Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Bishkek and a family that adopted us……

After breakfast the group split up Clive, me, Ben and Aaran were going to stay together till maybe Turkey.

Paul and Angus decided they were going through Kazakhstan.

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As we didn’t need to vacate our hotel room till 12pm the four of us decided to find the Azerbaijan consulate (as the visa process is lengthy) and wanted to get the ball rolling…
We had two addresses, one we think old, the other current or so we thought.

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what does this shop sell i wonder….

We had no internet to find out the ‘real’ address so had to stop and ask some locals for directions, after a few hours we gave up.

We pulled up outside this shop to discuss what to do as the consulate closed at 11.30am soon and wasn’t going to be open the next day, and then it would be the weekend and wouldn’t be open again till Monday.
As we parked on the side of the road, a man walked over and introduced himself as Den and in broken English went on to say said he has an Honda Africa Twin.

Next thing we know Den calls his friend Alexi to bring his son Anton who to us who speaks very good English,five minutes later Anton and Alexi rock up in a XJS Jaguar…

I think we all had the same thoughts… ‘Mafia’?

Anton translated to us that Den owns the lighting shop across the road from us, ‘Mafia’ with a business!

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Anton asked us what we were doing and we explained that we were looking for the consulate and were then about to look for a place to stay….
Don’t worry about anything ,it was translated that we can all stay at Den’s, but first some lunch at his house, so we followed Alexi to Den’s house, where we meet his lovely wife Meya…

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Meya had prepared a fantastic feast for us all, the thoughts of these people being any part of any crime gang were soon disbursed….

During our lunch it was translated to us that we could stay at their summer house just outside Bishkek.
Anything that we needed they would sort out, a mechanic was going to fix my bike the next day, this is to good to be true, a real biking thing to do ,help out your fellow biker…

After lunch we went and with Den to pick up his bike from his garage and he led us to the ‘Dousha’ summerhouse.

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We said our good-byes to Meya and left for the summer house, which turned out to be not to far from Bishkek we were also told that we would be seeing Meya later that afternoon.

The summerhouse was a fantastic place to have as our base, we had well and truly landed on our feet, the generosity of ‘our new family’ overwhelmed us…

The kitchen had a real farmhouse rustic charm and we got our drinking water from us a icy cold spring that we had to scoop out of a metal bucket, it tasted so good…

There was no bathroom in the house, but a shower room had been built at the end of the garden, it even had lashings of hot water ☺ opposite to the shower room (also at the end of the garden) was a squat long drop…which was more of a short drop really, I used to put loo roll up my nose before I even entered the loo…

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The garden was like an olde English garden, full of ripe cherry trees, apples, strawberries, apricots and all sorts of amazing smelling roses..

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At the bottom of the garden was a fast flowing glacier stream, that was rising daily as the snow was melting now…

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Den sat us all down at the large out door table where he proceeded to open a bottle of a suspicious looking thick light brown drink…
Den gave us some of this stuff to try. It’s hard to describe but was completely disgusting…
Do not buy any bottles with this man’s face on them….
I managed to get it down, but Clive was just about gagging and gave up after a sip.

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It was made off some sort of yeast, wheat mixture that was sopposed to be good for you..

Later in the afternoon Meyar and her friend Natasha arrived with bags of food and drink and started cooking a dish of plov…boy it tasted so great…

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Friends started to arrive with food and drinks…
It turned out to be a great night with lots of toasts with vodka, what great people these are..

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The girls got a bit cold so they all put on these sexy dressing gowns..

It was a great night, we were taught a lot of useful Russian phrases…
Alexi wife Carta and son could speak very good English so a lot of translating was going on…
We were told to go to Denny and Meyas apartment for breakfast and from there we could go to Denny’s office where we could do all our printing needs for our visa applications.
We all slept well that night..

Carta said she could get us ‘FREE’ SIM cards for our phones as she has a friend that works at one of the mobile phone companies…

So the next day Den drove us from the Summerhouse to meet up with Carta who then gave us our new SIM cards they even had credit on them..
Den had been great driving us around all day to Consulates, shops, markets…anywhere we’ve needed to go really…
When we needed printing done for the visa applications it was back to shop for Chai and run of his office…

Den is a former captain in the USSR Spetsnaz who met his wife Meyar during operations in Azerbaijan. He’s very much the military type and we felt like his troops at times…lol

Den took us to Ali, a bike mechanic he uses as my bike was in desperate need of attention as the front forks were leaking oil pretty bad from hitting some big potholes on the road from China to Bishkek, there were to many to avoid every one of them…

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Me and Ali discussing by hand signals (no English spoken) how my race emulators fitted in the forks…
He did a great job and i was soon back on the road….

The following day the boys (I stayed with Meyar) went to a Car Parts Bazaar, which was hundreds of shipping contains that had be turned into shops selling every car part you’d need. I think all the boys had a great day there!

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My day was spent going to the hair saloon, getting some foils and a haircut; I was a bit concerned about getting my hair cut as the stylist had a mullet hair style….i had visions of leaving the saloon with a mullet!

We were originally going to Lake Issyk-Kul for a camp on our own for a few days as we waited for our Uzbekistan visa to come through, but our host family said they would take us and make a group trip with some of there friends…

Den borrowed a mini bus and picked us up from the summerhouse 7.30am sharp..
Den being ex military is very punctual, we loaded our bags in the van for the three hour trip…
We have no idea where we are staying when we get there, only that it’s all taken care of..
Den’s son Arman was coming as well an he slept most of the way, he’s about ten and was such a great lad he reminded us of one our grandsons..

Lake Issyk Kul is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes hence its name, which means “hot lake” in the Kyrgyz language.

Lake Issyk Kul has a length of 182 kilometres, a width of up to 60 kilometres, and covers an area of 6,236 square kilometres .
This makes it the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America. Located at an altitude of 1,607 metres it reaches 668 metres in depth.

We soon were running parallel to the lake and we turned down a dusty trail and pulled up at some gates of a resort of some sort…

Upon being let in we found it was a Butlins style of place, but Soviet style and a little run down..

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The place was full of teenagers playing games and the ones who could speak a little English said they are dropped here for a couple of weeks as a summer camp by there family…as the school kids have three months summer holidays…yes three months!
Every evening the kids did a talent show they were all having a great time…

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The owners were amateur taxidermist and had some gruesome examples dotted around…

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Once we dropped our bags in our room we all went for a swim, well everyone charged in (except us) and started splashing around, we got in and it was freezing, but we were determined to have a swim and got out, Chris only managed to get her up to her knees wet before she retreated back…lol

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While the rest of the group stayed in the water for hours, we lazed on the beach…the whole place is a beautiful setting.

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Breakfast lunch and dinner were at set times and a set menu, the food was pretty good.
A bottle of vodka got produced at every meal….

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We retired to the beach after dinner for more vodka and laughs, it was a bit chilly but the vodka kept us warm..

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We played volley ball the next evening and were shown how to play it properly by the strict soviet PT trainer that does a lot of activities the camp children…he wasn’t keen on our cheating ways… lol

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It was quite hilarious.

We had a very relaxing time and we loved watching the storms roll around the mountains, the sun always seemed to shine on the lake though….

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I got to drive the minibus back to the summerhouse, it was strange after not driving for about seven months..

The next few days were an endless routine of BBQ and lunches with Den’s friends, they all took it turns to take us out for a meal, a lot of the time we didn’t even know, we would be just driven to a place where everyone was and the food all laid out…..fantastic and so hospitable….

We did get in some shopping of some things we needed, sleeping bags as now we would have to start camping….
We were taken to a military bazaar where we picked brand new american issue bags for $20, they’re great…

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A camp saucepan, we even could purchase a gun if we wanted….

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We got to know Bishkek pretty well now and could easily navigate around….

The tour of the city centre,they have some great monuments….

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Government house…

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The change of the guard at the flag pole was very soviet style….

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Lunch with Denny’s sister…

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The next evening we went to Dens friend Michael for a BBQ, he and his wife put on a fantastic spread, Michael owns a couple of bikes one being a Honda Goldwing and the other is a Tenerre, the same as Clive’s bike which is collecting dust in Australia, I thought Clive might bust into tears when he saw it!

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A friend of Michael’s is a pig farmer and he bought some of the pork chops for the barbeque. Oh my they were the best pork chops I have ever eaten, so tender, tasty and juicy….

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Den’s friend Ali, bought along a bottle of whisky, so between that and the endless supply of vodka we were pretty well oiled! all except Den he doesn’t drink and drive

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Michael’s lovely wife…

They wanted us to tell them some dirty jokes, but Carta had to translate them, but she could hardly finish them because she was in stitches herself before she got to the punch line….

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These salted fish came out at every drinking encounter and were a change from peanuts….

One of the days we had lunch with Dens business partner and friends then we were whisked off to Alexi’s who owns a ice cream factory to have some samples…

Our last night was a another BBQ at Carta’s family house, she has been so good to us translating everything, her family was so warm and hospitable…totally amazing.

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Carta and me with a Kurdish hat…

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Packing up to leave the next day was a bit sad this family and friends have been so good to us, but we had to go to Den and Meyas for one last breakfast….

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Denny and Maya with Maya’s dad…

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Thick butter on bread Kyrgyzstan style…

With breakfast out the way we gave Maya a small gift for a appreciation for what they had done for us, Chris and Maya had a small tears in their eyes, they had become close friends despite the language barrier.

On pulling away on the bikes Maya threw water in the air and on to the road, we found out later this is for safe travels… we shall never forget their kindness, and hopefully one day we will be able to repay them…

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3 thoughts on “Bishkek and a family that adopted us……

  1. Japie Jovner on said:

    Stunning photos. There are still good around.

  2. Rachel on said:

    So glad you met maya and den, what a awesome way to enjoy a strange country with some new found friends. Just goes to show what a great world we live in. So did you actually eat a salted fish?

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