Posted by: roamingolivia | April 9, 2010

The week: Bikes, Kyrgyzstan and sunshine

This week has been really crazy because some of my work involved knowing what was going on in Kyrgyzstan. So I spent most of the week glued to Twitter, like most people in the small group of humans who have been to this small, mountain nation. It weas really fun – there is probably nothing that makes me feel more alive than feeling like I am part of a crisis. I realise this is sad, and probably not sustainable. But I am being honest.

On the other hand, of course, the human cost of this week’s events has been very tragic, and on a human level, I was horrified by many of the pictures and videos I saw. Most disturbing is probably the one of the police officer who fell and tried to get away as a crowd surrounded him> I assume he didn’t make it out alive.

What has actually happened in the country is quite complicated, and it seems like the events had separate strands: a rioting/looting/criminal strand representing a relatively negative side of humanity and of the region. Then there is a more positive strand, where some people chose to reject what was an increasingly depressing and criminal regime, responsible for deaths and thefts. And then there is a legal strand, insofar as that Government was elected, and until the President resigns or is impeached, he remains the legal head of state. All of this amounts to my sincere hope that the next Government is more transparent and just than the previous.

That’s quite a preachy paragraph, so we’ll move on now to last night. When I came home from a trendy aperitivo at about 11:15, I somehow missed a strange spectacle by about 4 minutes. I opened the door to my flat, and heard a lot of noise as I opened my windows (it’s quite warm now, and it’s good to air out the flat for a bit before going to bed). I looked down, and there was a group of about 50 people on bikes and maybe two people on rollerblades, with a leader-type figure with a whistle and someone else playing pop music from somewhere, going around and around in the circle in front of my building. They stopped traffic, and some people got out of their cars to watch (others attempted to keep driving the way they needed to go). It was whimsical, and no one honked or got angry, and it was a bit like something that would happen in a dream.

Unfortunately, I then found myself thinking in the same tired cliches that most books about Italy write in – namedly, that this is why things don’t work here: because people allow such things to happen peacefully and with a touch of whimsy. But you can have whimsy and still not lose luggage on direct flights; I am convinced of it.

Last, this week’s weather is amazing. I’ve been working a lot, and so I haven’t seen it, but even after dark it is still warm enough to walk without a jacket until about 10 p.m. Sorry, but in the UK this very rarely happens, even in the peak of summer. So I have been vaguely obsessed with being outside during nice weather, like the almost-British person I am. The sun is amazing, and I feel really confused about why you wouldn’t want to spend basically every possible minute in it, when you can. When we go to lunch with our boss (this is several times this week), I don’t feel strong enough to really push for this. But today it was me and two colleagues, and we had piadina outside, and it was beautiful and amazing. Everyone says summer is really hot, and I will hate it, but I doubt it: I am still Texan, and heat doesn’t bother me. It’s a good combo: able to appreciate the sun, but not calling in the safari experts when it reaches 80 degrees. (By the way, that really happened on British radio last summer. Hilarious.)

Is it spring where you are?



  1. i thought about you a lot when the bad stuff started happening in krgyzstan. i was like, “i bet olivia knows what’s going on even more than, like, this newspaper.”

    favorite line from this entry: “But you can have whimsy and still not lose luggage on direct flights; I am convinced of it.”

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