We leave Bishkek in the morning after a good breakfest. I feel tired, so tired altough we have slept in the best possible confort. There was a phone ringing all night so maybe that was it, who knows.
Our friend drives us to a good hitchhiking spot in the direction of Issyk-kul lake. We still don't know the region is experiencing a case of bubonic pleague but even if we know, I guess we wouldn't care. Two Kyrgyz are going straight to the lake, to a village called Tamchy and that is all we asked.
Two rough but happy looking Kyrgyz take it on themselve to aquaint us with the local traditions. One of them has married not so long ago.
"I abducted my wife", he tells us with a peak of pride in his voice
"You mean you asked for her hand, you dated right?"
"Kind of, then I abducted her."
"You mean against her will?"
"It's a tradition. I come ride to her, abduct her, she cries a little and but I hold her down firmly."
Yep, she cries, that was the word, we made it repeat several times. Appearently the long tradition of old nomadic Kyrgyz tribes hasn't evaporated completly. The husband doesn't ride a horse anymore, he comes with a car. He rides towards with beloved beaty and literaly kidnaps her. I figure he might get shot in the process by angry family members, these people don't wear gloves in physical communication. As we will later learn, carrying a gun is common practice and considering to use it on someone who hurts one's pride also.
After abducting his fiancee, he drives her towards his family home where the Babushkas, the grandmothers wait to put the traditional color-bright scarf on the wife-to be.
She will later learn to live with her kidnappers who forced her into the bridal outfit. She will become friends with them and live a happy life. And appearently she will manage it because women don't seem sad here. I can't say I understand the mechanics of the Kyrgyz culture but I wouldn't say women seem to overly suffer on the long run.
"I couldn't look my husband's family in the eye if they had done that to me", says Ilona. I also agree but we postpone judgement. This is still a country we do not understand.
Maybe that is what the Kazakh warned us about when they say Kyrgyzstan is dangerous.
What about the law? Our drivers tell us the law heavily condems this kind of practice but "if they call the police for me, I'll shoot them up like chicken", says the other Kyrgyz.
And I believe it wouldn't be the first time he would hold a rifle and wouldn't hesitate to defend what is, in his mindm rightfully his. From any european perspective you are now imagining us driving us with scary killers. We are not. We are driving with two caring and helpful guys. They reassure Ilona she will not be abducted, she is a tourist. Ilona replies that she will abduct a Kyrgyz guy, he won't know what's happened to him. They laugh, they have a sense of humour. They are start and honest guys, if we do not them any wrong they will not harm us, on the contrary they will do everything to help.
They keep a distance to make us feel safe. They respect our privacy, contrary to what people did in Armenia, Iran or Turkey. They are democrats.
They drive us to a local restaurant, we have to try horse milk, kumus. It tastes weird but allright. Some tourists throw up at the first taste, they say. We don't. The Kyrgyz are satisfied. It would be better if we did. My head starts spinning, I can barely walk. It has been spinning even before but now it's getting worse. Maybe it's the sun, maybe a reaction to the water, maybe the milk. Who knows.
The car races through the mountain roads. Nausea. We stop near the road. From both sides of the road the same plant grows. For meters, kilometers.
"Do you have that in europe?"
|"Do you have that in europe?"|
I really home Theo from amsterdamland will come to Kyrgyzstan. We could welcome him with a marihuana fire.
Of coursem, it is illegal here as it is in many countries. But it grows so naturally as a weed all around the country that banning marihuana would be like banning clouds from the sky.
We exit the car near the lake. Beatiful. Like sevan like but the mountains there, all 4000 meters. Snow on tops.
|"Is this heaven?" Close enough.|
Our friends leave us here and Ilona build a tent. Thank god for her, I can't do a thing. I just pull out a mattress and sleep. Sleep and sleep. We have some bread, some fruit (apples growing everwhere and a watermelon) and enough marihuana for a global anestesia if we wish. But I'm not hungry and I don't want anything. This is as far as my energy can get me. Curtains close.
|Crows over our heads|