Bishkek, the Paris of Central Asia. Everything would be possible there. After several months of visa pressure, it was time for a break. During our ride together we’d been fantasising a lot about getting a flat, job, etc… . One month would be enough to enjoy the sedentary lifestyle, while arranging visas for the upcoming countries. Kaleb left, and Raph and Clem, a hilarious French duo joined instead. Miraculously, disguised as professional journalist, we managed to fetch the flat. After having experienced so much hospitality, it was payback time. We opened the Couchsurf-floodgates, and in no time the flat was populated with 15 people, age 10 to 69, from all over the world. Cycling around the world? Cool story bro. Bikes go on the balcony, if there’s any space left.
Living like students, without annoying classes to attend, we’d always find a reason to celebrate. A new arrival, another departure, an occasional birthday, or just a fit of boredom. We put a ban on the words ‘thanks’ and ‘please’, to avoid artificial politeness. Because of the crowd, even simple things like sleeping became complicated. A stranger could be sleeping in your sleeping bag. To find a spot, you had to limp through the corpses of fallen warriors. If you were unlucky, the kitchen floor would be your spot, where you’d be waken up, either by the night crew, munching themselves through the stock of cheese, or the morning crew, up with the cock for a visa run.
Bishkek is a rather boring city, and we didn’t leave our oasis of entertainment so often. Weekly excursions to nightclubs was about the furthest we got. Fancy places with terrible Russian music. For the Kyrgyz, there is a huge contrast between the westerners on television, and the ones in their country. Most of them are hairy men on bicycles, wearing rags instead of classy evening wear. While turning the dance floor into a barbarian battlefield, they drink smuggled in bottles of cheap vodka, which even seasoned alcoholics would refuse. Confusing caused sporadic aggression.
One month later, none of us had made it to an embassy yet. Let’s stay another month….