As a kid I used to spin the globe and let the finger fall, as kids do. Over and over the result seemed to come back Russia, with Canada or the Pacific Ocean thrown in occasionally. I’d stare in disbelief, refusing to accept that this huge hunk of land could possibly call itself one country. I know now that it’s not and never really was.
The former U.S.S.R. is a diverse blend of Asia, and there’s no better place to see the crossroads of the continent than in Central Asia, “the ‘stans”.
The streets of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, bustles with Russians, Kyrgyzs, and a sprinkling of Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Turkmen, no doubt. The city isn’t particularly interesting but has a comfortable run-down beauty about it, highlighted by the constant parade of new faces. As for capitals to be “down and out” in, Bishkek in the spring is a beauty, with green everywhere and tons of cheap little cafes where you can enjoy a beer in the shade. I’ve walked through its many weedy parks for the past week in rain and shine and still enjoy the relaxed feeling here.
Looking south from anywhere in the city you can see the looming peaks of the Alatau range. A 20 minute busride brings you to the foothills of these magestic mountains where you can wander through the spring flowers and enjoy both the alpine and city views.
When I think back to those childhood memories in front of the globe, I’m so happy to be putting a picture and persona to that big space in Asia that was once painted red and now is so colorful.
Tags: Eurasia: Marco Polo-in' it, Kyrgyzstan