Road Stories #32: Always on the move and starting a party in Osh

Hitchhiking in Kyrgyzstan - header

Starting a party in Osh

The moral of the story may well be, never pressure Russians into drinking…

The dancefloor was empty when we stumbled / confidently strolled into the club. It all depends on your perspective, but the dance floor was definitely empty, I think. The club was playing good electronic music and there was nobody there, apart from a few tables filled with locals, maybe, it is all a bit blur really.

I know that I told Mikhail, or perhaps he suggested it, that we should dance. So we went to the floor, I started rocking slowly in my own straight, white man style, dancing to the beat, he started throwing techno shapes at the speed of light. We must have looked a strange sight, both seemingly dancing to our own soundtrack. A moment later though, all the locals were up, as if we were the cue the people were waiting for. The light had been flicked, the starting gun had sounded.

It was my greatest triumph of the trip so far. I had single-handedly started a party.

The night had begun slowly, we were staying in a squat-type place called the Free House of Osh which we had a found through Couchsurfing. The house was basic, to say the least, and after showering from a bucket, outside, in the cold, we set about meeting our fellow travellers. The guests were mostly Russian and we ended up going to a shisha bar with the aforementioned Mikhail and his girlfriend Alesya, a lovely Russian couple from Perm. We were gently ribbing them, over a beer, about their reluctance to drink, when finally they snapped and bought a bottle of brandy. We hadn’t counted on them taking the nuclear option but seeing that we had been goading them we had little choice but to drink.

After getting the club jumping we proceeded to nail a whole lot of vodka with some other tourists that had turned up. The next day wasn’t pretty…

Drinking with Mihail and Alesya, Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Arguing with a Russian and visitng the city

We also had a rather interesting discussion with a Russian woman a few days later. Without wishing to turn this into a debate about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was amazing to us how narrow this particular woman’s view of the world was. Apparently, all other news agencies around the world are wrong and bias, except those funded by the Russian state. Our attempts to ask for justification or examples for the most outlandish of her claims were met with a full blown temper tantrum and finally an epic storm-off.

Apart from suffering hideously and having arguments with brainwashed Russians, Osh was also our first experience of Kyrgyzstan and it was nice that it made a good impression. The city was large, without being imposingly so, and was dotted with some things to see and do. Kyrgyzstan’s only UNESCO site is also located in the city but in fairness Sulayman-too Mountain is a largely forgettable experience. The large rock in the centre of town does offer some impressive views but all the ‘historic’ buildings really amounted to a small rebuilt chapel and an imaginative museum that seemed to pop out from the rock.

The view from Sulayman-Too, Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Always on the move

Our stay in Osh was punctuated by movement. The conditions at the Free House were debilitating and after 2 nights we gave up and looked for a new host. Next, we stayed with a young married couple and his family. Mavliuda and her husband lived in a lovely place just outside the centre, she taught us how to make traditional Kyrgyz boorsok for our project and it was real shame when we learnt that we would again have to move. The husband was going away for business and in accordance with their strict Islamic faith, guests shouldn’t be present without the husband being there.

Read: How to make Boorsok – a tasty Kyrgyz snack

Another host, Zamirbek came to our rescue and put us up another couple of nights before we finally headed north to explore more of Kyrgyzstan.

Cultural Relay Project in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Cultural Relay Project – learning how to make Kyrgyz boorsok and teaching the art of Turkish tea

written by: Jon

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  • well you see watch RT for a few hours and you will basically see how all Russians get their news. They are told the same messages about the west over and over again and to doubt western media but never their own and they cant manage the circuit breaker to consider that somewhere between the two might lie the truth. its very odd. I have come to question and scrutinise what we have been fed in the media. but when I saw RT News I thought it was bonkers. I still do.

    • I completely agree with you Andy. The complete inability to scrutinise the news they are getting (and who is producing this news for them) is so pervasive in all of Central Asia and I am guessing Russia too. Throw in some good old fashioned ‘whataboutery’ and a ‘big lie’ peddled repeatedly and the outlook is particularly bleak.

  • russians see their propaganda, we see our propaganda. how simple is that?
    And that sentence “I know that I told Mikhail, or perhaps he suggested it” :D

    • Of course all the news we get comes from a specific angle or viewpoint but there are number of problems with the way Russia is selling its own brand of ‘truth’. The idea that everything is opinion is just wrong. Some things are facts, not opinions, and are not perspectives to be interpreted. Secondly, Russian news is funded by people on the inner circle, there is no criticism of anything Russia does, only a relentless demonising of the West and sycophantic praise of the Russian authorities. You have to be critical when told anything on this earth and like Andy says above, it is the lack of scrutiny that is the most worrying.