After a 3h30 flight, here we are, in Kyrgyzstan !
Let’s have an overlook of the region before to hit the road…
In the heart of Central Asia, between China, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Tradjikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic is populated originally by nomads. Today there are 5,8 millions habitants.
Kyrgyzstan is an ex republic of the URSS that got indépendant in 1991. Two languages are spoken here, Kyrgyz and Russian, although, Russian is the most spoken in the capital. The main religion is Sunni Islam and the currency is the SOM.
As soon as out of the airport, we have a first look of Bishkek. Nicolas, a Canadian expatriate will host us for the first week.
Incredible to see that not any dog is roaming on the side walk, we don’t hear any horn, we don’t feel any dust in our eyes, people are very quiet. Huge feeling coming from India and Nepal, we feel like having crossed two worlds.
Saturday 5th of March, we have a meeting at the Alliance Française in Bishkek where we share a workshop about our project with people studying french. That’s the Al Kapak national day, which the the day of the traditional Kyrgyz hat. The main square, Ala-Too is crowded of men wearing it.
Time to reach Orlovka, a little countryside town at the eastern part of the country, about 100kms from the capital. The 35 children of the Nurmeaisa Orphanage warmly welcome us. We’re gonna record the third track of the album at the foot of the mountain by a wonderful blue sky, along with an old accordion player and Komouz, the traditional three string instrument. We spend two unforgettable days over there, a lot of fun and a lot of foods ! Oh ! That was also a surprise here. Kyrgyz people use to eat four times a day and always so much meat ! Breakfast, lunch, first dinner à 6PM, and a barbecue à 10PM…
Back in bishkek. The mission is now to get back our motorbikes. Aibek, the Nicolas’s flatmate comes with us in order to make all this paperwork easier. English isn’t not that much spoken in Kyrgyzstan.
At the airport, we walk toward the Turkish Airlines desk where a friendly woman confirms that the bikes are well arrived. Ouf ! She shows us this green building where our Royal Enfield are waiting for us.
Desk after desk, office after office, we might have talked to more than fifty people, roaming is this large area. One of the custom agents ask Aibek some dollars from us if we want to pick up our goods. We answer straight away no!, explain him our project and our tight budget. This is 8 hours later that we are able to give a kick start on our two wheels, a pretty nice feeling of freedom ! Of course we ended up by paying some money. The bill is 250€ for a dangerous material storage… blablabla…
Everything goes fast, we have now a meeting in an indian restaurant to do an interview for a national TV program. We might get the podcast in april only.
Currently waiting for our Turkmen visa which has been rejected in New Delhi. Fingers crossed..
After that we will finally start to hit the road, ride across mountains, lakes.. toward the West !
Mathieu & Sylvain