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Kochkor Travel Blog

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Deats (me) and Shaku, the owner of the homestay in Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan

People i met here who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Shaku (Kyrgyzstan) Sigrid (Belgium)

There was just enough money left in my wallet to buy us a simple dinner when we arrived into Kochkor, at 21.00 on Sunday night. After consuming this, we stood to leave and realised that every muscle in our body felt on the verge of shutdown. Two tired looking people had entered the cafe and two invalids appeared to be leaving it. Thankfully it wasn't too far to walk back to our home stay.

The Mum of the family, who was called Shaku, was delighted to see us turn up. She had begun to doubt whether we would be coming, and had sat out on the patio until 20.00, waiting for some sign of us.

Julia and Shaku, the owner of the homestay in Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan
She showed us up to our spotless room and on the bed was a huge pile of our laundry, all freshly hand washed and ironed. We thanked her profusely for making such an effort, which she would hear none of.

Before we knew it, Shaku had disappeared downstairs and returned five minutes later with a tray full of food and drinks. She told us that she had made some extra when cooking the families meal earlier in the night, as she was worried we'd be famished when we got back. Even though we had already eaten, it looked way too good to turn down, so we pulled our chairs up to the dining table and tucked in.

The meal was delicious, and consisted of plov (rice with meat and vegetables), home made bread with raspberry and cherry jam, biscuits, sweets and a big pot of tea. Once we had finished we tried to offer to help tidy up, but she was insistent that we go and lie down and rest. It felt like been in a relatives house, rather than someone we had only known for one day previously.

It was intended that we would stay up to watch the Spain versus Germany Euro 2008 Final, which was scheduled to kick off at 00.45. Having struggled to keep our eyes open until 00.15, all of a sudden the whole town went pitch black. We sat in the dark for 45 minutes, talking and waiting for the power to be restored, but it never was. At 01.00 i succumbed to the inevitable and fell asleep.

The next morning we had a lie in until 10.30, when Shaku brought us our breakfast up. A couple of fried eggs with bread, jam, tea, biscuits and sweets really set us up for the day. Once we had packed our bags, we walked into town to get some money changed, as there were no ATM's. A security guard told us the exchange office in the bank would open at 12.30, so we sat and waited and waited and waited. By 12.45 there was still no movement, so we wondered what was going on and asked another person what time they should be working. This time we were told 13.30, so we sat and waited and waited and waited. At 13.45 a man turned up and said the bank no longer had an exchange office, but he would change our money at a far worse rate than that which had been advertised on a board within the bank!

It felt like they had been stalling us until this fraud could make his way to the bank. There was no way i was changing my money with him, so we went and found another bank instead, which had been closed the first time that we had passed. The exchange rates weren't great here either, but i felt happier not to be giving my money to the people at the first place.

It was now 14.00 and we had arranged our banya to be at 12.30, but we went to see if it was still possible. Thankfully we were still able to use it and get a good clean, although we had to wait for an old lady to finish in it first. As we sat waiting, some drunk Kyrgyz woman came and started talking rubbish to us. She was adamant i could understand her, even though i couldn't and somehow she ended up saying something about 'Allah' to me. I thought she was asking if i was Muslim and a follower of 'Allah', so i said no i wasn't. She got offended at this as she thought i was saying 'Allah' didn't exist, but luckily the banya became free at just the right moment, so we left her rambling on to herself. What amused me was the fact this woman was completely smashed off vodka and proclaiming to be a follower of 'Allah'... hmm i didn't recognise the Qu'ran condoned drinking... What a devout Muslim!

After the banya had cleansed our bodies and minds, we went and had some lunch and said goodbye to Shaku. We paid her for our room, laundry and breakfast, but when we offered to pay for Dinner, she insisted that it wasn't necessary. From start to finish, she had treated us fantastically and her hospitality and friendship had been thoroughly genuine. She is a true gem and i will remember our stay with her fondly.

At the taxi rank, we secured two seats in a share taxi to Naryn for 200 Som ($5.55) each. There was a Kyrgyz guy and a foreign woman who joined us for the two hour journey and within a few seconds we had struck up conversation with the lady. Incredibly she turned out to be Sigrid, a Belgian woman who i had been messaging on the Thorn Tree website, to try and arrange transport along the Pamir Highway with! Small World. On the way down to Naryn, we passed countless yurts, nomadic horse riders and even one huge eagle that soared above.

Deats says:
Yeah, she was really great. Probably my favourite homestay so far
Posted on: Jul 14, 2008
portia says:
It's always heartwarming to hear about the good stories with people like Shaku!
Posted on: Jul 12, 2008
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