Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kyrgyzstan


From the NYTimes: The lower Tien Shan mountains. In Kyrgyzstan, 94 percent of the land covered by mountains.

Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country that is affordable, adventurous and accessible, with a Muslim population so moderate it’s not uncommon to see mothers in bikinis drinking beer on the beach.


Even before I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Central Asia and the Silk Road, I've been fascinated with the steppes and mountains of Central Asia. The NYTimes has had a Frugal Traveler series this summer, and this week, he writes from Kyrgyzstan. There are so many amazing wonders to be explored beyond our own cultural and geographical boundaries of our nation. If you haven't been able to tell, I'm fascinated by people and cultures and different ways of thinking and doing things.

In Central Asia, there's been traditionally a very different strain of Judaism and Islam. In "Hundred Thousand Fools of God" by ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin, there are stories of certain areas, shaped by the diversity and mixing of Silk Road Culture, away from the broader rivalries of Muslims and Jews for hundreds of years, where they not only live in peace, but are integral to each other's culture. In fact, in one area, a Muslim wedding is absolutely unthinkable, without the blessing of a Jewish wedding singer.

I know I'll make it to Kyrgyzstan some day.

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