summer + autumn 2o18
sitting in a taxi with the strong feeling of dizziness caused by the experienced car breakdown in china, we see the inconceivable, mossy green, extensive hilly giants flying past our window. likewise, on the left lane, our hoisted bus on the much too small tow truck flies past. in osh we will meet again, that means in 250 kilometers.
during the day, clarity returns to our minds. together with our bus we arrived at the workshop of evgeny and vladimir. as soon as all spare parts come from germany, they promise to get the car going.
the two strong men belong to the minority of russians in kyrgyzstan. as far as we know, there is a nationality and an ethnicity in the passports of all inhabitants of the former soviet countries. this is determined by the father and carries great weight.
after the installation of all the new parts and a successful test drive we spend an extraordinary evening with the zany mechanic crew in an upmarket chinese restaurant. in a private room we laugh, eat and drink unrestrainedly in an exuberant mood. this is not russia. this is kyrgyzstan with russians.
osh is a cosy city with old-established shashlik restaurants, but also a small selection of hip cafes the like of which could be found in berlin. the central meeting point for young and old is the colorful, lively market, which winds its way through half the city. grannies in tightly wrapped, flowery headscarves sell fresh red berries, beans rolled up metres long, juicy apples and preserves from their kitchens in colourful plastic tubs. next door, the dairywoman sells freshly fermented mare’s milk, typical small hard cheese balls and centrically stamped flat bread called lepjoschka. it goes on like this stand by stand, from food to clothes and tools.
along the turquoise shimmering toktogul lake, stony and especially dusty slopes lead us towards issykul lake. our hair is grey like that of a grandma, dirty from top to toe. the stubborn, light-coloured earth powder sticks in every crack, on every storage surface of the car, deep in the pillows and on our blankets.
but the enormous panorama over the mountains and the second largest mountain lake in the world, the issykul, makes us forget the rattling ride and our mood soars. we are enchanted by the feeling of having arrived and being ready to stay. so we spend the summer and autumn in our rolling dacha, always alongside the water.
framed by the snow-covered tian shan mountains, which is praised as the non plus ultra by hikers and winter sports enthusiasts, the truly elegant horses, the shaggy, double-buttocked sheep and unfazed cows slowly pass us by. shepherds with their traditional kalpak, a tall black and white felt hat, take a break over a chai. together we enjoy the warm black tea with sugar.
during these days the nomad games take place in cholpon ata, action-packed, powerful and impulsive. they are the olympic games of the nomadic peoples. heavyweights wrestle for victory, young men ride bareback, fused with their horses, in a race of speed. the highlight is kok boru. it amazes everyone. with a decapitated sheep, two teams play a kind of football on horseback. the sheep’s body has to be thrown from the rider onto the ground and then thrown back into the goal. euphoria fills the stadium, proudly the people wave their red flags with the yellow tündük finally shining as the winner against kazakhstan. a real equestrian nation rides joyfully home.
the temperatures are slowly sinking towards 0, so we move further west in nomadic style, where we catch the last rays of sunshine, collect leftover walnuts and use them to bake fresh bread.
the next day, you can hardly believe it, large, thick flakes silently fall and roll out the white carpet of winter. for luk a real wonder world.it is time to park our bus in almaty, kazakhstan and fly into the warmth.
little kyrgyzstan, you have taken a big piece of space in all our hearts and next year we will come back, i promise!