Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road

Stories of the Road, Part 2

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One evening in Bishkek , my wife and I were leaving our student center to head for a dinner. We left the center early to beat the traffic and get to the group dinner. We had heard that there was an amazing amount of traffic that was caused by road blocks. This was caused by a “Leaders of Central Asia” summit that the Kyrgyz President was hosting. Every day after 5pm, it was impossible to get anywhere from the center of Bishkek. We knew this and we left around 4:20pm to beat the traffic rush. But that day the President of Kyrgyzstan decided to end the summit an hour early so we still got caught in the traffic. It was the worst traffic jam I had ever been in. We tried to avoid the main north-south street “Manas.” We took another south street that was a mile away. Well, a thousand other people also had this same idea. Traffic was so bad that we were only able to get across 4 blocks in an hour. When we hit our turn to get off the south bound street, we saw that many other vehicles were all heading that same direction. Traffic was trudging down this one way street, despite oncoming opposite vehicles. It was madness!

We were slowly plowing forward and the opposite traffic had nowhere to go. They couldn’t go backward or forward. This situation came to a 30 minute halt. There was a compromise of slowly letting one car go at a time through a narrow passage off to my right. I eventually got out of this nightmare. But before I could fully escape, a junky car came too close to my front right bumper and scraped it. He got a bad scratch, me not so much. He gave me the worse stare down as if I was at fault. But what could we do? Call the police? We couldn’t even get out of our cars, the traffic was so bad. After a few awkward stares, I was finally free from the grip of this madness when my street came up. I escaped to my left and I didn’t look back. It took us over 2 hours to get out of traffic. Obviously, we were late for dinner.

Our old VW car...broken down, of course

Our old VW car…broken down, of course

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