The city of Osh is known as the Southern Capital. It’s the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan and quite cut off from the capital of Bishkek in the north by lots of mountains. It has a strong Uzbek presence considering their proximity, but at this point I don’t even really know what that means. But anyway, it’s a nice, green, fairly relaxing city. In fact it’s more like one big suburb, but still has the things you’d need from a big city.
On our first day we set off in search of two things, SIM cards and the hikable mountain. First we had to cross the park, which was pretty entertaining in itself as it’s got kiddie rides and carnival games everywhere. Ball toss, darts, bb gun shooting, punchable force-reading mannequin, etc. AND ice cream for about 20 cents! We probably passed 6 or 7 soft serve machines in the span of a few minutes. Suffice to say that Kyrgyz people really like their ice cream! We tried our hand at a few of the games and a few dinky keychains were won. Not bad.
Next we made it to the cell phone store. To our surprise the girls behind the counter spoke very good English, which made our lives much easier than we anticipated. Attempting to buy SIM card is not one of those things you can just point and use hand gestures for! We ended up getting our cards and unlimited data for slightly over a dollar. A dollar! Unlimited data! That is the best phone deal I have ever seen in all my life traveling. I don’t know if was some sort of tourist promotion, but damnnn. Nice work Kyrgyzstan.
Next up was the mountain. It’s more like a big hill right in the middle of town, so it wasn’t exactly hard to find. We stopped in the 3 story yurt museum first, which is kind of cool to say you’ve been in a 3 story yurt. Then as we were about to head up the mountain we were approached by a TV crew from Bishkek, wondering if they could interview us about Osh and the mountain. Uhh sure. The head TV woman couldn’t speak English so there was a translator. And they actually didn’t want to interview all of us, just the one girl in the group, Annie. They told the rest of us (3 guys) to just hang out behind her and pretend like we were having a good time in the background, ha. I’m sure we’re all famous in Bishkek now…
The mountain was itself wasn’t anything spectacular, but you do get nice views over the city. I think the highest building we could find was only nine or 10 stories high. The people we met along the way were also super friendly and we got lots of hi’s and hello’s and made friends with a couple of students who spoke good English. All in all it was nice afternoon. After that we arranged our ride to the next destination and went back to the same restaurant we went to the first night to get those delicious lamb shish kebabs and a few beers. Kyrgyzstan was shaping up to be a very enjoyable country!