February was a bit of a slow month, so here is post on two activities I did…
On February 18, I went skiing for the second time in my life and the first time in 16 years. Expecting the worst but hoping for the best, we set out from Bishkek with the Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan. After about an hour’s drive, we arrived at Zil, a ski resort frequented by locals. Since only two or three of us had skied before, we decided to take a quick lesson from a local woman. I’m very glad we did this. Although I remembered a lot from my first skiing experience, she taught us several things that proved to be very useful. I’m proud to say that I did not fall once and was able to make turns with ease. More intimidated by the lift than the mountain, I didn’t leave the beginner’s hill but in all, it was a very relaxing, fun day on the slopes. I liked it so much that I had made plans to go again, only to have them cancelled.
Soviet Mosaics Tour
On February 26, eight friends and I went on a walking tour of Soviet mosaic art in Bishkek. Having noticed much of the public art before, it was very interesting to learn some of its history. A local man from the School of Theory and Activism, a non-profit for the local arts, led the one hour and fifteen-minute tour in English. A beautiful day in Bishkek, we dodged the mud and puddles as we saw five of the seventeen mosaics in the city.
Although they are from the Soviet era and the buildings on which they appear are now privately owned, laws protect the mosaics in the public domain. This mosaics preserve the history of the Soviet Union in Kyrgyzstan, especially from 1960-1980 when most of the mosaics were constructed.
Reasonably priced at about 300 som per person, I highly recommend this tour for visitors. Not only does it help explain the art you pass every day in Bishkek, it also provided insight into the Soviet influence and legacy in Central Asia through a unique and engaging medium.
Also, since we have been in Kyrgyzstan for over six months now, it was a great reminder to continue to explore the city as a tourist and to take the mindset home to the United States and our respective cities.