After yesterday’s post, I wanted to add a few photos I shot on my trip to Bishkek.
Several friends and family have complained that I don’t post much about where I live— actually, they also complain that I don’t post much period. Oh well.
House Hunters International, if you haven’t been reading my blog for too long, is a show that I LOVE!
Today, they come together. Here is what Bishkek looks like:
I have received a lot of kind emails concerned about my family’s and my own personal safety, thank you.
I have also gotten several emails about what is actually happening in the region.
Yesterday, the troubles in Kyrgyzstan made the front cover of The Express, also know as the local DC metro newspaper. They are not well known for their international, in depth, coverage. Mostly, they are just something to read on the way to work.
So, I bullet pointing some good reporting on the situation below. Also, I want to point out that while I will be working in Kyrgyzstan from time to time, I will be living in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Please see the above map to find me (in Kazakhstan), friends from GWB in Kyrgyzstan), and the epicenter of the violence, Osh (in Kyrgyzstan)
- Aid Starts to Arrive in Kyrgyzstan as Violence Abates
- Explainer: Kyrgyzstan’s ethnic unrest
- UN Human Rights Officials say Kyrgyzstan Violence Appears Coordinated
- Kyrgyzstan neighbours urged to open borders
- Refugee crisis worsens in Kyrgyzstan
That said, it is clear from the reports that the situation is truly awful. In fact, from what I hear from friends on the ground, it is worse then being reported in terms of violence, casualties and refuges. Central Asia has not faced this type of catastrophe in a long time. Honestly, I am not sure they are able to manage the humanitarian crisis now—much less if it were to get worse.
Yesterday I showed you a map and promised future fun facts and photos. I am not there yet, so I will not be able to give you a lot, but I thought a small taste might be nice. So, here is my first installmet of Central Asia Fun Facts:
- It is the largest land locked country in the world.
- Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, with a density of less than 6 people per sq km.
- Kazakhstan will chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010.
- Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet republic to repay all of its debt to the IMF in 2000, seven years before it was due.
- It is nothing like Borat (which was filmed in Romania)
- Tien Shan mountain range, which the country shares with China, covers approximately 75 percent of the whole territory.
- The ethnic group of Kyrgyz comprises of traditionally nomadic people, believed to have originally lived in southern Siberia.
- Kyrgyzstan is home to Inylchek Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the world.
- The walnut-fruit forests of Kyrgyzstan are amongst the largest natural walnut forests in the world.
- The Muruntan gold mine in Uzbekistan is the world’s largest open pit gold mine.
- The territory of Uzbekistan is believed to have been populated since the second millennium BC.
- Uzbekistan is home to one of the largest deserts in the world, known as Kyzylkum, which also extends into Kazakhstan.
- In 2002, ancient pyramids were discovered by Russian and Uzbek archaeologists, in the Kashkadarya & Samarkand regions of Uzbekistan. They are believed to be as much as 2700 years old.
- In Uzbekistan, lipioshka (bread) is never laid upside down and is never put on the ground, even if it is in a bag.
- Nurek Dam, located in Tajikistan, is the highest dam in the world. See image here.
- A mountainous country, it has ninety percent of its area precipitous and rocky.
- Tajikistan was initially a part of the Samanid Empire, but was created as an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, within Uzbekistan, in 1924.
- More than fifty percent of Tajikistan land is over 3,000 meters (approx. 10,000 ft) above sea level.
- Created a law to limit the amount of people one can invite to a party (like a wedding) based on the household income in an effort to keep people from bankrupting themselves.
- Around eighty percent of the landscape of Turkmenistan stands covered by Karakum Desert. This is one of the largest sand deserts of the world.
- The country’s natural gas reserves rank fifth in the whole world.
- Kugitang Reserve of Turkmenistan has a rock plateau imprinted with footprints of a dinosaur.
- Turkmenistan has been known throughout the world, since centuries, for its Turkmen carpets.
- Reported literacy rates in Turkmenistan are 98%.