Ойлонбой кылуу: Kyrgyz for Spontaneous

On Horseback

Chronological schedule of selected events that occurred during the weekend of February 21st, 2014.

Friday, February 21st

17:50: Arrive at my favorite pub, Stalker, 10 minutes before they open to watch Sweden beat Finland in the Olympic men’s ice hockey semi-finals. Celebrate.

20:42: Watch the Ukrainian women win in the Biathlon relay. Celebrate.

23:03: My friend Alex arrives at the pub.

The guy with the skullet arrived just before Alex
The guy with the skullet arrived just before Alex

23:05: Alex tells me his friend could not go to Karakol, Kyrgyzstan for the weekend. Alex does not want to go alone. Alex tells me I can go with him, and he’ll pay for transportation and lodging.

23:09: I agree to go with Alex.

23:20: Leave pub with Alex, return home, pack things for Karakol.

23:49: Arrive at Ritz Carlton Hotel at Essentai. Have some tea.

Saturday, February 22nd

00:14: Leave Ritz Carlton with Alex’s stuff.

I finally made it inside...
I finally made it inside…

04:19: Arrive at Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan border.

04:31: Cross into Kyrgyzstan

04:35: Meet new driver, depart for Karakol.

09:47: Arrive at Karakol Coffee. Ask Aigerim where to stay, she recommends SunHouse Hostel. Have some coffee.

10:25: Arrive at SunHouse Hostel. Meet Sergey. Have some tea.

12:20: Go skiing at Karakol ski base. Ski.

Karakol Ski Base. Great views of Lake Issuk-Kul...
Karakol Ski Base. Great views of Lake Issuk-Kul…
...and the huge mountains to the south.
…and the huge mountains to the south.
Alex checking out Karakol Ski Base
Alex checking out Karakol Ski Base

16:42: Notice some sort of festival involving horses is happening at the Hippodrome in Karakol.

16:54: Discover there is a Kökbürü tournament going on, watch some of the games.

This Referee was having a good time
This Referee was having a good time
Buzkashi Scrum
Buzkashi Scrum
Sold-out crowd at the free tournament
Sold-out crowd at the free tournament

17:02: Meet random guy who loves Americans at Kökbürü tournament.

17:10: Random guy agrees to let us ride some of the horses the next day.

17:40: Leave Hippodrome, return to town and hostel.

~19:22: Celebrate being in Karakol.

Sunday, February 23rd

10:21: Try to recover from celebrations.

11:47: Decide not to go skiing. Have some tea.

12:20: Walk to Hippodrome.

On the way to the game
On the way to the game
View from the playing field
View from the playing field

13:37: See horse break its leg. Suddenly Kökbürü looses some of its awesomeness.

15:45: Meet random guy who loves Americans after seeing that he was filming the event on an iPad.

16:50: Watch some sort of dispute between two teams. Or at least it might have been a dispute. They spoke entirely in Kyrgyz.

17:07: Ride some stallions.

Alex getting up to speed
Alex getting up to speed
I promise there was no one just out of frame ready to help steer the horse should Alex do something wrong...
I promise there was no one just out of frame ready to help steer the horse should Alex do something wrong…

17:45: Leave hippodrome.

17:55: Explore weird abandoned cement factory.

Post-Soviet Wasteland
Post-Soviet Wasteland
Industrial artsy-fartsy part 1
Industrial artsy-fartsy part 1
Industrial artsy-fartsy part 2
Industrial artsy-fartsy part 2

18:01: Return to Sunhouse, have a banya.

17:05: Leave Sunhouse hostel. Drive to Kyrgyz border in snowstorm.

22:40: Arrive at Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan border.

22:58: Cross into Kazakhstan.

23:05: Meet old driver.

Monday, February 24th.

04:53: Arrive back at my apartment. The happiest I’ve ever been to see my bed. Sleep, sweet and glorious, came quickly.

One thought on “Ойлонбой кылуу: Kyrgyz for Spontaneous

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