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Taxi Cab Convos in Bishkek


horses outside bishkekI love Bishkek. It’s like this oasis of awesome modernity in the middle of nowhere.

Sure, you might immediately catch glimpses of Kyrgyz people riding horses and donkeys on the side of the road as soon as you get outside of the major city.

But, in Bishkek, life is somewhat classy. Classy coffee joints have sprung up, people dress in nicer clothes, and more cars are on the streets. I’ve dined at probably a better pizza place than what I might find in Australia, and there is wifi (albeit painfully slow) at many establishments.

Still, nothing spins me out more than taking a taxi and having some good, forced conversation. Yep, these rides have a way of taking me from feeling good to feeling bad, and from feeling like I’m in a modern location to one with mixed views still lingering in the past. It’s an intriguing mix!

tashrabat bishkek

The modern world of Bishkek.

Here are some of the experiences I’ve had thus far:

Yay! I’m Young

So, in 3 separate car rides, I’ve been asked flat out my age as it is a normal question in these parts. Some of the ages that have been thrown out by my driving companions have been 23, 21 and 20! Hooray!

Boo, I’m Really Old

Ah, but in reality, I’m 28 years old — a rather old bird in these parts. Sure, their shock and disbelief at my real age makes me feel good, but the questions that follow are always difficult to deal with.

Your Life is Over

The progression seems to go a little something like the following:

Are you married?
No, but I have a boyfriend.

Is he here?
No, he’s in Australia.

(Obviously him not being here basically means I’m single.)

Do you have kids?
No. Definitely not.

(I watch as confusion, shock and more confusion rolls across his face.)

So, you’re 28, not married and with no kids?!

(Disbelief as I tell him it is normal.)

In Kyrgyzstan, at 28 your life is… your life is…

I watched as one of my taxi drivers actually made the gesture — the swiping motion through the air to signify an end; over.

Seriously, I must have something wrong with me to be without hubby and child at this juncture.

And to this, I decide to tell them all something that completely blows their minds: I’ll do that when I’m 35.


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12 Responses to Taxi Cab Convos in Bishkek

  1. Kelsey November 18, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    It was the same for me in Korea. A boyfriend overseas, no kids (or desire to have any), unmarried, and a foreign female…I was pretty much the bottom of the social totem pole, and got a lot of unwelcome pity from my Korean friends.

  2. Petra November 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Ha ha! I’m also 28, living with my boyfriend, but I don’t intend to ever get married. As for the kids, there’s still time. 😀 Unfortunately, there are lots of societies not finding this a normal lifestyle at all. I’m sorry to say that one of them is the Romanian one (although the marriage age limit has gone up a bit since Communist times). 🙂

  3. Tony November 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    That’s pretty funny. I get complemented on looking younger frequently too or more, look great for your age. Kind of related, it always makes me laugh when C Dubbs tells that story of how people in Korea think there’s something wrong with you if you’re vego – different society altogether. Totes agree with the do it when you’re 35 approach though. When are you back in town?

  4. Amanda November 20, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    I feel you on always being told I look a lot younger than I am (seriously, I’m 25 and still get carded for being UNDER 18 sometimes). But I’m sure in another 10 years I’ll appreciate that.

    I have not, however, even been told that my life is over because I’m not married yet! But I’m with you — I’ll do the whole marriage/kids thing after I turn 30. You know, if I don’t shrivel up before then. 😉

  5. Erik November 20, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Too funny, but I have heard this from a number of people. I dated a Russian girl when I was 28, and she said I was selfish because I wasn’t married with a family yet.

    Maybe she was right….. but I like the path I followed.

  6. Erica November 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    lol! I’m with you on the 35 train (at least with the kids part). When we were in Mexico we got quite a few funny looks lol! I was even criticized by an 18 year old girl! 😛

  7. Elizabeth November 22, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    Oh thats depressing! I had a tour guide one time tell me I was “Kaput” at the ripe old age of 22.

  8. Cat November 23, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    Haha, I can definitely relate to you and many of the commenters! I’m 28 and often get asked if I’m 18 but I’m slowly getting people closer to a guess of 21, think the record might be about 23! I am married but no kids nor want them. But, it’s ok, I’m happy with who I am and I’m living my own life, not theirs.

  9. Randy November 28, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Next time that happens, just say to him, “Look man, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.”

  10. Megan December 6, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    You do look young! As I travel I’ve gone from the “where is your father?” to “where is your husband?” to “where are your kids?” comments. The Tajik ambassador in Bishkek told me that since I was 29 I had to find a man quickly since I can not biologically have children after the age of 30. The things we put up with the get a visa (or a taxi ride)!


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