On Kyrgyz Hospitality, or Lamb Picnic at the Mountain River
Русская версия Having visited Osh and Jalal-Abad, this day we were planning to get to the center of Kyrgyzstan to see more natural sights there. There was no public transport service on our route, and we decided to hitch-hike. We stopped a Lexus, and before its driver, Zamir, drove us to the place we wanted, he had succeeded in changing our minds: instead of tourist stuff we were heading to the picnic with his family, where he had invited us.
took place at the settlement called Kara-Alma (which may be translated as ‘Black Apple’) at the mountain river. There you may rent a spot for a whole family with a huge traditional pot for cooking.
The family of Zamir turned to be very interesting: a taxation officer, a cardiologist, an agronomist, a head of the special police unit, etc. They were getting together on the occasion of the nephew visiting home. To greet the family member, they killed the lamb. Not for the faint-hearted!
We were told that being the honored guest too we are supposed to get the freshly cut head of the lamb on the plate, but we refused from such an honor 🙂 The lamb was cooked in all possible ways: soup, shashlik (grilled meat), and even the stewed version with herbs in the plastic bottle.
Our new friends offered the lamb all the time, and to complement it they offered vodka – a lot of vodka. It was hard to remain sober Soon our new friends started taking baths in the ice-cold mountain river after every toast. Perhaps, this kept them alive after the amount of alcohol they drank 🙂
At the certain point of time the head of the special police (kind of SWAT) unit cut his hand with the broken bottle. In spite of lots of blood, he continued swimming, eating, and drinking. The blood stopped by itself 🙂
The new friends told us many stories about Kyrgyz traditions. For instance, they still steal brides, yet, the brides nowadays tend to agree for that, since by that time they already know the potential groom and have several dates with him. The side of the groom spends a huge amount of money on the wedding (just imagine, how many lambs are required), sometimes they collect the money for their son(s) wedding for years.
They also recommended a local sight to us: if you go to Kok-Jangak from Oktyabrsky, the road stretches up the hill for about 5 kilometers. They claimed that in case you go up the road, the car drives by itself due to certain magnetic fields.
We spent the whole day at the picnic; in the evening we returned to their town, had some beer, and one of the members of the family invited us to sleep in his house.
The day turned to be great, but it was time to do some tourist stuff too: the next day we went to see Sary Chalek lake, which certainly should not be missed!
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