My home away from home in KygyzstanBishkek, Kyrgyzstan

ACCELS Kyrgyzstan Head Office was located here.

The American Councils for International Education hired me right out of Kazakhstan and offered me a position as Program Recruiter after I returned to the US in July, 1999. I was assigned in Bishkek but needed to attend training in Moscow, Russia. When I arrived to Bishkek, I was picked up by my Kyrgyz host family's son. I would stay with his parents for my entire time in Bishkek.

Bishkek was not what I had expected. It was just as beautiful as Almaty. I lived in Yug-2 which was had a good view of the mountains. I remember walking to work and then taking a taxi home (Google maps says it was about a 55 minute walk but I remember doing it in about 40 minutes with all the shortcuts). I enjoyed Bishkek.

Of course there was work to do. I spent roughly 1/2 of my time in Bishkek. The rest on the road. My Kyrgyz assistant spent the same amount of time on the road as me. It would take me nearly a decade and a half to finally appreciate what she did. Our work was difficult.

Below are some of the photos I took while I was in Bishkek. Sadly, I cannot find the photos of me and my Kyrgyz host family.

Yug Dva

View from Yug Dva (2) - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
View from Yug Dva (2) from the apartment I stayed at. The mountains are very beautiful.
View from Yug Dva (2) - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
View from Yug Dva (2) - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
View from Yug Dva (2) - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Osh Bazaar

Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
My host brother brought me to the Osh Bazaar, the main marketplace in Bishkek. You can buy anything here including meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc. I remember meeting an American who spoke near fluent Kyrgyz. I had to ask him if he was Kyrgyz or not. He was funny (Need to find his photo).
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Osh Bazaar - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Honor Guard

Honor Guard - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
I got to see the Honor Guard at the city center. These guys were funny, they were talking until they saw me and knew I wanted to take some photographs. They did an amazing job marching in formation. These photos were used in some publications afterwards (though I did not paid for them).
Honor Guard - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Honor Guard - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Honor Guard - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The statue of Lenin, now removed I heard, was nearby.

Winter, 1999

Winter in Bishkek - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Winter finally came. In Kazakhstan I did not experience a lot of snow since I was in the south. In Bishkek, I saw a lot.
Winter in Bishkek - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Snowing from Yug 2. Yes I was fascinated by it.
Winter in Bishkek - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
More snowfall.
Winter in Bishkek - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
If I remember right, the US Marine Corps barracks were around here. I got to meet the US Embassy Marine Security Guards when I lived in Bishkek. It was the first time I met fellow US Marines since I left the Corps in October, 1996.
Winter in Bishkek - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Sorry, forgot where this was located at.

Manas International Airport

Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Manas International Airport some two years before the US military arrived. This was in late August, 1999, when I flew in with from Moscow, Russia, after my training.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
I flew in on a jet like this. I actually thought I was going to die since it was the first time I flew on a Soviet jetliner. After my four months in Krygyzstan, I would miss them.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Several Soviet jetliners. Kyrgyzstan Airlines did own one Airbus but they could only fly to Turkey but not the rest of Europe.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
I flew on this plane 4 times between Bishkek and Osh. It is a fun ride.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan Airlines Tupolev T-134.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Manas did have one jetway at the time. Most of the time you either took a bus or walked to the plane. This photo was one of my last pictures of Kyrgyzstan. I flew out to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines in late 1999.
Manas International Airport - Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
My last photo of me leaving Kyrgyzstan heading to Istanbul, Turkey.

Reflection

The four months went fast primarily because I was on the road a lot. I lost contact with the Chokubaevs so I never met them when I moved back to Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 2013. Recently, I was able to get into contact with one of my Kyrgyz host brothers. I hope to meet he and his brother in the future.