Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays! Christmas was just another work day here in Kyrgyzstan as it is not celebrated nationally or religiously by Muslims. However, Bishkek is decorated in tinsel and neon as Kyrgyzstan gears up for New Years, which is the big holiday here. It snowed on Christmas Eve so it was a crisp, white Christmas in Bishkek. I enjoyed several holiday parties with a mix of locals and foreign friends. Christmas dinner was a huge feast served traditional style on the floor atop a Kyrgyz shyrdak (felt rug). This past holiday weekend I had the pleasure of skiing at several small ski bases outside Bishkek. They may be small, but it is still wild Kyrgyzstan... Untracked slopes with the occasional piece of steel and ancient tow-rope-lifts that lift you several meters off the ground and carry you over obstacles. All mixed in with stoic aggressive Russian skiers, out of control kids and picnics in the parking lot. This week I will be translating my interviews for my social research project and finally finishing preparing my GIS data for Kyrgyzstan. I am looking forward to making my own maps! Mid-week I will head to the west to celebrate New Years with my Kyrgyz friend Bakyt and his family on Lake Issy-Kul!