During our first August here we had some time where we visited another part of the country, the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan. As we entered the town of Naryn I felt like we were driving through the northern part of Arizona because of how red the rocks were; it felt “familiar.” Our hosts took us up to a point where we could overlook the town, and the beauty of it was amazing. There was a river winding its way through the valley, high walls of red sandstone, irrigation canals, and farms. I looked at Derrick and we agreed that we felt like we were back home. A day or two later we took a drive to visit the historical monument Tash Rabat, which was a hotel of sorts along the old Silk Road.
After a few hours of looking around and then eating lunch our host decided to take a different route back. “How about checking out another route? I know there’s a way to the other side of those mountains. What do you think? Are you guys up for it?” Knowing that we would probably not be back in that area again we agreed. Along the way we saw mountain valleys and meadows, we crossed river beds, and I was reminded of home: green pastureland in the mountains and along the rivers, brown and thirsty ground further away from the rivers. And at one point I thought we had driven so far east that we actually ended up back on the reservation: same reservation hills, same brush, and the same colors as the sun set. As we finally descended from the mountain we passed several little towns (villages really), and honestly at that point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had heard someone speaking Navajo. Their way of living, their environment, and their little towns took me aback. The only difference between here and where I grew up is more snow in the winter, which I accept gladly. As we drove through the mountains that one day, we saw many yurts, which are the Kyrgyz traditional home, which brings me to the subject of next week’s topic, culture.