Before going to Chris’ conference in Bishkek, we planned a trip to a famous lake in Kyrgyzstan, Issik Kul. I’ve looked forward to this trip a lot. Going on 2 weeks without hot, running water, I was looking forward to a shower.
The flight from Dushanbe to Bishkek was pleasant. That is after all of the confusion of getting past security and then the unexplained delay. After checking in, one of the guys in charge of getting the passengers through security was asking the passengers where we were going and how many people were going to be on the flight. Every one was having a pretty good laugh as they scrambled around looking for the paper work, ushered us in one room to put our bags through the machines, back out into the hallway to fill out our paper work, and then back into a line for passport control. At one point they climbed over walls to get into a locked room where they believed the blank forms to be.
My immediate impression of Kyrgyzstan was that the airport was cleaner and more organized than Dushanbe’s. We had a beautiful drive from the airport to Issik Kul. It took about two and a half hours. We watched the mountains change around every turn from red to yellow to black.
When we arrived at the resort we had been told about, Royal Beach, there were no rooms available. We weren’t worried because there were a lot of resorts around. Chris was happy actually because a resort with an English name was most likely not going to be an authentic Central Asian experience. I was up for an authentic Central Asian experience as long as it included a real shower with real warm water.
We eventually came to a little resort that had a room available. It was very inexpensive and included all of our meals. Several little buildings housing the rooms are set along trails throughout the wooded property. The trails will also take you to a small amphitheater, several playgrounds, and of course, the beach. The view of the lake with the snow-capped mountains behind it was breathtaking. The pictures won't do it justice. With everything we needed for the next few days provided, we considered it our little all-inclusive resort.
As it turns out, the all-inclusive resort did exclude a few amenities: showers, hot water and toilet paper. We were afraid that there were not even any toilet seats, until Chris saw that they were conveniently located in the hall closet, all stacked up. I understand that in other places they organize things differently than we are used to. But toilet seats in the closet?!? I was about to loose it when Chris found that there was a sauna down the road, where we could indeed, finally take a shower.
In spite of these sizeable setbacks, the resort turned out to be a wonderful place to stay. We ate a lot of great food, and the beach was magnificent. The water was a little cold, but crystal clear. After swimming past the smooth, granite rocks that lined the bottom along the shore, the bottom was sandy. We were there at the beginning of the season, so we got to see as the resort made several improvements while we were there. They cleaned up playgrounds, painted, added lamps along the paths to the beach, and added a sign above the gate to the entrance. It reads, “AK KYY,” Ak-ku, Chris will have to let you know what it means.
It was a relaxing vacation. We are now in Bishkek. Chris is at the first day of his conference. I am relaxing in front of CNN in our hotel room (hot water and shower included), and about to go exploring a bit to find some lunch and an internet café.