Kyrgyz Hospitality: The squeak-creak-krrr-roar-procedure

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When we left the Toktogul Reservoir in Southeast Kyrgyzstan behind us the sun just set behind the mountains. We had to hurry up to find a place to camp. To both sides of the road there were high mountains. There was no way but forward. “It cannot be far to the next village”, I gasped towards Roberto. I was right. Short after we discovered the first houses of the small village Torkent.

We decided to follow the river in order to find a quiet spot when we met Mira and her grandson. Roberto turned around to make a funny face towards the little boy and Mira smiled at him. We asked if she could recommend us a nice place to camp. “Come with me”, she answered and we walked bikes and buggy towards her house.

The garden was very clean and we were happy that she offered us a safe and cozy place to camp. I wanted to set up the tent before dusk, but Mira offered us to have some “Çay” with her inside first.

When Kyrgyz people talk about “having a tea” they usually mean bread and sweet and salty dishes. Mira was no exception of that rule. She offered us self-made bread and self cooked raspberry marmalade. Just a few hours ago we had found the season’s last melon stand and my belly was still round like a ball. But when my tongue touched the bread I could not hold myself. “Here, have some sauce too”, she offered us and put a big bowl of tomato-onion sauce on the table. I was full already but Mira’s dishes were delicious and if she insisted I did not want to refuse.

Her grandson ran through the entire house playing with his toy cell phone, while Mira baked more bread. We could not do anything but sit and wait for our bellies to normalize. After a while we finally got up to pitch the tent, but Mira waved us back. “Not outside”, she told us. “Sleep here, it is warm!” and she offered us the cozy guestroom that was prepared with two mattresses and a lot of warm sheets. We were more than happy and when we carried our bags inside Mira’s husband and son came back home. They welcomed us friendly and sat down in the kitchen. Mira asked us to sit down again too and started filling bowls with soup for her family. Before I could realize I had a giant bowl of soup standing in front of myself as well. My belly was about to explode but I did not want to be impolite and tried the soup. It tasted as if somebody had squeezed an entire sheep into the bowl. Spoon for spoon I managed to eat half of the soup. I turned around to Roberto to see if I could offer him my rest, but he seemed to be fighting with his bowl as well and if I was not mistaken I even saw his spoon trembling.

After some small talk we went straight to bed where I fell asleep immediately. My beauty sleep did not last long, at midnight I woke up from stomach pain and a bubbly bowel. Soup and bread were looking for the way out. I got up as quiet as I could and opened the door – squeak – then stepped into my shoes and turned around the house key – creak – removed the lever – krrr – and made my way through the entire garden. At the end I opened the door to the horse’s pasture – roar – and ran the last meters towards the outdoor toilet. That was last minute.

I hardly got any sleep and repeated the squeak-creak-krrr-roar-procedure another four times that night until my stomach was finally empty at seven in the morning.

Mira did not seem to have noticed my nightly activities; she appeared fit and happy and smiled a lot. I was happy about that, because I had tried to squeak, creak, krrr and roar each time as softly as possible to not wake anybody up.

Mira we are very thankful for your delicious dinners and we hope to meet you again one day to feed you with German and Mexican delicacy!

For the next time I have learned my lesson: not to underestimate the Kyrgyz hospitality. I will only eat my fill until I am completely sure that there will not be any surprise dessert.

PS: Unfortunately Roberto’s camera has been stolen little after, that is why there are no pictures in the post

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