I’m back in the world of the internet and I’ve had some really great days. We started on a sunny Wednesday at the place where there are community taxis to Kochkor. You pay a fixed price per seat and wait until the car is full and then off you go. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit as cramped as in various Indian shared taxis.
We drove direction mountains or better said there were mountains on both sides and those in the north belong to Kazakhstan. The border is partly no more than 100 m away.
On the road I am with Rakhat, a 26-year-old young man who promised me something off the beaten track and something with walking. Here he is at a fuel stop with my seat neighbour and her granddaughter. She kept looking at me with wide eyes the whole time.
Kochkor is a large village with 10,000 inhabitants south of Bishkek, separated by a mountain range, so that one has to drive 185 km in a semicircle. It is actually a tourist village with accommodation etc., which is used as a starting point for trekking, among other things. There is also a women’s cooperative that makes beautiful things. I was the first visitor there since Corona (but they also do online sales – after all…). Likewise in the accommodation, a nice guesthouse. The family had already found other sources of income and was now tossing and turning because of the sudden guests. A room that had been used for other purposes in the meantime was quickly prepared and we had to have dinner somewhere else. In any case, it was nice to stay with them, but the blue sky and curiosity quickly drove us out again anyway.
Enthusiastically, I immediately photographed the first animals I came across. In the countryside, most families have sheep, goats, cows, horses and/or chickens alone or in addition.
I started to learn the first things. In Soviet times there were 4 different types of apartment buildings. This is the lowest category with very small housing units for workers without families.
When the Chernobyl accident happened, many people from Kyrgyzstan were sent there to help. They came back contaminated, died and got monuments – like this one:
You often see wagons like this standing around in the country. This one is said to have once been a shooting range.
Dinner was in a fun empty place with dance music. I learned a) that toilets are always the small buildings furthest away from the main building and b) that the camera-based translation help with the menu is not much help.
And then we went back to the accommodation and had a wonderful sleep.