Having grown up in Western Africa (primarily in desert countries) the shock I received from the cold once I arrived to Kyrgyzstan was enough to set me aback. The indoors stoop easily into the low 60s and 50s, and you can imagine how cold the outside gets! Before I came I was warned about the cold temperatures during Kyrgyzstan’s winter months-and believe me I took everyone’s advice to heart, practically my entire Christmas list this year was warm clothing of some sort-but sometimes you just have to experience it before you can really understand. This is definitely one of those cases. Whereas I am more familiar with living in 110 F with no air conditioning, the locals here live in the negatives during winter with little to no heat.
With the cold though, comes many benefits, one of which being the white mountains I see anywhere I go in Karakol. Everywhere I look I’m surrounded by beautiful, huge, snow-covered mountains that tower over the entire city. The only kinds of mountains that I’m accustomed to seeing are sand dunes so you can imagine my awe at seeing white gigantic ones right outside of my window. These mountains (from what I’ve been told they are some of the highest in Central Asia) attract many tourists both in the winter for skiing/snowboarding/etc… and in the summer when tourists like to hike or backpack in the area. I also hope to spend at least a couple of times enjoying myself and nature while on the slopes! And if I ever start to complain about the cold inside my house, I always remind myself of the awesome view I get to have straight from my bedroom window.