the porous city



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More Bishkek
There's another American in my guesthouse; he said there's a book title that describes life in Bishkek: "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City". The guesthouse is filled with travellers waiting for visas for half a dozen countries in Central Asia and the Middle East, marking the days (literally: there's a book where people can scratch out days like prisoners. I've been waiting eighteen days for an Uzbek letter of invitation, I've got a shot at #2.)

The city was built after WWII, so it doesn't have a lot of sightseeing value. The local cuisine can get monotonous, although it's nice to be able to get bread and cheese after east Asia. And Bishkek has its share of drunks, crooked cops and young men looking for a fight.

But it's a lovely city during the day, filled with trees, parks, broad Soviet squares. The other guests at Nomad's Home have been wonderful (there's a self-congratulatory saying among backpackers that the weirder the place, the cooler the travellers you meet.) Went hiking for a couple days and met some people on the trail who shared everything, selflessly, which is not always easy to do when you're wet, cold and hungry. I couldn't get these people to accept a beer in return back in Bishkek. A Polish guy gave me the shirt off his back after I told him I liked it. And the guesthouse itself is basically an extension of a Kyrgyz family's home, which may help set the tone.

All that said, where the hell is my Uzbek LOI?

last timestamped: 04:41:12 24-Jun-2008
in categories:Travel/Vagabond'08





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