I wanted to post a quick update about the past couple of days. We aren't able to visit HotDog again until Friday, so we have had time to explore Bishkek. Yesterday we took a long walk down the main street by our apartment. We took our time and just observed the sights, sounds, and smells. We visited the outdoor market across the street and Stu bought a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. We also made a trip to the grocery store and stocked up on some provisions (including Diet Pepsi...Woohoo!!! I had been going through withdrawal since we arrived without my Diet Pepsi). We thought we did a good job with reading labels until we arrived at the apartment and found that what we thought was a cheese spread was actually cheese-flavored butter:)
Last night we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We sat outside and just watched the crowds go by. The weather is perfect so I think everybody was out taking walks with their children. Stu and I sat there and stared at every baby that crossed our paths. They are all so beautiful.
Today we were lucky enough to be able to go up into the mountains for a little hiking with two of the other couples with whom we are traveling. The scenery was breathtaking; we were surrounded by snow-capped mountains and our trail was full of streams with some of the clearest water I've ever seen. Stu and I have been to many places around the world, and I have to say that this place is the most beautiful I've ever visited. I have some amazing pictures I'll share when we get home. We then went to a huge outdoor bazaar where we were able to barter for some wonderful traditional Kyrgyz items. We finished the day with a great Italian meal with one of the other couples.
Now we are going to head to our apartment and hopefully watch a few episodes of Arrested Development before the electricity is shut off. Several of you have asked about the electricity problem: Evidently they are having a massive energy shortage so they are doing rolling shutoffs. Unfortunately for us, that means that our electricity is out usually between 2:00 until 6:00 in the afternoon and then again between 12:00 and 6:00 in the morning. Of course, that is not set in stone because the other night our electricity went off at 9:00 at night and didn't come on until the next morning. We have a candle by our side all of the time because we never know when the lights are going out.
I think we're shopping more tomorrow (said as Stu groans beside me). We're actually just trying to kill time until we get to see HotDog again on Friday. But we are having the time of our life. We have absolutely fallen in love with the city and country and can't wait to explore it more.