In the last few days my life has been relatively uninteresting. There's only so much you can say about a sunburn. (Although I will add that after I posted, my face peeled, and the skin that has emerged looks like it might peel too. I'm twice-baked Will.)
So I decided to go to Kyrgyzstan. To make things more exciting, I didn't bother with the normal procedure of actually getting a visa; instead, I relied on the Internet to inform me that I should just fly to Bishkek and get the visa there in the airport. My mom was not excited about this plan, but I went ahead with it anyway. It was one of the scariest times in my life to be waiting in the Passport Control room in Bishkek's airport having spent over $200 to fly there without a word of Russian in my vocabulary and hope that I wouldn't be turned back to China. The good news was that if I did, I would be able to get back in to China (which is what my mom was really nervous about). The bad news was that in the Urumqi airport the Chinese guy made me sign something saying that if I got turned back in Kyrgyzstan, it wasn't his fault.
I made it through without a problem. After being summarily ripped off by a taxi driver taking me into the city, I found a place to stay, negotiated a price (I think), and relaxed on my bed. I was in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, chilling in a house somewhere and free to do whatever I wanted.
Since then, I have been ripped off buying lunch, met a group of British jugglers, passed a 7 club 3 count, been talked into drinking fermented mare's milk (under the auspice of "Kyrgyz Coca-Cola"), been approached by a guy wanting me to give him directions (and when I replied with the name of the street we were on--I had Lonely Planet open and knew--he thought I spoke Russian and walked away to find someone else), accidentally talked to people in Chinese, wasted 20 som on water because they drink the carbonated stuff here, eaten a cheeseburger, and successfully found an Internet cafe. Now that I think about it, the great Firewall of China doesn't hold me back here and I might actually be able to visit my own blog.
The British guys have been helpful. I'd like to go into Kazakhstan because from there I can take a cheap train back to China. This morning I started on the visa process, which the British guys are on the brink of finishing after having spent a week here working on it.
The buildings are ugly; the people are diverse (it might just be my authentic Kyrgyz camel hair bag, but people don't think I'm a foreigner until I give them my practised blank stare); the food is amazing; the cost is more than China. If I understood the keyboard better here, I could type in Russian.
I'm off to have more adventures, my som are going fast the longer I type.