As much as I tried to delay – perhaps in fear that writing this last post would officially end my trip to Central Asia – it was time the ending to Kyrgyzstan was posted. New adventures can only be started if we finish the older ones.
Bishkek would be the swan song of the Asian Youth Forum 2013. Being ripped away from what had become the familiar surroundings of Lake Issyk-Kul and thrown into a summery surrounding reminiscent of rural Romania, for me it all felt rather queer (and not in the gay way) from the very beginning. Unfamiliar, tainted by the constant departures and being left behind, yet also relaxed as everything had ended.
As we arrived at Dostuk Hotel (famed to be the third best hotel in the area, yet, well, that’s all relative), the air was dry – as it had been everywhere in Kyrgyzstan to the vast unpleasure of my nose – warm and filled with dandelion seeds. Which some South East Asians had though for a brief, innocent and absolutely amusing moment to be snow.
Bar the sudden confusion and lack of being told where to be and what do to, the hard beads and decaying bathrooms, the hotel offered, in a pleasantly communist way, condom vending machines at each floor.
I failed to romance anyone during my trip – for several reasons. Loyalty. My inability to properly manipulate people. Context. So I spent most of my final days roaming around Bishkek, worrying about where I could find postcards to send and that I might not wake up on time to get to my flight.
Look at that squirrel! Such cute ears! I know, I am so easily distracted by cute animals.
As previously mentioned, the streets reminded me of certain parts of rural Romania (or generally of the South, which, if you ask me, is just a big rural area with wanna-be cities); shops had exceedingly cheap products and lots and lots of beer (fact which I couldn’t exploit very much as my drinking buddies were slowly going away). The smell of BBQ filled every nook and cranny of the pavements, and there were many of those.
Less due to my own choice and more due to other people deciding for me, I was trapped in the capital for 2 days. The first night we went over to a German Pub where I had pistachio beer (the green one), pomegranate beer and really amazing chicken wings. Then the Cambodians left that night (and with them, I lost a bet with an irishman), as well as Manos and Steven and a few others.
Tempted to just sleep in my entire second day, I decided not to be emo and depressed (which was a most difficult decision, believe me), so I dragged myself out of bed at a rather fashionable hour (12 at noon) and decided to find Ronna so that we could roam around and finally find those dreaded postcards.
And roam we did. I was quite glad of my decision not to waste away my life in a communist bed. I managed to find postcards thanks to the fact that we bumped into some of the Tajik and Kyrgyz debaters whilst in town (the building above is the post office), then even found a lovely little terrace where you had to take your shoes off to get onto those table-like things! Still, a slight feeling of sadness and all the departures lingered. At least it was sunny and warm. Rain would have definitely made me just sit in my communist room.
Last dinner was at the Peking Duck which had surprisingly good Chinese food! (and free internet. God bless internet). Roamed around the night version of the city, with peacocks on the street so you could take pictures with them (for a certain sum, obviously), people skating and a general buzz that I was unexpected to find. More goodbyes awaited as I left the company of Nouran, Sherzod, Logan and Noura. But after all the traveling I have done, all the moving to other continents, saying goodbye isn’t as difficult as it would have probably been at some point in my life.
I did manage to wake up the next day and find the taxi that was paid for me. My taxi driver, Mikki, decided to ignore all and any cultural and language barrier between us and really insisted on communicating with me during the half hour trip to the airport. He is 24, currently single, and doesn’t need a visa for Istanbul. He also knows a few words in Japanese.
Can’t get enough? This post is part of a series!