Friday, August 8, 2008

15 Little Joys You Don't Even Know About

There are a lot of great things about Central Asia that you could only experience by being here.

1) Central Asian handshakes are great. People take your hand in both of theirs and bow slightly.

2) Fresh fruit is available everywhere. I bought a huge bucket of apricots along the side of the road two days ago. Our guesthouse has grapes growing in the garden, and our hotel yesterday had a plum tree outside it.

3) Little children run up to you and say "Hello! What you name?"

4) A random Taxi driver we met on the street invited us to have tea with his family today.

5) Whenever you hike in the mountains you see herds of beautiful horses.

6) You never get tired of seeing a little kid sitting on a donkey which is pulling a cart. Donkeys are cute. Little kids are cute. Enough said.

7) A lot of people have heard of the Calgary Flames. Apparently many Central Asians and Russians like hockey and the TV stations show the NHL Playoffs. Who would have guessed?

8) Meals are eaten with freshly baked bread which is broken into little pieces so that it can be shared.

9) When you stay in a yurt outside the tourist areas you sleep with the family. Everyone simply moves over and you all sleep in a big row.

10) Even in cities, much of the accomodation is in homestays (think B&B). You stay in the house of a nice family who cooks you breakfast. It's a great way to meet locals.

11) Things are very cheap. You can buy vodka for $1.00 a bottle and beer for $0.50. A nice dinner costs $10.00. For two people. Including drinks. Accomodation is about $15-$30 a night for two people.

12) Old men wear traditional hats and gray suits.

13) Women wear colorful headscarfs and lots of red. Many of the asian-looking women have blue eyes.

14) Central Asia is young and there are always children playing and laughing. Canada is so quiet in comparison.

15) We have never felt threatened or in danger from anyone (other than the drivers).

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