An afternoon at the Osh Bazaar, in Kyrgyzstan's capital city of Bishkek, lifted my spirit and rewarded me with so many smiley faces, tastes and flavors (and resulted in this small video). Like all big bazaars, they might appear confusing to a new visitor at first but quickly you figure out there is order in the seemingly haphazard arrangement of narrow lanes and covered areas. It’s a world of its own, here is the fruits section, then the flour part, shoes on this side, freshly baked bread on the lane to the left, spices, nuts and sweets in the covered market at the center of the bazaar (symbolically so, for isn’t life at its core sweet and spicy and more often than not nuts?) and then we have the ladies selling refreshments on their carts, frozen chicken and horse meat defrosting on benches, and not to forget the dairy/cheese/fresh butter section....all kept very clean.
Osh Bazaar characters: mostly women, the market sellers of this bazaar gracefully posed for me, amused at my interest in their photogenic takes instead of their products. Next time, I need to have enough money with me to shop at their stalls so I can get to chat a bit with them about life in this bazaar. The knitting lady was keen to tell me about the baby knitted shoes and the cheese/butter young woman was explaining the freshness and origin of milk but alas much was lost in translation. I should advance my Russian from 10 sentences to 20, it might help comprehension levels.
A smile and a “mozna” (can I?) showing my camera granted me permission to take people’s faces (the guy with the sweeps asked to have his neighboring seller in the photo too, I obliged). Who needs Dubai Mall when you can meet humanity in a more exuberantly authentic way in the bazaars of this world?
Central Asia’s golden discs of bread: super addictive, I finished half of it while wondering around Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar and the rest on the way to the nearest chaihana where the last bit was dipped in the hot tea served by a lovely man full of curiosity about my earthly origins. This essential food item comes in various names, lepyoshka in Russian, çörek in Turkmen, and non in Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik...I am happy to chew it in any name!