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September 20, 2013

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Interesting story thanks LJ.

Thank you, LJ. I wish I had more travel experiences. I've only been to the easy places like Ireland. I don't know enough about Kyrgyz to ask a question.

Also worth noting are prior posts on Kyrgyz on this very blog.

I want to visit Kyrgyz now.

And thanks, lj, for teasing out some wider geopolitical implications for us from your visit.

There is something about the Syria/Snowden/Putin/wider Mideast politics that seems like a higher and parallel level of chess not (made) available to us in the U.S., particularly as our media and political class focus on relative dick size for the simpleton class who merely want to play at home.

I had forgotten all about Edward's discussion, though I couldn't figure out why all of the background seemed familiar. Another senior moment. If you have Edward's email, could you send it to me?

There are a number of observations about the Muslim nature of Kyrgyz. In the south, in the Fergana valley, there are more fundamentalists around (the mayor of Osh is vocally anti-American), there is the possibility of another revolution that might be based on a Islamic separatism, but in the North, things are quite calm.

One thing that I noticed was that there were a number of women in hijab (but no one in niqab) though I may have been confused, because traditional Kyrgyz dress is similar. However, all these women were often with women stylishly dressed in western clothing, sans hijab, chatting and laughing. I tried to find out if the women were observant and if it was a problem to be seen with the non-observant. One teacher said of course they are observant, and it was no problem to have non-observant friends, while a younger teacher said that it was trendy to wear hijab etc, even if you weren't observant. I'm not sure which was true, but I am reminded of Colbert's observation about the new Miss America, which is that a portion of Americans see a girl in a bikini and think Muslim extremist...

I don't have his email, but you could friend him on Facebook or leave a comment on his blog http://www.edwardwinkleman.com/

Knowing next to nothing about this country, I decided to google it.

Wow, what a beautiful place. Spectacular. Steep sudden mountains, intensely green valleys, snow caps and forests. I had no idea.

Could you see any of that from where you were, LJ?

They are, apparently trying to get a tourist industry going.

Well, I hope they are successful. They certainly have the scenery.

Yeah, the drive around the southern part of Issyk Kul was in full view of the Tien Sian mountains. Some more googled pictures.

A lot of tourism allows you to do homestays with a family in their yurt. Some folks did it last year and they said that going out at night, seeing all the stars was just spectacular. Another friend who just stayed went with guides on horseback and camped for 10 days. Though the legs were kind of bowed, the pictures he showed me were amazing.

I'd love to have a chance to do that.

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