Bishkek impressions (2) Two months later – monthly update

Just coming back from Uzbekistan might be the bestIMG_2616 time to give you an update about my personal impressions, highlights and disappointments in my time abroad, since right now I have another external view on the country (contrasting it with its neighbour) and at the same time just realized how I already felt like coming back home when crossing the border on foot and seeing the red national flag…

Missing: Coffee

Since the days are getting shorter it is getting worse: getting up in the morning, going to work, concentrate are huge challenges when it is cold outside of the bed and dark outside of the house. I guess it’s the same everywhere. That’s why humanity invented a powerful instrument to respond to these challenges:

Coffee!

Unbenannt

Kyrgyz media is even twittering Instant Nescafé!

Unfortunately, while the “Coffee-to-go” mentality rules Germany, this powder did not conquer Central Asia yet. Ordering a coffee instead of the (by the way delicious) obligatory black or green tea here, means to accept poor instant-coffee mostly mixed with half a cup of sugar or worse “slivky” which is an unidentifiable mass with the consistency of honey but three times as sweet. Here I found some stats about coffee-culture all around the world, whereby Kyrgyzstan is among the least coffee consuming countries with less than 0.8 kg per person/year. Germany on the other hand is between 4.5 and 6.8 kg per person/year with only Scandinavian countries consuming more coffee.

Coffee consumption worldwide

Coffee consumption worldwide

This non-coffee-culture has all foreigners I know engaged in trafficking since everyone who is going home for some time and every visitor from a random coffee-culture country imports the dark miraculous powder that once was brought to Europe by the Turk peoples.

Loving: Straws

It took me some time to get used to it: as a woman you always get a straw for drinks. First there has to be mentioned, that this is by no means a usual boring straw. They appear in every color and shape and are usually fixed at the glass in a fancy way. Second, this straw-rule applies to every kind of drink (except for spirits – luckily!) – especially for beer. Sometimes you get even more fancy accessories, like an umbrella, or a little mermaid sitting on the rim. I will totally miss this crazy drinking habit when I’m back. Don’t be confused then: I will certainly ask the waiter for a pink heart-shaped straw in my beer – and will probably be kicked out of the “Biergarten” immediatly.

Noticed: Plastic Bottles

Out of the bunch of foreigners I know here, someone is constantly suffering from stomach problems. That’s why for a long time, I did not really dare to drink tab water here (although everybody states it is really good mountain water). The alternative is clearly the good filtered “spring” water in Plastic Bottles. If it was only the mollycoddled (just looked up that word and really liked it – it’s said to mean: verweichlicht) foreigners buying the bottles, it probably wouldn’t hurt anyone. But also my Kyrgyz friends keep buying them and therefore empty bottles are just everywhere. They are scattered next to the streets, on large piles in backyards, in the small canals that are flowing through the whole city and on longer taxi drives windows are often opened to through a plastic bottle out…

Good video on that topic here.

Loving: Abandoned buildings

For those who know me it won’t come as a surprise. But as much as I love the surroundings of Berlin with its old, abandoned factories and hospitals etc. I have to say that, although they share the Soviet heritage and architecture, they cannot really compete with the empty buildings here – just have a look at my compilation – (some are from Uzbekistan though):

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