Kyrgyzstan is well-known for several things – traditional yurts, horses on green pastures, and kymyz (horse’s milk). The latter is quite a favorite among the locals – the drink has almost magical powers, having the ability to cure all illnesses and give you superhuman strength. Not to mention, a buzz from its alcoholic qualities.
If you’re visiting Kyrgyzstan, sooner or later, you will have to give the drink a shot and see what it’s like for yourself. To me, the experience was similar to trying out sushi. The first time you try it, you think – “god, this thing is weird. Take it away!”. The second time, you go “hmm, maybe there is something to it.” And the third, well – I haven’t quite reached the third stage yet, but I’ve been told, that you start to like it.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to come out to a jailoo – a green pasture where horses roam free and kymyz flows bountifully!
You'll find a handful of yurts on every jailoo. The locals live in them while watching over their horses. Beautiful backdrop, eh?
Dozens of horses are feeding on the pastures.
The jailoos are typically located near the rivers, such as this one (B&W for effect :))
When you enter a yurt, you're immediately offered a traditional meal of bread and Kymyz.
Whether you like it or not, you're expected to drink the whole bowl. The hosts will make sure of that.
Fortunately, looks like Coca-Cola is getting in the Kymyz business, so look for it on shelves of your favorite supermarkets.
The road back over a mountain pass.
We spent the weekend at the house of the local chief of police, who was kind enough to send us back to Bishkek in a police car (well, they were going there anyway).
The ride was complete with sirens, running the red lights, and going 150 miles an hour... well, not quite that But it was still quite an experience!
Interestingly enough, check out what it says on the side of the car: “Gift from the people of the USA.” I only wonder – if it's a gift from Uncle Sam, why it is a Volkswagen and not a Ford or a GM?