New York, New York – impressions

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Voilà, I fled London due to crazy high prices, just to end up in another of the world’s most expensive cities: New York. I’ve been living here for a while now but there are still some things that surprise me (after all it’s my first time on this continent). So in good old tradition with my ‘Impressions’ posts about Bishkek: here some impressions from New York City!

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Talas – or wonderful stories of bearded horse-guys and German cemeteries.

Some time ago, I left Bishkek for a weekend and visisted Talas, where the family of a friend of mine lives. Talas region is a beautiful place in a valley in between very high mountains. It is surrounded by mountain ranges which make it hard to enter (over a pass-road from the East) but make its nature all the more remarkable:

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Except for the nature there were some things that were new to me or that I had heard about but never really experienced with my own eyes and ears. It was pretty interesting so I wanna share three facts that Talas taught me:

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Culture shoc

We heard so much about it – yet it all comes down to the straw.
And the people you love.

I really love this poem, Hermann Hesse wrote 1941 and think it’s still worth considering although it has whiskers. It is neither a travel nor a cultural poem. He wrote it after a longterm disease, reconciling thoughts about death and life.

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend                                   As every blossom fades
dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,                            and all youth sinks into old age,
blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend                           so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.                              attains its prime and cannot last forever.
Es muss das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe,                              At life’s each call the heart must be prepared
bereit zu Abschied sein und Neubeginne,                             to take its leave and to commence afresh.
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern                              courageously and with no hint of grief
in andre neue Bindungen zu geben                                       submit itself to other newer ties
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,                           A magic dwells in each beginning,
der uns beschützt und der uns hilft zu leben.                      protecting us, telling us how to live.

When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I was prepared for the ultimate shock that would strike me at one point in the next months. And with Hesse I was counting on the magic that would help me endure it. But there’s more to that subject than mere (always helpful and great) poetry: Science! As I studied the phases you go through, (predicted by scientists of I don’t know what subject – travel-psychology supposedly) I found different models that are of course all kind of idealtypes and are to be individually adapted but that now in hindsight offer the possibility for interesting thoughts.

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Cars and cotton – an Uzbek roadtrip

Some time ago, I’ve been to Uzbekistan. It’s an amazing country, full of beautiful mosques, madrassahs and mosaics. I’ve been there for ten days but traveled five cities. That’s usually not my style of traveling, as I like to have more time to get into the atmosphere and lifestyle of a city. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to do this one time and I saw a lot of amazing buildings and got an impression of the huge differences in architecture and culture in this big country.

But, because of our ambitious travel planning and the size of the country (see box), we spent a long time in cars, trains, marshrutkas and even a propeller-driven plane. So, before talking about the amazing buildings and history of this fascinating country, I want to give you an impression of our “roadtrip”, and some lessons we learned. A somewhat sarcastic “road”-experience:2013-09-10 14.42.45

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