I Meet a Cannibal

Bishkek Travel Blog

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In Osh bazaar
Today we made an expedtion to Osh bazaar - this is in Bishkek, by the way, and not in the town of Osh in south-west Kyrgyzstan! It was the largest, busiest, most colourful, most eclectic and utterly mad market I have ever seen, and it is difficult to think of anything that is not on sale there. It offers particularly competitive prices for fruit, vegetables and dry goods, and so Irina and her parents come here from time to time to stock up. So busy it was that taking pictures was virtually impossible, with people constantly surrounding, jostling and bumping into you - and at the back of one's mind, of course, is the constant need to beware of pickpockets. Here I bought myself a shirt in Kyrgyz style, and Irina bought me a kalpak - the tradtional headwear for men.
Me, drinking kvass; the seller appears to have stolen her sunshade from a Shoro girl

At the roadside I also sampled another traditional drink - kvass, made from stale and fermented black or rye bread. It is very slightly alcoholic, and has been made all over Central Asia since time immemorial. As with maksym, a cup costs a few som, but the sellers are not as ubiquitous as the Shoro girls.

In the evening, following our usual afternoon siesta and DVD, we visited the local Steinbrau brewery. It is very modern and smart, and includes a pleasant bar and restaurant, with open-air dining in warm weather; it is a testament to the strong German influence in Bishkek. While we were there a praying mantis landed on our table and Irina coaxed it onto her finger. I had never seen one before, and it was certainly smaller than I had imagined from its fearsome reputation (the female eats the male after sex) - but it is so cute!
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In Osh bazaar
In Osh bazaar
Me, drinking kvass; the seller app…
Me, drinking kvass; the seller ap…
Irina in the modern Steinbrau brew…
Irina in the modern Steinbrau bre…
A praying mantis on Irinas finger
A praying mantis on Irina's finger
Interior of our marshrutka (minibu…
Interior of our marshrutka (minib…
photo by: londonstudent