Kant was a soviet town and it’s never really shaken off that feeling. Old buildings, a railway with old
carriages that still bear the red star, old babushkas. I suppose the internet cafe is the only new thing about the place. Our neighbours were preparing for a wedding, lots of baking and food preparation was going on in our backyard. Thank goodness I missed the slaughter of a goat and cow, but the remnants were still there with pools of blood to dodge as we walked past.
Gulzada took me out partying one night at a discotheque in Kant! What an adventure, hookah and vodka and crazy dancing ensued. The Kyrgyz men dance pretty well and to see them embrace their traditional roots on the dance floor was charming. Everyone had a thousand questions for me which were pretty darn personal at times!
My host mother adored me and we had lots to talk about. It felt nice to have a soul sister in Gulzada. I extended my stay in Kant as I loved it and I kept on being asked to stay longer. We had Sunday lunch with Gulzada’s sister and family. They lived outside of Bishkek and were in the process of building their home. It was great to meet such a close knitted family where I was just an extension of that family tree.
I sadly had to get to Osh though and get a move on though. I was adorned with gifts from the family and it was so humbling to receive such generosity and love from a family who took me in and cared for me as their own. I do miss them and think of their love and warmth often. In a little flat in the outskirts of Kant I found a home in Kyrgyzstan.