January 14, 2008
It snowed steadily all day Sunday, and was extra chilly and windy to boot. Not exactly the day for a good two hour stroll around the city... and yet that was exactly what I ended up doing. I met up with BI and we took a marshrutka (mini-bus) to the western part of the city center to walk around. Unfortunately, like last time, we got together in the early evening, so it wasn’t exactly good lighting for photographs. As such, I didn’t take any, but I now know of even more places where I’ll have to return when it’s sunny. And when the weather’s warm enough for my fingers to manipulate my camera! We walked around the Philharmonic, through a couple of parks, and past several allegedly corrupt universities where one may as well pay a bribe and purchase your degree because you wouldn’t learn anything by studying there anyway. We also found our way to the ghost train of Bishkek – a short spur of abandoned railroad that crosses one of the city’s main thoroughfares on a rather fancy bridge, connecting two now-defunct Soviet era factories. We tried to visit what is now a rather large botanical garden (supposedly it has plants from all countries and regions of the former Soviet Union), which covers what was once an unbelievably huge mass grave from the 1930s. (A famine? A purge? Hard to know.) Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the gates were locked, so no botanical garden for us. Despite the rather craptacular weather, it was really a good walk. And now I know of all sorts of places I must return to for photographs when the weather and lighting are better!