Have either of u (or anyone else reading for that matter) travelled in Central Asia.
I am going to Kyrgyzstan this September. Kyrgyzstan seems to be a a not too well know treasure. I cant understand why. From what I have read and heard it is relatively easy to travel there and interesting too.
The closest I have been to Kyrghzstan is Kazahstan. I'm not sure how similar/different they are.
All of Central Asia isn't that well known to most tourists, still it is already well established on the overland trail... Many french go there... I met loads as I was travelling in the Caucasus... I haven't travelled Central Asia myself yet, but will be passing by somewhere in 2009... Kyrgyzstan is relatively cheap i've heard... Great nature and opportunities for hiking...
Per what I saw in Kazahstan, the world that used to be behind the iron-curtain is changing very rapidly. I first went to Kazahstan when I was 10 and stayed in a private house. There was no bathroom, but there was a public bath down the road. That was the first time in my life that I saw real poverty but I also fell in love with Asia. I had never seen a yurt in the middle of nowhere before, I had never had horse milk before and had never seen people eating from the floor. I thought they were so poor that they couldn't afford tables, little did I know about their customs. I went back when I was 16, and there were huge improvements! Bathrooms for example, even if only cold water. And 9 years later, I was back again only to find shopping malls, luxury hotels and he whole 9 yards. Still a beautiful country but definitely a lot of western influence in the bigger cities.
So I've heard... Oil money is pouring in... You seem to have led an interesting life yourself... Going to Kazachstan when you were 10...
I am sure you know the feeling... your life seems totally normal to you, while others think you should write a book or something.... :-)
Ha, ha, ha.... Yeah, I have had several people tell me to write a book... But I think I will leave that to the writers of this world... I'll enjoy my travels, until i'm old and grumpy...
Yeah, it does seem to be very cheap. Costs fall someplace between those of Thailand and India.
The tourist board are making a big effort to promote tourism and have set up lots. What I like is that u can have a homestay for a few Euros per night just about anyplace in Kyrgyzstan. U can even stay in a yurt. The tourist office has lists of the homestays. I worried that I might not have enough personal space if I stay with a family but from what the Lonely Planet describes of some of them they feel more like hostels than somebodies house. For example u would probably not be the only foreigner staying there. There might be a few matresses in a room. At least that is how I am hoping it will be.
I am going to head for Kochkor right away when I arrive in Kyrgyzstan because I heard Bishkek is not so great. Ill stay in Kochkor mostly and then maybe go stay in a yurt someplace not too far away for a few nights. Unfortunately I will only be in Kyrgyzstan for 9 days but I suppose it will be still there when I want to go back but probably much changed in the ways CosmicTreehouse discribes.
Apparently Kyrg... is also the easiest of the C. Asian to get the visa for.
It does sound like you're in for a load of fun Mel. For some reason I don't imagine they'll speak a lot of English there so I think you'll have some level of privacy.
Well, Ralf, ever decide to write that book, I want my copy :-)
What actually caused u to go to Kazachstan when u were 10 CosmicTreehouse?
Family... We were only there for a few weeks. How about you, what makes you go to Kyrgyzstan?
I want to go to some places that are currently just outside my comfort zone. Last year it was Iran. This time I feel Kyrgyzstan has that just outside the comfort zone requirement. Mostly because I dont know of anybody at all who went there and I had no clue what to expect from it until I started reading about it last year. I was supposed to go last September but my boyfriend couldnt get the time off work to look after our daugher and I couldnt take her with me because she had school and then it got too cold in Kyrgyzstan.....
You'll have a great time. I've never been to Iran, would love to go. How did you like it there?
It was surprisingly nice travelling there despite the restrictions and the attitude towards women.
I think what made it such a good place to travel was the absense of sexual harassment because of the severe laws and the absense of touts.
Also one does not meet ordinary travellers there so the people in the hostel I stayed in in Esfahan were very interesting to hang out with.
Did you go to Yazd? I loved that city... Stayed on the roof of.... God can't remember the name of the hotel... But it was great, the stars were so bright and the view of the city... One of my favourites in Iran... Though Masshad is also very nice, not many people go there though... Stayed at a homestay, wonderful family, great food and rather bizarely I helped the host of the house dig his own grave! He was a bit early, being I think in his 50's but he felt it would bring good fortune... Now I know the ground outside Masshad isn't good for digging graves, it was hard work... Very rocky soil...
I didnt go to Yazd. I read that Esfahan is know as the jewel of the Middle East and I thought anyplace called that has to be a good spot to hang out in for a week.
Speaking of the stars, when I was on my way back to Tehran from Esfahan there was a full moon hanging over the desert. True romance. 😊
Did that guy give a reason for thinking digging his grave would bring good fortune? Seems more likely that it will cause a self fulfilling prophecy. :D
Well first reason was that it was cheaper to do it himself than have a grave digger do it for him... He had already bought the plot of land and I guess he thought he should dig the grave while he was still fit enough to do so... And the second was as I said that he thought it was good luck... He was a fun guy though...
Yeah Esfahan is very beautiful too, but I somehow liked Yazd more... Difficult to compare I suppose, certainly Esfahan has got the bridges, the Imam square with it's mosques and palaces and all the other wonders of beauty... But Yazd had a super relaxed atmosphere, it was more cozy, more desert like and had the windtowers everywhere... Don't know just liked it...
My sister-inlaw has moved to Nelson in NZ. She’s quite enjoying the peace. The place has a rich cultural arts backdrop. It’s also got three very beautiful National Parks and local vineyards.
While in a muslim country, have you ever stayed with a polygamous family? If so, how was it? I saw a little bit of that in Asia, but when I was in Nigeria, I got to know a whole lot of people who came from such families....
Next time in Iran I will be visiting either Yardz or Shiraz. Shiraz is one that people keep recommending. Did u go there Ralf?
I never stayed with such a family Cosmictreehouse.