Osh sits on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in the Fergana Valley that straddles both countries and makes up the most religiously conservative segments of both populations. The valley is too big to see either side so it’s basically flat, agricultural, and I like to think of it as an Islamic version of Kansas. People are extremely friendly here even though I’m a non-believing heathen and prefer my chicks unveiled. Go figure.
If you’d like to jump straight into the fold, staying at the Osh Guesthouse is a good start. The brothers Danyar and Abu-bakr run the place, a typical run-down Soviet flat that caters to the backpacker crowd pretty much solely. I can’t really see anyone else staying here and liking it. There’s a rotating staff that ensures someone’s usually always here if it’s not prayer time. Being a Muslim joint drinking isn’t allowed and if the satellite TV strays to MTV you might get some commentary like I did. I found the following interaction amusing:
What we have in this particular rap video is a rapper with the legitimate problem of having too many hos. Yes it’s common in these circles and this guy’s solution seems to be to hop around to as many hos as possible. Samir, a tall friendly guy who works during the day is straightening the common room and glances at the screen.
“This is an animal life. This is not for people to live…like animals.”
“Oh,” the awkward moment passes slowly as this heavily tattooed rapper I’ve never heard of walks in on his third girlfriend in the five minute video sleeping with another guy. “Do you want me to change it?”
“No, I’ve seen this before.” Alright, maybe the issues over. He starts in again. “A female dog has sex with any dog she wants. Many many dogs.” I see where he’s going with this. I’m close to asking him about all the male dogs out there. I mean this rapper’s the guy slutting around but Samir is irked more by this girl. “This is an animal life, don’t you think?”
Oh no. He’s asked me my opinion. I love sharing my opinion but I don’t this time. I actually agree with him to some extent. Samir sees humans as regressing to animal behavior. I think we’re a bunch of animals mostly that have a pretty good human act mastered. I think about telling him to go get drunk, to steal a playboy, to go watch a rugby match, to do anything but sit in this apartment washing himself and waiting for the call to prayer but I hold my tongue. I say I agree with him and I shake my head in feigned disgust as I switch the channel back to BBC World just in time to hear about the latest escalation of violence between Fata and Hamas in Gaza. Humans acting like animals or animals brushing off humanity? We’ll never agree.
Tags: Eurasia: Marco Polo-in' it, Kyrgyzstan