Traveling in Kyrgyzstan is always an experience. Twice I have ridden from Bishkek to Karakol with Urmat, a marshrutka driver. On the first trip, Urmat shared his local drink with Derrick and me. I’m not really certain what it was, but I can certainly say it was unique. The closest way I can describe it is soured, chunky milk mixed with oatmeal, all thrown in a blender with a heavy dose of salt. Honestly, this is the only truly disgusting thing I have ever eaten in any country I have visited. So far…
The second trip – this time with Daryl – started out quite auspiciously. We stopped for самсы (sahm-see) before we even got out of Bishkek. The roadside seller was a typical looking Kyrgyz woman. Our driver asked her for extra plastic bags (called packets) and extra napkins. He just wanted one for each person to help avoid the inevitable dripping grease. What seemed a simple request quickly escalated into a shouting match, which we could not follow because I speak no Kyrgyz – only Russian – and Daryl only understands limited Kyrgyz (and solid Russian). Our driver wryly observed, when safely back in the marshrutka without our самсы,
“She is a cobra!”
Our hunger was satisfied later when we sat in our driver’s family home in a village for tea and snacks. Daryl will write more about that on his Monday post. Bottom line: life is an adventure and language learning a must. I am ready to get back to the task of learning.