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Bishkek

KYRGYZSTAN | Wednesday, 11 March 2015 | Views [1183]

International Women's Day gifts

International Women's Day gifts

BISHKEK LOOKS MORE PLEASANT IN THE SUNSHINE than it did yesterday in the freezing drizzle.  But even the fresh dusting of snow can’t hide the city’s glaring Soviet past.  There isn’t much to see in the capital formerly known as Frunze but it is a transportation hub for the region and a necessary stop for getting a visa to Uzbekistan.

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    Staff at the Ambassador Hotel

Bishkek is one of the most Soviet cities in Central Asia, with lots of gray concrete, heroic plazas and even a MiG fighter plane on display.  The Bishkek Park mall, with its designer clothing shops, Apple store and indoor ice rink, is one of the few modern Western concessions.  There are no McDonalds, KFCs or PizzaHuts and diet cola is almost unheard of.

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    Gone . . . but not forgotten

The Ambassador is a good choice for whiling away the bureaucratic delays for a visa.  When we arrived on International Women’s Day the manager gave Connie a long-stemmed rose, which went well with the travel bag Astana Air presented to the women on our short flight from Almaty.  Our room is one of the nicest we have had and everything works!  Room service is good and surprisingly affordable and the helpful staff put us in touch with Advantour to help us with our onward journey to Uzbekistan.  Zamira, who speaks perfect English, is helping with the visa process beginning with the mandatory LOI (letter of invitation) and the application form.  It appears that travel in Uzbekistan is nearly as difficult as in China so when she also offered us a private tour that checks off all of our needs so we decided to take the easy way out.

 

 

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