May 26, 2013
In keeping with my somewhat embarrassing habit of being one of those foreigners who breakfasts every morning at Fatboy’s, I wandered down there this morning for the dual purposes of eating and of meeting up with K, someone who had studied Kyrgyz at the London School while I was working there five years ago. She’s in Kazakhstan doing research for her PhD, and had to pop over to Kyrgyzstan for the night (literally just for one night) in order to reset her Kazakh visa. After breakfast, K set off for the bus station, and I wandered over to the State History Museum to view an exhibition shyrdaks from the Altyn Kol women’s collective in Kochkor.
These are the same folks who operate the shyrdak and handicrafts shop next to the CBT office in Kochkor, but as I hadn’t been feeling too well when we were there, I hadn’t spent much time looking at their work. I certainly didn’t intend to buy a fairly large shyrdak, but as it was in wonderfully bright colors and was reasonably priced, I couldn’t turn it down. I also got myself a nice little embroidered purse.
I took my purchases back to the hostel, by which point I was feeling somewhat chilled as the weather seemed to have gotten colder, rather than warmer, as the day progressed. I took advantage of the shitty weather and the hostel’s (finally) working wifi to edit and upload photos from the Bishkek, Kochkor, and Chong-Kemin portions of my trip to facebook.
That evening I received a call from J, one of my former students at the London School and an ethnic Korean, calling to invite me to dinner the following evening. Woohoo! J’s family are wonderful, and some of my favorite people, so I was quite excited to receive his invitation. In the interim, I popped down to a café around the corner from the hostel for some plov, then returned to the hostel where I tried (unsuccessfully) to get the other hostelers to help me finish off our liter of kumys.