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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Kyrgyzstan - 21 August, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Cholpon-Ata (hotel) N4237.691' E07702.597' 1,621 meters .
Finish Bishkek (hotel) N4252.177' E07441.448' 763 meters 267 km


2,287 km


Weather: Clear, sunny and hot.



We are up early this morning to get ready to head to Bishkek.  The dining hall is empty this morning - we must get there before all the other guests show up.  Well, they must be on holiday.  We load up the truck and head out shortly after 8 AM.  We drive the whole day along the northern shore of the lake and carry on west when we leave the lake behind.


We arrive in Bishkek shortly after 1 PM and check into our hotel.  It looks horrible from the outside, but it is not too bad on the inside.  The staff are quite helpful and we have air conditioning in the room.  We drop our stuff in our room, give in our laundry and then head out to see the city.  The hotel is a bit far outside the city center, so we need to catch a mini-bus into town.


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These mini-buses seem very efficient.  They ply set routs and cost about 10 cents no matter how far you go.  We are able to find our way to the city center and then walk around and see what we can find.  We walk around and first head to the Fine Arts Museum - but it is closed for renovation.  Then it is over to the State Historical Museum.  With a huge statue of Lenin outside, this turns out to be an interesting place.  They even have soldiers in full dress uniform guarding the place (very Soviet).


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As this used to be the Lenin museum, on the first floor there is a huge memorial to Lenin (it is actually amazing that it still exists and we hope that they keep it).  It is filled with all kinds of cool stuff, including a dozen or so life size brass relief's of certain key scenes in Lenin's life.  There are flags and all sorts of things glorifying his life.  It seems like we have gone back in time.  The second floor has stuff about Kyrgyzstan's history and is also interesting.  There are two yurts to check out.


We then wander through the streets, first checking out what we believe is another museum, but it just seems to be a guy's collection of junk.  But he loves to chat with us and insists on taking our picture when we finds out Jacqui is from Malaysia (first visitor that he has had from Malaysia).  Then we try to see the Frunze Museum (he played a key role in the Russian revolution), but it was closed.  Then we ended up at the Hyatt to ask for some information on what was going on at the Philharmonic.


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We find out that there is a performance tonight, so we need to rush over there.  In the end, we grab one of the mini-vans and get there just in time.  We pick up some tickets for less than two dollars and head in.  We feel a bit underdressed - all the locals are dressed in long pants and button down shirts.  But they welcome us.  It turns out to be a bit of a cultural performance, and we are the only foreigners.  It is a Tartar performance and it turns out to be very good.  The only problem was that everything was in Russian and there was some talking in it.  But the singing and dancing was fun.


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We leave a bit early - we have had conflicting information on how long it is going to last and head back to the center of town that we know.  We get a light dinner in one of the local stalls and then go and look for a mini-van to take us back.  We are successful and get in the right van and make it back in no time.


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