What we call “extended family” or “distant relatives” in America is simply called “family” in Kyrgyzstan. And they mean it, too. When we stayed with a Kyrgyz-American family in Bishkek, we noticed how grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and other family members would swing by the house almost every day, fluidly entering and exiting. The volume and pace of family movement seemed to cause little commotion or stress. Continue Reading »
Category Archive: Kyrgyzstan
When we travel, we aim to maximize our depth of understanding of a place relative to the limited amount of time we have to spend there. We try to plan our visit to each location around the people we know, the recommendations they make and a list of sights that we’ve developed independently through our own research. Planning our visit to Kyrgyzstan was no exception. However, the wide cross-section of people, sights and activities to which we had access provided us the opportunity to dig more deeply than usual. Continue Reading »
In late September, we headed into the mountains of eastern Kyrgyzstan with a stash of US dollars tucked away in our money belts for emergencies. When we emerged a week later, that same stash was worth about 5% less. No surprise that the dollar was trading lower. This has been the pattern for some time now, particularly since we began our travels one year ago. Continue Reading »
Having just uncorked our first bottle of Chinese wine, we began to reminisce about the small, lovely and affordable French wine collection we’d built in Prague (then quickly quaffed), thanks to the Salon de Vignerons Independants (French Independent Vintners Festival) that we attended in February 2005 and February 2006 in Strasbourg, France.
In addition to tasting over 300 different wines at those two events, we returned home with a small cache of 100 bottles. The taste and quality of the bottles we purchased belied the fact that most of them cost well under 10 Euros. We could continue our little daydream here, but we’ll leave you to read this article that we wrote about the Salon earlier this year.
Now, back to our current reality… Continue Reading »
So we went a little nuts with photos in Kyrgyzstan. But we have an excuse. We were there for over a month – tracking down militsia (OVIR, to those familiar) to renew our visas, getting stuck in snowstorms, meeting old friends and collecting new ones, freezing to bits while taking in stunning scenery and enjoying some unbelievably kind hospitality.
Here’s our latest installment of photo essays: Continue Reading »
While in Bishkek, we visited Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyzstan bureau where they report and broadcast under the name Radio Azattyk. During our visit, we were asked for an interview regarding our travels, why we are taking this journey, and more specifically our observations thus far of Central Asia. Continue Reading »
Our travels in Kyrgyzstan overlapped with Ramadan this year (13 September – 12 October). For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection and renewal. While the majority of Kyrgyzstan’s Muslims do not appear to strictly adhere to the fasting requirements of the holiday, it still plays an important role in the country’s social and cultural landscape. The timing of our visit there offered us a unique window of insight into Kyrgyz culture…and a few challenging moments of discomfort.
We had just completed a beautiful two day journey on horseback and arrived on the shores of Song Kul Lake. Within 15 minutes of dismounting our horses, our horse trekking guide quickly switched gears. In what appeared to be an honor for him as a newly arrived guest, he was given the task of gutting a goat for the evening feast. Continue Reading »
Though you might think that each day on a journey like this is blessed by beautiful fairy tale scenery, gourmet ethnic food, impeccable accommodation, comfortable transport and the best that humanity has to offer, the reality is often different. We thought it might be interesting to share what a “perfect day” looks and feels like to us.
While waiting to extend our Kyrgyz visa in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, we opted for a getaway to Manzhyly, a shepherd’s outpost on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, the second-largest alpine lake in the world. Continue Reading »