Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

It’s a Bazaar Life

In some ways, walking down the streets of Tashkent, Shymkent or Bishkek  doesn’t feel all that different from a stroll through the center of any city in the United States or Europe. You pass a variety of stores, restaurants, government buildings and shopping malls. The people around you are likely headed to work or to …

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Kazakhstan train

Crossing Kazakhstan by Train

Melons. People just kept bringing more melons. They carried them in plaid plastic bags or under their arms and stuffed them wherever they could find room – in storage bins, under tables or on top of bunks. What were they going to do with all these melons? And then when night fell, wherever there weren’t …

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Aktau, Kazakhstan

Serendipity Strikes in Aktau

I was lounging comfortably in my air conditioned hotel room in Aktau, Kazakhstan, resting after a 24 hour train journey from Uzbekistan when it suddenly occurred to me to check the opening hours for the migration police office. In Kazakhstan, all visitors staying in the country more than five days must register with the migration …

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Beket Ata, Kazakhstan

The Pilgrimage to Beket Ata

I had almost completely drifted off to sleep, my eyes tightly shut, my head propped up against the side of the Soviet era minivan as it raced through the Kazakhstan desert in the dark of night. Then suddenly, THUD! The jarring impact followed by the shrieks of my fellow passengers jolted me wide awake. As …

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