Friday, October 4, 2013

Ride to Bishkek

I really have to get to Tokmok and I really have to get to Bishkek. In Tokmok, Almas is waiting for me and I promised Asyl to teach her english. From what I heard about Janela, her dentist takes too much time so she'll have to quit her job. That means more time. Plus, this Aiperi from the language center asked me to give talking circles.
And last but not least, I need to organise this hitchhiking journey with Janela. It is her first hitchhiking, not counting the few rides from Karakol to her home in Tegizchil. Since hitchhiking is so strange for her as it is for all people in Kyrgyzstan, she'll be afraid and I want everything to work out fine.
There is already enough which goes against every possible tradition that I can't add to it sleeping in a tent. If taking to me as a non-muslim foreigner is bad, sleeping in a tent with a Kyrgyz girl is super-bad. Plus, it's getting cold.
That means that I have to secure two nights, two places we can sleep at for free because neither of us would have money to spend for shelter. I have to go to these places and find out if the people there would be OK with it. The bus to Karakol costs 300 soms (5 euros) per person, we have to organise our adventure for less.
The first person I go to see on my way is Nelsu in Khadzhi-Say. I just pass by, to say hello. She has trouble with the internet and I manage to repair it and everything is fine. I can't stay for the night so the good lady forces me a bag of cooked eggs as well as a hundered soms so I don't die on my way.
I think it will probably be ok if we stay with Janela. I want to make it to Tokmok tonight but I only get Balykhchy. A truck coming all the way from Kumtor gold mine goes with me through the bad roads of the south side to the city of fish how they call it. It gets stuck in mud in a village where some friends give him a goat. In Balykhchy my truck hits another car. I don't even feel the crash, this is a super heavy american truck which is made for heavy terrain, anything heavier which can ride on roads would be a tank.
The car stops in front of the truck and another two cars join. We are asieged. An angry guy starts yelling at my driver. They didn't notice that I'm here. I am getting bored of the scene, I start to eat my eggs. I just check from time to time if a fight isn't starting, it wouldn't be cool to eat eggs during a fight. After a while they go somewhere and I get out of the car. The only person who stays is the most angry driver's wife. Being a female, she is the most reasonable person to talk to in a conflictual situation.
"Oh... you were two in there"
"Yeah. Hi. I'm Filip, tourist from Czech Republic"
"Oh. Nice to meet you"
The husband comes back with more of his friends, more angry and more vodka. He looks at me as if I were an alien from space.
"Hi, I'm Filip, a tourist from Czech Republic."
The guy looks at me as if I just confirmed him I was an alien from space.
They argue, argue but I don't think there is going to be a fight. I tell them I'll be on my way then. I take my bag and walk away from this city which is considered dangerous anyway. Balykhchy and Tokmok, dangerous cities in Kyrgyzstan or so they say. I walk into a field and put up a tent. I eat all the food Neslu from Kadzhi-Say gave me and everything is great.

I get to Tokmok, the next day in the morning with an armenian-russian couple who invites me to drink vodka in Balykhchy. Armenian roots... why am I not surprised? In Tokmok I meet Almas and I stay there until 7PM. I ask him if I can spend the night at his place with Janela and he says yes.
Everything is setteled then, except me being in Bishkek. Asyl is getting worried, she started calling me all the time. In Kyrgyzstan, I have one thousand mothers.
"Call me when you get in a car," says Asyl, "tell me if you get out of the car"
I get a ride to Ivanovka, about halfway between Tokmok and Kant. I have to hitch from the center, no time to get through the whole city. Nobody stops and night. Nobody, really. I have a deadline and this is starting to get stressful. Only taxis and sometimes not even them. At last a normal car stops. Actually it is also a taxi but he accepts to take me for free. Well, accepts is a big word. he kept asking if I could give him a hundered dollars for the whole two hours it took to arrive.