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Couchsurfing in Almaty

By |January 8th, 2014|

The taxi driver asks: "What was your first impression of Almaty?" I answer: "A nasty rip off by a taxi driver." In the morning, I took the Mashrutka from Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to Almaty (Kazakhstan):      Cost: 500 Som (10 USD) one-way      Driving time: approximately five hours      Border post: Korday      Reason: visa extension [...]

X-mas with Eagle

By |December 26th, 2013|

The Eaglemen of the Salburun Federation invited me on a hunting trip - the coolest Christmas I've ever had - literally and figuratively. I stayed with the family of one of the hunters in the mountains. His house is about 30 kilometers from the village Bakonbayeva, on the Southern shore of Lake Issyk -Kul . [...]

A Morning at “Container City”

By |December 21st, 2013|

The Dordoy Bazaar in Bishkek is one of the largest markets in Asia. It consists mainly of stacked cargo containers: the lower one contains the shop, the upper one is the storage room.     In the weekend, Dordoy is extremely busy. Therefore, we went there early, at seven o'clock in the morning [...]

Satellites and Drones for Nature Conservation

By |December 16th, 2013|

Surveillance with the help of satellites and drones is known primarily from the military sector. However, conservationists also started to use these modern technologies to their advantage. How they do it, the following three examples show. GPS/Satellite Telemetry Scientist Koustubh Sharma switches on the computer in his office. Via alphanumeric password, he logs into the [...]

Mehr va Oqibat: Animal Rights in Uzbekistan

By |December 9th, 2013|

A man is walking on the side of the road. He carries shopping bags in both hands. As soon as he sees a stray dog lying in the shade of a tree, he puts the bags down, picks up a stone and throws it at the animal. The dog is hit; it whines and runs [...]

The Russian Word for Skiing

By |December 9th, 2013|

There is no leather padded eight-seater chairlift with heated seats and wind bubble. Here in Kashka Suu, there is a single two-seat wooden folding chair lift with a small chain for safety. Don't even start looking for foot-support. "Don't you want to buckle up?" Kathrin asks. She works for a German humanitarian aid organization in [...]

Hay Harvest in Mongolia

By |November 15th, 2013|

When asked the question: "How much hay does your family need for the winter?" Uyadagwa thinks for a moment. Then he points to the horizon. "We have to mow the grass till there. 20 trucks of hay we have to bring to the camp. Then we have enough." Uyadagwa (41 years old) and his two [...]

Snow Hiking in Ala Archa

By |November 15th, 2013|

Who likes to sit in front of the PC all Sunday? Certainly not the European expats in Bishkek. The spontaneous decision: "Let's go hiking in Ala Archa!" The National Park is located about 40 kilometers outside of Bishkek, which is a nice day trip. It's four of us and we conveniently share a taxi. It [...]

Eye Surgery on Snow Leopards

By |November 13th, 2013|

Visiting a zoo in winter is a solitary experience. This Monday morning in January, there only few visitors. Most of the staff are busy with shoveling snow. In addition to the birds' croaking from the aviaries, you only hear the scraping of the shovel blades on the asphalt. Many of the snow-covered enclosures are empty. [...]

Road to Bishkek

By |October 20th, 2013|

The driver and I look at each other. "4000 and we leave right now," he says in Russian. I take a deep breath. Now I have to make a decision. Just this morning I crossed the border from Uzbekistan. "Feels good to be back," I thought, when I got the Kyrgyz stamp in the passport. [...]