There comes a time in a travellers life when the dreaded ‘oh no’ hits. Bishkek was the location for ours. I was fairly lucky with the intestinal discomfort but poor Bonnie got hit in a big way. Real big. One house call complete with intravenous solutions, a shot in the butt and several good laughs with the delightful Kyrgyz doctor and she was back in the saddle.
In 1942 thousands of Polish exiles were desperately trying to reach Polish army stations in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Many became ill. Most were starving. Only the lucky ones survived the journey.
The stories of surviving illnesses are numerous. My grandfather returned from one of the army stations in Uzbekistan to find his wife and two children unconscious and in a state of delirium. They had typhus. It took four days to revive them.
The help and generosity of the locals has been noted by many of the deportees. Perhaps things haven’t changed so much. Cycling through Central Asia has certainly highlighted the generosity of people.
And a day never goes by without a generous helping of honking horns. Most of them are of the hello type. I note however that Kyrgyzstan does win the award for worst drivers so far- what’s your hurry?!!
Such is the sweet life riding bicycles through Kyrgyzstan. Each day I am thankful for all the lessons, smiles, waves, hellos, honks and gifts we receive. But mostly I am grateful for the open hearts of people. I imagine the Sybiracy were as well.