Sunday, August 2: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
10:30 I’ve missed the free breakfast at the hotel and decide to grab something on the way to Osh Market.
13:05 Christina joins me for the long walk to the market. About 20 minutes into the trip we stop at a nice outdoor patio and within a few minutes Alice and Bridie join us. I order a Coke, a small Caesar salad and a dish called Male Whim which is described as “beef tongue, mayonnaise, garlic, eggs.”
13:18 The food arrives at the table. Male Whim turns out to be nothing more and nothing less than advertised. Christina and Alice have ordered “Besh Barmak: Homemade pastry with meat (sic) horse meat and rich broth of lamb.” The pastry looks more like thick egg noodles and the horse meat is cubed, well done, and dry as leather. The garnish consists of several rings of tough rind-like meat, about 2 inches in diameter, with a yellow gelatinous substance in the middle. Christina asks the teenage male waiter what the mystery meat would be. He blushes and runs to the kitchen in obvious embarrassment. When he returns with drinks a few minutes later we repeat the question. This time he points to his stomach and says “ah, ah, insides”. We have no proof but we are unanimous in our suspicion that it’s actually sliced horse penis.
14:18 I buy four single-fare bus tickets and pay the equivalent of 70 cents for the lot. The bus to Osh Market is air conditioned and the ride smooth and trouble-free. Several people volunteer to escort us from the bus stop to the market entrance which is a few blocks away. Osh Market is much like any other market in Central Asia but I do find it interesting. I spot a tin of Obama brand Viagara. The vendor wants about $4 for a tin with contents but I get him down to $1 for an empty tin. I’m sure he’ll be telling this one to his grandchildren one day.