Early Saturday I took a marshrutka (same thing as a minibus) from Almaty, Kazakhstan to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The marshrutka cost about £3.50 for a 5 hour journey to a different county which is so cheap.
Getting to Kyrgyzstan
It took about 4 hours through the countryside staring out the window at the same landscape before getting to the border. Everybody in the marshrutka had to get out and walk across the border into Kyrgyzstan.
We pulled into Bishkek and it immediately feels different to Almaty. I was stood trying to talk to a taxi driver and a car drove onto the curb right next to me and almost ran 2 people over. It’s hectic here but not in a good way.
Getting to the hostel
Getting to a hostel from a bus station is straightforward. You get into a taxi and they take you there, but it’s difficult in central Asia.
The taxi driver tried charging me £10 so I walked down the street and found somebody else. I managed to find a man offering to take me to the Hostel for about £1.50 which is about right seeing as its nearby. It wasn’t a taxi, just some man in a battered old car but he seemed legit.
We pulled out onto the main road in the wrong direction and soon after were going down dirt tracks. At this point I’m getting a bit worried and then even more worried when we pull into some back alley. Some hostels are bad but this place wasn’t even habitable, it looked like a farm stank of cow shit.
He gave me a thumbs up then jumped out and banged on some big ass metal door. A man came out and got something out of the boot then he jumped back in the car and we were off again. At this point I’m not sure what to expect but just went with it.
Next we were off in the right direction according to Google maps. The taxi driver stuck his thumb up again as we pulled off onto a dirt road to another dodgy looking building. This time there was two men stood there with bloody aprons just inside a building.
It turns out the taxi driver had a boot full of meat he was delivering whilst running taxis. We sat there for 5 minutes whilst the men emptied all the meat out of the boot. The driver stuck his thumb up one more time and drove 10 minutes back into Bishkek and dropped me off at the hostel.
I almost got robbed at Osh bazar
Sunday morning I headed out to Osh bazar in Bishkek. It wasn’t the market I wanted to go to but because of language problems that’s where I ended up. Osh market feels like a different world, it’s hectic but there was a weird atmosphere.
Before I left, the hostel told me explicitly not to take my passport out with me. It’s a bit of a weird thing to say and I thought nothing of it. My passport was in a locker in the hostel nice and safe.
After about 5 laps of the market looking for a decent hat without playboy or some weird logos on I almost got robbed. I had two men approach me suddenly out of nowhere claiming to be the police. They were not in uniform and it felt weird so I wasn’t sure what to do but they wanted my passport. Thinking back to what the hostel staff said I knew this was some sort of scam.
I had my phone in one hand and about £5 in another hand. One of the men tried to snatch the phone out of my hand and another tried to take my money. They were being pushy but I had a firm grip on both so they didn’t get and by this time I was shouting abuse at them. They kept on asking me questions as if they were the police and I was just entertaining it at this point.
It was starting to get weird and they went on to try to search me. People were stood around us watching and I was telling them to call the police. The men eventually gave up and moved on; good job they didn’t get hold of my passport.
You base your opinions on places based on experiences and so far central Asia has not been good to me. I’m just constantly on edge thinking something is going to happen.
Take me back to Korea, I miss that place.