Category Archives: Bishkek

Postcard from Central Asia #6: wanted for questioning

Night. A knock at the door. Two Kyrgyz men in black uniforms and black jackets. The shorter one introduces them both as being police officers, in moderate English. I ask to see some identification. The guy doing the talking takes … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The great Central Asian fiction you’ve never heard of: part one

A sunny afternoon, and a surprise in Waterstone’s: the August book of the month is by a Central Asian writer, and from 1957. The crystalline beauty of Chingiz Aitmatov’s Jamilia was the first Central Asian fiction I’d read, back in August, … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #5: what the Georgian Prime Minister did next

What does a Prime Minister do on leaving office? Go to the Oval for lunch and watch some cricket, in John Major’s case. Georgia’s Nika Gilauri sets up a company to help governments reform, and comes to the World Bank … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #4: urgent request from a UN ‘spymaster’

A gloriously greasy gamburger for lunch, and on returning to the office an email from a senior United Nations staffer in Bishkek. Could I meet them for lunch tomorrow at Bella Italia? An urgent matter to discuss. Certainly, see you there. … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, United Nations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bishkek restaurant review: Smokie’s Bar-B-Q

You walk in and find yourself thousands of miles out West, diners enjoying enormous-looking ribs, good music, friendly atmosphere. A bar in the middle of the room, I take a table. The menu has all sorts of things I’ve never … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, restaurants | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #3: persuading Madam President

It’s not every day you manoeuvre a former President of a country into doing something they didn’t want to do, and in front of a room full of lots of people. Roza Otunbayeva stepped down as President of the Kyrgyz … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, China, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Central Asia #2: encounter with a not very good spy

One of my favourite places in Bishkek is Smokie’s Bar-B-Q, a 24-hour American ribs and beer joint where many a late evening has been spent in good company. You meet all sorts there: aviation engineers, diplomats, journalists, musicians. I’m talking to … Continue reading

Posted in Bishkek, Central Asia, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment