A few years ago I was talking with a friend of mine about getting some candy from the bazaar in Bishkek. I thought I knew everything about the bazaar but I knew nothing about the candy in the “basement” of Osh bazaar. This really intrigued me. “Let’s go get some candy from the bazaar on Friday”, I told my friend.
Friday afternoon, my friend and I set out to get a good ration of candy from the bazaar. I mapped out the maze of the bazaar in my head. I thought hard and I could not figure out where it would be. So we arrived at Osh bazaar and I followed my friend into the deep sea of vendors and people. I had my hand clenched tight around my wallet and documents as I maneuvered through the crowd, barely keeping up with my friend. I kept thinking to myself, “There’s candy all over the place.” There were many vendors selling candy in small assortments.
We passed many sellers, sinking deeper into the hot, crammed, claustrophobic feel of the market. We took a hard right to a narrow aisle and then suddenly we were at the stairs to the “basement.” I took a deep breath and the 2 of us walked downstairs into the damp corridor of the underground. I walked past a few dim lights, my eyes still adjusting to the dark from the daylight. Then, ahead of us down the hallway, we saw 6 rooms. Each room was filled with candy, cookies, and sweets from floor to ceiling. I was in total shock.
I have never seen so many sweets in one place. I walked in awe through each room not knowing what to buy. To this day I still can’t recall what or how much candy I got. There was a wide assortment of sweets from Turkey, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Germany, and Kyrgyzstan. My friend bought a few bags full of candy and we left soon after. On the way out of the bazaar we joked that if there’s any time we need sweets, we just have to revisit the “Bishkek Candy Mines.”