Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ruslan

Ruslan picks us up in the evening. We barely have time to fold our tent.
"Come on, quick before the night falls!"
I am even more tired and I feel sick. But I guess I have no choice; if I want to reover, better do it in a confortable place. Ruslan has a big home with a spare room. Usually he saves it for guests who pay. In this part of Issy-keul lake, tourists are common and every second house is a hotel. Today however the room is free for us to stay as long as we want.
"Let's drink tea," he tells us.
We learn that "let's drink tea" in Kyrghyzstan means let's eat. It's an invitation you cannot refuse because who wouldn't spend a minute for a cup of tea. We will later fall into that trap and end up eating double breakfests, double lunches and double dinners.
After eating dinner, Ruslan guides us to the beach to drink some vodka and welcome us to our new home.
He doesn't like vodka, it's obvious when you look at his face each time he drinks a shot. Chances are he even hates vodka more than us but tradition is tradition. We have to drink at least a glass per person and say toasts.
Ruslan talks a lot but what he has to say is intersting. He tells us about the history of Kyrgycy stan. The country is said to be the only democracy in the region. Not hard to achieve when you compare it with neighbours. Around here we have Nazerbaiev 20 years in power in Kazakhstan, the evil Turkmen dictator and should I really start about the so called People's republic of China?
Like every democracy, Kyrgyzstan has been changing presidents and it hasn't really been lucky with the last two. The first one, has fled somewhere maybe in south america after stripping the country of virtually every resource of finance available. The next one has fled to Belarus after killing a bunch of people and accumulating a fair share of money too. There was a revolution and the current president seems to be less of an asshole if you believe Ruslan's words.
There also was a war with Uzbekistan near Osh because the Uzbeks wanted to create a marihuana route through part of Kyrgyzstan.
"The Uzbeks, they're two-faced liars. They'll hug you with one hand and cut you with the other."
He reckons Kyrgyz people are not that way, they're open and honest. I guess the Uzbeks have a different side of the story but until now he seems to be right about the locals.
I still feel bad and Ilona too. We now have the information about the bubonic pleague spreading through the Karakol region. That includes us. We are under quarantine. And I seriously hope that we didn't catch whatever the media is talking about. On the other hand the media is known to talk nonsense, Iran is the living proof of that. So we're not afraid, not even stressed out. On this trip we have come to accept all things as they come and go.
Our plan is actually to get closer to Karakol to establish a base there. We both miss our appartment in Tehran and since there is little chance we someone would give us his or her house in Kyrgyzstan, we have decided to build something; some kind of rainbow camp.
"We'll wait for Theo, and when he comes it'll be a surprise", Ilona says.
"Yeah and we can light a fire made of marijuana because he's from Holland."
But first, we both have to get better.
Ruslan shows us to our room, he gives us privacy. We have all the space and time we want. It's a cultural trait we had in Kazakhstan but not that much in Iran or Turkey where people often forced their presence on us.
Yurt in Ruslan's garden

We sleep till late, our host respects that.
In the morning we have breakfest with his parents. We tell them our stories. I tell that I'm writing a book. Everyone wants to be in it. I write down names.
Since I don't want to dissapoint Ruslan by sleeping all day (because that is my dearest wish at the time), we go to the lake, I even swim a little. There is a Yurt in RUslan's garden. He also has a horse but we don't get too ride it.
We also find the internet. Bad news on there. The chinese just closed all borders for foreigners. You have to be a Kyrgyz resident or have a one year visa to even try to apply in Bishkek. Same problem in Uzbekistan and Taijikistan and pretty much all the stans. Theo is changing his route, he's going through India. I guess that's the route all tourists are supposed to take. Nobody wants us to make our own improvised itineraries through Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang. Everybody should behave nicely, enter from india and visit Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Ilona has had enough.
"This trip is wonderful but I'm turning back. Sick from all this visa hell!"
It's a hard decision, one I just can't make. And I feel how difficult it is for her. We both have signs of depression. Fucking chinese!
As for me, I have moments of panic. I might end up alone. The idea of Nata joining me was someting I was curious about at first. Now however, it seems more important than ever. If she doesn't come, I'll be alone. I might find someone on the long run but nothing is certain. But I also know such fears will pass.
Ruslan finds us a local sim card. We'll spend a lot of time here so we surely need one. He'll check on us from time to time.
I am getting more and more sick, I'm just waiting to put a tent somewhere quiet and sleep for a year.