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Keen on Kyrgyzstan, In Review

February 28, 2011

Until March 11, I will off globe-trotting with no time for blog maintenance. There’s a fully-funded Fulbright conference in Goa, India that I will be presenting at, and I’m going to the U.A.E. for five days on my way there. In the meantime, then, catch up on my writings so far. Keen on Kyrgyzstan is now about five months old, which means I’m officially half-way-done with my ten month stint in this confounding country – as good a time as any to reminisce. Here is a brief summary of all forty-four posts so far:


My First Day in Kirgizia, in which I arrive from Urumqi, meet my Russian host family, and go for a cruise with my bodybuilding brother

A Week is Gone, in which I share a series of vignettes from my first week, like drinking vodka with pickles and fish

Falling out of Kyrgyz Skies, in which I go parachuting out of a Soviet airplane

Banya Funya, in which I take a dip in a Soviet poolhouse and get naked and steamed in a sauna

The Daily Grind, in which I recount my mundane existence as a language student

Sounds of Kyrgyzstan, in which I share various recordings I’ve made on my trip

Being a Beeznesmen, in which I tell of my various business affairs as a Fulbright Fellow

Love and Hate, in which the Russian population of Kyrgyzstan reveals itself to be astonishingly racist

A Stroll, in which I walk through apocalyptic landscapes and find a roller rink

Falconry, Finally, in which I drive across mountains to attend a hunting festival in Talas

New Home, in which I move into my very own apartment and meet the Dungans upstairs

Issyk-Kul, Day One-Three, in which I climb a tree, ride a tractor, and offend many people

Eagle Exterminators, Azerbaijani Dance-Offs, and Kyrgyz Espionage, in which I celebrate Halloween, watch Caucasian acrobatics and learn I’m suspected a spy

Komuz and Creation, in which I tour the Philharmonic and visit a Kyrgyz instrument maker

A City of Change, in which I visit Almaty, Kazakhstan, and am shocked by its ascendance

Travelling Blind, Pt. 1-2, in which I go to a suspected eagle hunting village on a whim

Riding Kazakh Rails, in which I ride a rusting traincar across the Eurasian steppe

Eagle Babe, in which I track down the only woman eagle hunter in Asia

Lit 101: Intro to Aimatov, in which I report on the beautiful works of a Kyrgyz literary hero

Family Matters, in which I meet a new baby and learn about ancient ancestors

Fleeting Foxes, in which I attend an unsuccessful hunt and later watch a fox get eaten alive

Stories from the Field, pt. 1: The Gift, in which my eagle-hunting master Sary shows me his new bird

Stories from the Field, pt. 2: The Dead, in which I visit a Kyrgyz cemetery and receive a curse

Stories from the Field, pt. 3: The Sacrifice, in which a horse is carved up for a party

Marshrutka to Nowhere, pt.1-2, in which I take public transportation to nowhere in particular

Bookish Bishkek, in which I visit the national library and read old books

The Hunter with the Paintbrush, in which I meet a talented and mystical artist

Olga and Her Houseplants, in which I buy pirated movies from the crumbling remains of a Soviet film studio

Master and Apprentice, in which I receive lessons in Kyrgyz lute from a legendary musician

The Desperate Stranger, in which I meet an Arab interested in falcon smuggling

Lights, Camera, Eagles, in which I watch a wolf from the zoo get mauled by dogs on film

Komuz in Translation, in which I meet a guitarist who puts Kyrgyz folk tunes to classical guitar

The Whirling Dervish, in which I meet a dreaded Dutch didgeridoo player

The Call, in which I visit my local mosque to hear the call the prayer

The Voice of Kyrgyzstan, in which I meet a famous Kyrgyz diva

Manasland, in which I visit an unusual tourist trap devoted to an ancient hero

Adventures in Kyrgyz Fast Food, in which I eat the most disgusting hot dog of my life

An Emporium of Souls, in which I explore the glory of the bazaar

A Tale of Astonishing Naivety, in which I buy a guy a cheeseburger and then get mugged

The Hunting Party, in which I climb some small mountains with an eagle and become complicit in the murder of a domesticated animal


One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill Wick permalink
    May 28, 2011 2:45 pm

    Happy Birthday! It’s morning here, so I guess you’re already almost done with your birthday there. Anyway, happy 23!!!!
    Love, Uncle Bill, Aunt Barb, Chelsea and Jenna

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