Monday, June 27, 2011

A Tribute

Before we write a real blog post about our adventures this weekend at a jailoo (high country pasture), let me first, in true Kyrgyz style, raise a shot of vodka and toast my mother.

Here's to you, amazing mother of mine, for
  • Cheerfully going with the flow, even when we had no idea where the current would take us
  • Eating strange and unusual things (like sheep's lung filled with milk and your favorite drink made out of fermented mare's milk, kumis) without a word of complaint
  • Using the outhouse with a half door, two rickety old boards and a squatty potty inside
  • Becoming good friends with our dear friend and co-worker Chynara

  • Taking your shoes on and off numerous times
  • Getting on and off the floor to eat around the short floor tables
  • Eating food when you weren't hungry!
  • Squashing into a full car without a word
  •  Traversing "adventurous" terrain by car with no sign of fear (although I suspect some lurked deep inside!)

  • Doing your best to speak the language

  • Dealing with no running water quite well

  • Playing with the children at the yurt
  • Sleeping in the yurt with 8 other people :)

  • Cuddling and holding sleeping Daniel for that hour and a half in the crowded, warm car 
  • Being way out of your comfort zone for so long!
  • And most of all, for laughing, smiling and eagerly learning about everything!

You are the best!  Cheers to you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kel-Tor Lake

Yes, another day of hiking.  (It was wonderful.)

This past Saturday we woke at 6:15, got ready to go, and left the apartment by 7:00.  We met at the Trekking Union Of Kyrgyzstan and were on our way by about 7:45.  It was a bit of a drive, but a nice one.  We started hiking by 9:45.

We walked along this beautiful river, past some horses, through fields of wildflowers and groves of trees.  We also walked up steep hills.

About half of the way to the lake was this whimsical meadow.  It made Katie feel whimsical anyway...

I, on the other hand, did not succumb to whimsey...

Alright, back to hiking.  Up some more steep terrain and we came upon this (no editing of photos done here, it's the glacial silt that gives the lake this color):

We had lunch, got rained on, hailed on and generally enjoyed the time immensely.  I walked around the lake just because I could.  The creek was a trick to cross on the other side, but the flowers were fantastic, as was the whole scene.  Clouds hanging on the mountains in the background, rushing creek, teal water, what's not to like?

I returned to the lunch spot and most everyone had left already.  I walked nearly alone through the flowers and trees until, at last, I spotted people I knew.  I promptly joined them for the rest of the trip back to the vans.  A good day.


View from our window during a light show.  Much better than the occasional fireworks.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Alright, so I went out to go for a walk and take pictures of roses (see below).  What did I find?  Some serious cart races going on on Chui (the big avenue through downtown Bishkek).  It was pretty fun to watch the races and the people gathered in the square.

Alex, this one's for you...

And, since you've all been so patient with me lately and you've come this far (unless you just skip to the end to see how it ends up), I'll give you a couple more pictures from last weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bishkek Buds

Roses, people, ROSES!  (They're all over the place here.)

I went out for a walk through our beautiful city and took pictures of roses.  Seriously, some gas stations have rose gardens in front!  There are roses in the public squares.  You'll find roses at our school.  Roses can be seen in people's yards.  Roses even are for sale at florists!

Here's a small taste of a short walk through Bishkek this time of year:

Okay, and back to the title of the post.  This is also found along the streets around here.  This variety is worthless as a narcotic and no one even gives it a second look:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthday in Bishkek

Alright, so I spent most of my waking hours during my birthday out of Bishkek, but it started and ended in Bishkek.

We went hiking in Ala Archa gorge.  It's simply beautiful, and it was a pleasure to spend some time in the mountains.  Enough with the words... on to the pictures.

This bridge is in pretty good shape.  It goes from one side of the river to the other. :o)

As you can see, some bridges don't go from one side of the river to the other.  In this case, the log was slippery as snot, so we ended up walking down stream, taking our boots off and dipping our feet into water that was surely frozen only hours prior.  It was cold.  Ediza lake cold.