It is still hot in Bishkek. But somehow there are always quite a few people walking around outside. In Osh, I had unsuccessfully tried to get a massage, but in Bishkek I was more successful. And I thought it was a great idea to lie around in a room with a pleasant temperature and have someone press against me, and I moan pleasantly. I still rarely take photos, but when I do, I like to continue photographing small people in big cities:
And I can’t just walk past Coca Cola in a Soviet ambience:
And then the time had come! I drove to the airport very early in the morning and picked up Ute! In advance: there will be no pictures here at least not recognisable ones of her for reasons, but she will be with me for the rest of the trip now. She is from Hamburg, where it was raining at 16°C. Here it’s still 35plus degrees and so we sweated together. And later in the day we had to go out and look at something.
This one was quite nice because the young man on the stairs sang and played music very beautifully.
Later, we were lucky enough to see the changing of the guard. Under the Kyrgyz flag in Ala Too Square, there are always 2 soldiers guarding it. They are very motionless and look rather small and I actually thought they were dolls until then. But a soldier came with 2 with him. They threw their legs up in front and carried a rifle and made arm movements to it. I thought it would be interesting to compare the different marching styles of the different armies. But here I had to make do with these. So they walked up to the guards, waving their legs, and exchanged information, and the accompanying soldier took the other two with him, waving their legs.
There was then still quite nice light and we went back again and then the day was also soon over.
And the next day our organised tour started. We had a city tour with a guide. Her name is Guldastan, she works and also lives in the accommodation and speaks perfect German. She had been in Germany for some time on scholarships and hopes to come back. She had studied German language and literature – her speciality: German for IT. We were in for another big surprise: it was overcast and a wind was blowing and it was a really pleasant temperature. But only in the morning, then it got hot again. We drove to the State History Museum and looked around there and were told a lot and afterwards I was very full of information.
In front of the museum is this statue of Manas, the national hero with a long epic. Lenin used to stand there, but at some point they thought it wasn’t a good place for him and moved him behind the building and replaced him with a statue of a woman (I forget which one). But the people or anyone else didn’t like that: a strong man was needed in that place. And so they agreed on Manas.
We learned about the different groupings. I thought there were 40, but on this display board there are not quite that many:
In any case, everyone knows which group they belong to. People marry in confusion and the group membership is patrilineal. We also heard about corruption – these horses were bought for horrendous money. At least officially.
I asked how or if they talked about politics here. Guldastan said that it was not a good idea – one would only argue and that would be a waste of time.
But we learned other interesting things: I had already wondered what else the Saudis were doing here besides building mosques to spread Islam better. They would invest in “charity for the needy”. In concrete terms, this means that Guldastan has a single widowed sister with 3 children who is not doing so well financially. Bu tlearning Arabic once a week, she gets 40 USD each time.
We went to a coffee shop, but I was unlucky: great coffee from a machine was only available with milk, I had to drink black Nescafe. This came in a good glass, while the fancier machine coffee was served in a paper cup. There was no toilet in the large café and – as always – queues of ladies in the department stores’ next door.
We went to the peace square, where a troop was just marching in strange formations and stopping, which was recorded by a drone. The first attempt obviously didn’t inspire and they marched again, but by now it was too hot for us to look any further.
On the one hand, Bishkek is a very ugly city, but on the other hand it has a very nice green park strip and is also called the “green city”. In summer, it is more bearable under the trees than in the squares. So we looked around, talked about this and that and visited the Osh Bazaar, where I didn’t take any photos, and then we were completely exhausted and returned to our accommodation and eagerly awaited the next morning, where we wanted to start our tour.