It is easy to drop into certain assumptions. For example, the idea that living for decades under a crushingly conformist soviet regime may have deadened the imagination. These assumptions are designed to be quashed and spectacularly rent asunder at the earliest possible convenience.
And so, I find myself observing a lesson were a Russian lady and a young Kyrgyz boy who appears to be called Swimmingpool describe their plans for a 17th century Russian style restaurant, to include a roaring hearth, a central bear-skin rug feature and a grand piano, serving a range of dishes including fried bear and salad and featuring only piano music and visiting poets for entertainment.
This does not tally well with the stifled imaginations theory. Thank god it’s one of those times when your half-formed, idiot prejudices being confounded proves a great pleasure. The fact that fried bear was being pronounced like ‘fried beer’ only added to the enjoyment.
This was followed by my introduction to Kyrgyz cuisine, which is decidedly hearty, designed to keep a man alive, insulated and farting furiously on the top of a mountain whilst yak farming and is therefore heavy on meat, potato and onions combined in various starchy/carby configuirations.
I am informed there is a special Kyrgyz spirit made from horses milk. I have not been able to verify this intriguing assertion yet, but will endeavour to do so in the not too distant future (purely in my role as a collector of knowledge about a little known culture of course).
On a political note, I have just discovered that the honorary British consul Mike Astoparthis (who is honorary consul on the basis that the nearest full British Consulate is in Almaty in neighbouring Kazakhstan) is away from Kyrgyzstan at the moment. In fact, apparently he is in Almaty in neighbouring Kazakhstan, so that’s useful.
On other consular matters, there’s apparently a Halloween party going down at the former German Embassy building, organised by those scamps the Yanks...much fun to be had this weekend methinks (I wonder if it will be that great American institution, a kegger?).