Published: June 23rd 2011June 23rd 2011
I took a taxi to international bus terminal. Not surprised at its chaos. It looked no difference between public and private buses. I checked my note on which I wrote Russian name of my destination: Bishkek, but I didn’t find the bus. Some kind people directed me to some parked buses without signs. A lady pointed a bus and said “this one. We’re waiting.” I waited with her. At times other drivers came to ask me “Bishkek?” The lady said surely “it’s this one.” by limited English words. I got it: those buses were not going to the urban region, I need to change car at suburb town.
30min later, came the driver, we set out.
The driver pulled up the bus at the gate of custom. We got off and lined up into the building for checking. Most are local people. I saw some seeming tourist group. White and little aged people, looked little excited, about overland crossing the border, I guess. I was conspicuous because of my face, and my big pack.
The officer beckoned me from procession. I was wondering. Inside the room was sitting another officer in military uniform checking something in the computer. He gestured waiting for a while. Then he asked my passport, I headed over it to him. He checked the visa and murmured “Taiwan…” and then smiled to me “China?” with a shaking hand. I replied him with smile as well “different”. Some kind of humor, only some people understood this. Then we went outside, he opened the other gate for me. I passed without checking my pack. The others gazed me with curiosity. I was entering Kyrgyzstan.
I walked little further and recognized some passengers in my bus. We waited under terrible sunshine for a while. Came the bus, we got in, bound for Bishkek continuously.
Bishkek is a forest city. I lost my way as soon as arriving at bus station. I had no idea at all about my location, my destination, except a vague appointment with Slava, who worked for a hiking company. We had connected for my LOI (letter of invitation) and booked hiking program. Another Taiwanese girl would join me and we made the same appointment. Besides, a Swiss girl who was interested in this program formerly, was in Bishkek now. Although she gave up this proposal but we would still meet for beers and talk.
I walked around the seemingly abandoned station building, changedsome cash, tried to ask for a map, but I failed, language barrier. I was frustrated. Maybe I was just trapped in the depressed mood in Almaty. I sat on the steps at roadside and decided to go to train station first. After all, the company locates at the back of it, where we were supposed to meet.
I reached station, but it’s the same, I had no idea how to cross the railway. This city was quiet and comfortable as a peaceful village. But it got me crazy that no public transportation system. I was lost. And moreover, my power was lost as well.
I cast a gesture to the driver who drove me here. I showed him the map, on which marked with old names, he discussed with others about the way. We discussed the fare, deal, we go.
I found he made a wrong turn but I was not sure if he knew some shortcut else. He drove inside the small alley, on the muddy road, no sign at intersection, and he lost his way too. We lost in this maze composed of 2-stories house and trees. He stopped and asked the boy playing nearly or elder walking along the alley. Finally we arrived at a bungalow, nothing like an office, a man emerged from the door, invited me inside. Yes, finally, I arrived.
I appreciated the kind driver until he refused to give change to me. He spoke Russian or Kyrgyz? Who the hell knew, but I did know this agitated guy was saying “you should pay me more because I helped you more than his expectation”. I was too tired to argue with him. Get the fucking money and go to hell.
Slava showed up after a while, with his girlfriend. He is younger than I expected. We discussed some details of the program and then left for my home-stay he arranged for me. We went outside and head to his car, and I heard someone called my Chinese name in English pronunciation “Hung-Lin?” It was Sussan! She showed up! How did she get here? I was so happy after this unhappy experience.
We had a quick talk and I proposed go together! I put down my pack at my home-stay, took a note from kind hostess, arranged some affairs with Slava, and then he drove us to downtown and dropped us down. I was happy to talk with people again, in a language I can use. Sussan had stayed here for about 1 week, we agreed of the frustration from language barrier, from information-lacked place, and the loneliness of traveling. But at the same time, this is what traveling is. We can not deny the wonderful free feeling which comes with these bad stuffs. You decided by yourself even you’re likely to feel helpless and frustrated. But you’re free. You’re still controlling your way, your next stop, your traveling.