Our time in Osh began inauspiciously.
We climbed out of the mashrutka with little idea of where we were in town. We went to try and phone the hostel we hoped to stay at and I realized our phone was missing. I’d had it in my pocket on the mashrutka minutes before, so we ran back and tried to find it on the floor. No luck. No luck either when we used a fellow passengers phone to call ours. The SIM card had already been removed.
We made our way to the Osh Guesthouse, located on the fourth floor of a residential apartment building, only to find they were full for that night. While we sat and chatted with the staff and other guests the sky had darkened and it had started to rain. By the time we’d reached the ground floor the rain had become torrential. But we weren’t sure it would get better any time soon so out we went into the torrent, managing to become soaked from head to toes in the five minutes it took us to get to the next hotel just down the road.
Osh is perhaps best known to the outside world as the centre of the riots in 2010 (and earlier ones in 1990), which saw violent clashes between the city’s ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek residents. There was chaos in the city, with widespread looting and arson, and hundreds if not thousands (mostly Uzbeks) killed. While the two groups may not be the best of friends, it appears that the city’s Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations are once again living side by side in relative peace. Hopefully they have taken this sign (it reads “Peace”) at the north end of Osh’s Vayma Bazaar to heart