Kyrgyzstan – The People

This post is contributed by the founder of Orijin Jewelry. She visited Kyrgyzstan in July 2015. 

After admiring the sights and scenes at Kyrgyzstan, let’s check out the people there!

Kyrgyzstan - The People
My guide for the trip!

Here’s our beautiful guide welcoming us with Kyrgyz snack. She is Russian but was born in and grew up in Kyrgyzstan. She was previously a national swimmer for the Kyrgyz swim team!

Kyrgyzstan - The People
Local kids playing at Chon Kemin
Kyrgyzstan - The People
The Golden Eagle Man

Falcony is one of the traditional sports in Kyrgyzstan, and this skill of hunting with eagles is passed down through the generations. We visited during the off-hunting season. Female eagles are used for hunting because they are larger in size. They can grow up to 9 kg with a lifespan of 30 years. The one in the picture is named Sareejee. She is 9 years old and weighed 5-6kg. She was captured at aged 5 and would be kept in service for 10 more years before being eased back into the wild. The Kyrics recognized that eagles belong to the wild and hence they do not keep the eagles for more than 15 years.

Kyrgyzstan - The People
The predator’s kills – lynx and foxes.

Taking leave of the Eagle Man, we passed by a Sunday cattle market at Kochkor. And… I started developing a strong urge to bring the baby lambs home as pets. Of course I couldn’t! 🙁

Kyrgyzstan - The People
Sunday cattle market at Kochor
Kyrgyzstan - The People
A breeder with the traditional Kyric hat.
Kyrgyzstan - The People
We drove to the waterfall in this 1971 Russian jeep. The man in orange was our guide cum driver, by the way.

We sat through the super rocky paths in this 1971 Russian jeep. This vintage baby is indeed hardy! The driver is akin to the Michael Schumacher of this terrain. The ride was extremely bumpy ride that it felt like some kind of X games – Kyrgyzstan version.

Kyrgyzstan - The People
Locals selling “kurut”, or milk balls.

The “kurut” are horse milk mixed with salt and flour and baked under the sun till it solidifies. Let’s just say it is an acquired taste.

Kygyzstan - The People
Kumis – the fermented mare’s milk

This “kumis”, or fermented mare’s milk, is placed in a sheep skin sac which apparently enhances the taste of the milk. It is stirred occasionally with a plant’s stem for 4 to 5 days and is good for digestion. It has a sour and pungent taste, reminiscent of traditional Chinese medicine.

Kyrgyzstan - The People
Even the bread seller looks so good…
Kyrgyzstan - The People
Changing of guards at Bishek City

The city tour at Bishek was less exciting, having admired the mountainous views and local cultures at other parts of Kyrgyzstan. The city was dotted with Soviet style buildings, which looked dreary in comparison.

Nonetheless, it was great to be able to experience the local culture through the homestays we had during the trip. Maybe it’s time to plan another trip to Central Asia…

This post was originally published on Orijinal House Cat blog in July 2015.

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