Bishkek belly

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. 

 Rahila’s family not only gave us a place to stay for a night, but shared a table of grapes, tomatoes, bread and apricot jam all grown or made by her family.  

  
Children are generous with their shouts and exuberant waves of ‘hello’. Their parents soon follow with shy hellos or sometimes even bold questions- ‘how much does your bicycle cost?’

 
Many just want to know what we are up to and how far we plan to travel. Mostly it is ‘Do you like Kyrgyzstan? Harasho?’
 Others are generous with sharing the road. 

  

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?!!

 Even the weather has been forgiving and shifted from a frosty tent morning back to +30C in just one day of riding down from the 3175 m Ala Bel pass. 

 

  
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. 

 

~Ewa

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