The poor little creatures never nosed their way into my conscious thought before. They were ignored, thought insignificant and why would I think of a donkey? The only reference points I can even think of in my pre-Kyrgyzstan existence are Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and “Donkey” from Shrek. The former annoyed me in his gloomy pessimism and the latter amused me. Yes, donkeys were meant for the TV audience.
I have a new found respect for them. They seem to be the “other” horse here in Kyrgyzstan. They are to be found everywhere in village life, often pulling a cart with hay and a few people along for the ride in an old wooden cart. Or some young man is riding it along the highway, taking his time getting to his destination. They truly are little creatures. It amazes me how much they can do for their size. They are like the ant of the Equestrian family.
But my absolute favorite thing about them: they are the calmest little animals when you are zooming past them on the highway. Animals are tricky to drive around: the speed limits are pretty darn slow in Kyrgyzstan (90km on the highway). Nevertheless you come around the bendy mountain roads and happen upon a herd of horses or even just one or two and scare them, they do unpredictable things. This is so dangerous because they are the livelihood, the bank account of local family, and in the blink of an eye, you can side swipe it with your car and be in deep trouble. Cows, sheep and goats are always wandering into the road, they also are dangerous. Donkeys, on the other hand, seem to get the rules of the road, stay off, stay calm and are generally speaking just good fellow road warriors.