Azerbaijan July 2015
As I said thanks and goodbye to most of the wonderful people in the Art Hostel on the evening of third of July as they’re going to a famous Tbilisi ‘s open air 2015 festival, I managed to prepare myself for the next day to head on towards Azerbaijan.
After waking up and getting ready I said goodbye to the Art Hostel and headed out towards Baku in Azerbaijan at about 1030am. As I walked through the city on my way I visited an old Orthodox church which in its yard had a garden with a tap and after refreshing myself with water and filling up my water bottles (I have to say here that water source has been provided all across Tbilisi and even many other cities and towns, so you don’t have to pay for your water), then I started walking further towards my destination. After I carried on walking for a bit more I got to a bus stop, where I stopped and I asked some people for the right directions and I was told that I can take a bus to the coach station, so I used the Tbilisi local bus and underground card which still had some funds in it (it was given to me by a kind Georgian man on my arrival to Tbilisi). I decided to enquire about how to get to Tbilisi’s coach station, and I was told which bus I should take. I managed to get to the coach station at about 11am and I started to enquire about how to get to Baku from there?
I was told where and who I should ask for a ticket and after trying to explain to the manager of a ticket agency, I was shown the direction to Baku, and as I knew she hasn’t understood me I waited to find someone who could speak English and explain to her who I was and what I was doing? So as I was trying and looking for someone a wonderful man came to me and I explained to him exactly who I was and what I was doing and showed him the donation box, so we went back to the agency’s office and he explained to the manager again, then she considered to issue me a ticket if I could raise enough funds as what I had in the box wasn’t enough, so I told her no problem and I had about 3h before my departure time, so I started speaking to people and explaining who I was and why I was there and some people very kindly started to contribute and help me with some funds towards my peace pilgrimage journey, then as a young man from the agency approached me and I told him and explained everything again he very kindly helped me to sort out the ticket and even offered me some food and drink and by now even the main manager got me some bread as well – and at the beginning she didn’t want even to listen to me. So that’s how I managed to secure my coach connection to Baku just before midday and waited there and spoke to other people before my departure at about 4pm.
After saying goodbye to Tbilisi and stopping in another coach station for about half an hour, we moved again and next stop was when we arrived at the so called border control, here everyone has to get off and walk through a half mile stretch of the softer Georgian but then tougher Azerbaijani border control police, so it took us just under an hour to go through and everyone was in a rush to get to the other side while if you were waiting for your coach it could take longer than you go through alone, then as we all went through we had to wait for about almost over two hours for our coach to turn up.
It was on this coach that I met a wonderful man from Azerbaijan who was sitting next to me and as we spoke I found out he was coming back from the Tbilisi open air 2015 festival, and he was telling me if he knew we have to wait for this long time he would have not booked a coach and would’ve just turned up and he could have gone long before all this waiting. We all finally got on board again and here we go, we start moving again towards Baku.
Today we were still in the bus when we woke up about 3am in an area which was called Kurdo, in a restaurant with a strange name of Mustache but there wasn’t any sign of the man with his famous mustache and in its place was a photo of a bottle of coca cola which I have noticed that it has been used and consumed almost everywhere and not just in Macdonald or fast food places.
I have to say here thanks to Zaur a wonderful man from Baku, who very kindly offered me an early breakfast, then as we arrived in Baku later at about 6am he gave a lift to a French couple, another man from Baku and I to the new city then old city and even he very kindly helped with my stay with the kindness of the French couple in their room of a hotel where they were staying, and to add to all his kindness he tried his best to find a sea connection to my next destination to Kazakhstan today and next day while I was in Baku.
We went to a couple of ports to find out about my connection to Kazakhstan and we found out due to the weekend they were all closed and I had to wait till next day, then as we came back about 0830 and speaking to the manager of the hotel he was agreed for me to stay with the French couple but with some additional funds to be paid and Zaur very kindly as I mentioned offered me to help with my stay, then after saying thanks and goodbye to him and having some basic breakfast I headed out to explore the old town of Baku, and after connecting with some wonderful people from Baku and outside I encountered some security personnel in and around the old town and I was told I can’t show my board, then later in the day I headed back to my resting place, where I stayed and rested for the night as I knew I had a long day ahead of me next morning.
6th & 7th July 2015
After waking up and having some breakfast then packing I got a phone call from Zaur to let me know that he has called a few places to find out about my connectivity to Kazakhstan, and letting me know of some of the details. I thanked him for everything he has done, then I said goodbye to the wonderful French couple as well, and on my way to the port I visited a peace centre but there wasn’t anyone who could translate and tell why I was there to the only woman who was in the office, so I thanked her and got a phone number and said goodbye to her and headed out towards the port.
On my way I met a wonderful man who very kindly helped me with his friend all the way to the main port and as I got there I was told that I have to provide a ticket before I could go inside, so I went to a ticket office and I explained and I got in touch with a few people and finally with their kindness I was offered a connection to Kazakhstan, but not in the same port, so now I have to travel to another port about 70km outside Baku, which I had a few hours to get there.
My search to get to the next port was started by speaking to the people at this main port and then encountering some other wonderful people on my way, who very kindly helped me to get to the port just on time for the scheduled 5pm cargo ship departure, but the ship left almost with 4 hours delay than was planned to go.
I have to say here that even the Azerbaijani secret police offered me help with bus, food and drink on my way towards the next port, thinking that I was a tourist and I should be protected and taken care of – this is what I was told!? – but never mind I wanted help and to me they were in civilian clothes and everyone kind was my brothers and sisters, who could help me towards my world peace advocacy.
Just after I got to the final control booth before the ship I met a cyclist from England and we started to walk and talk towards the ship with me slowly explaining to him who I was and what I was doing. Later on in the ship it became apparent that my presence has disturbed some of the crew of the ship who were charging the passengers extra for their food, drink and even their bed sheets, as I reported this to the captain. Some of the crew especially the kitchen crew who were couple of women, one Russian speaking and the other Azeri speaking, invited us for afternoon tea and refunded us some of the extra charges, but in reality this was just to find out who has reported the extra charges to the captain, and after knowing it was me they were giving me less food portions. I was insisting it wasn’t right to charge more, I have seen on other ships the crews don’t do these sort of charges, so why you should do this to anyone here? I have to say the cyclist just before we left the ship contributed a manat (Azerbaijani currency) towards my peace journey despite our differences in opinion, but he said he will write on his blog about his encounter and hope other passengers wouldn’t be charged any more in future. You can visit him on (www.offonmybike.com).
Kazakhstan from 8-17 of July 2015
After getting off the cargo ship we’re taken to the port by a minibus just for less than 500m then we were checked for our entrance validity to Kazakhstan and after finding out we’re okay, we said goodbye to one another and headed on towards our destinations (we’re 7 passengers and about 20 crew on board as I understood). At the port I waited a bit to find out which direction I might go? then as I couldn’t get in touch with anyone at the port I headed out towards the town of Aktau.
As I was walking towards the town I got in touch with a Georgian taxi driver who very kindly gave me a short lift to the town and then with the help of some wonderful local people I found my way to the outskirts of the town this time hoping to get to Atyrau, and then towards Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan but it took me almost 10 days to get there.
I came across some very kind people in the town of Aktau, and they invited me for food, drink and their contribution towards my donation box, as they did their best to help me to get to my next destination and I would like to thank them all here.
It almost took me 13 hours through some desert and continuous driving of two wonderful Kazakh men to get very close to Atyrau, also I have to say when we stopped for a dinner about 10pm in a little town of Beyneu the main driver asked me if I do have any money and I said I have a donation box, which people if they wish, they can donate towards my peace journey, and I handed over the box, and he very kindly got some food and drink for me and then next day at about 3am, when I wanted to say goodbye to them I had a melon which I shared with them, then after we finished, and before I said goodbye to them, I asked for my donation box and he gave it back to me and after they left I realised that he has used all the funds from it apart from some foreign coins.
So after saying goodbye to them in this midway car and lorry park between Dossor and Atyrau I stayed there till 7am and someone told me I am going to a wrong direction and he very kindly took me further back to a junction near to the town of Dossor, and from here I was told I have to get back to Atyrau again and some wonderful people again took me to the port town of Atyrau.
I stayed there all day and found out that I would be better off to take a different direction than going to the town of Oral. So at about 6pm after wonderful hospitality from the town, especially in a local petrol station, and got a map, I headed back towards a little town of Makat, and I was lucky enough to get a lift to the same junction three times today near to the town of Dossor.
I waited there for about an hour and just before the sun set I was picked up by three wonderful people in a van full of watermelon, who very kindly offered me to stay with them till late night, after finding out what I was doing, they invited me to their evening feast as they’re all fasting, and I didn’t know what to eat, as they had so much on their mini high traditional table, and I think the whole community was there to pray together, then just before midnight they helped me to get to a train station, so I can carry on with my peace journey.
After saying goodbye to them all, I entered the main train station in the town of Makat, and after speaking to the ticket issuer and explaining who I was and giving her my donation box, she very kindly helped me to get a 2am train to the town of Kanderash.
Next day at about 10am I got to the town after a long train journey, then I was wondering again which way to take towards my next direction, so I started walking after saying goodbye to this old station and I headed towards the town of Emba.
After three wonderful connections I managed to stay with the third a bit longer as they offered me to take me back to the town of Aktobe, so I decided to go around with them to their workplace, and then visited a contaminated lake which reminded me of all the pesticides which has been used in the area and has caused the damage, which I have watched on a programme before, about a lake contamination, and I really was saddened after seeing it in reality, then they took me back to Aktobe main highway towards Taraz or Astana.
After spending almost 5 hours with two young Kazakh boys in their Russian jeep on a very bad road, I managed to survive, finally thanking them and saying goodbye to them both.
It was not very long before I got my fourth and final connection of the day to the town of Khromtau and as this wonderful man’s wife could speak English, and after speaking to her on the phone, and explaining who I was and what I was doing then she spoke to her husband again and I got an offer for their Kazakh traditional food and staying overnight in their home. I welcomed their offer, and I have to say it’s a great pleasure to meet such wonderful people who helped me even next day to the main road towards my next destination, even the husband helped me with some funds for my donation box, and I thank them for all their kind hospitality.
So after a heart to heart hug to them and saying goodbye to the family, I waited in a car park for my next connection, and as I waited for less than an hour I got my next connection with another wonderful man who was going to a little village of Karabtak junction, in there I waited for about an hour till 6pm and I couldn’t get any connection towards Taraz.
It’s here that I spoke to a local shepherd and after showing my message he invited me back to his home in the village for the night, so I walked with him and we took the village herd back to their people, then I had a shower very special village style and a wonderful meal than I said goodnight to them and next day he very kindly helped me to walk through the village to the main road, and this time towards the capital Astana, and not Taraz.
As I was waiting in the main road to Astana outside the village where I rested for the night, I waited for about an hour on this road before I got a connection with another wonderful man who very kindly offered to take me all the way to the capital.
It took us almost 24 hours before we arrived in the capital at about 11am in the morning, where he very kindly dropped me off somewhere in the city, and I waited there and spoke to some people about my peace journey and one of them was very kind and offered me a place to stay for the night, after offering me some food and drink, then I put my head down for the night in a very comfortable bed in the capital.
Next day I woke up after I was offered a wonderful bed for the night by a wonderful man from Astana who I met after I said goodbye to the last wonderful Kazakh man, so I stayed in the capital for another day and I wanted to find out how easy was it to connect with China? The place for the representative of the People’s Republic of China was closed so with the young boy from the hostel we visited some wonderful and famous places in the capital and he very kindly offered me some food and drink, before we headed back to the hostel, and in the evening I got in touch with the kind man who offered me to stay in this place and I was with him and his friends at his work place until next day.
Later I visited his home and his wonderful family who kindly provided me with food, drink and a train ticket to the old capital Almaty, which I would like to take this opportunity to thank him and the family and his friends for all their kindness and I will never forget their kind hospitality, it’s like an angel appeared to me in the middle of the capital and arranged everything for me, so thank you again and may my love and peace be upon you all, at all times.
I left the capital Astana at about 22:18 & I said goodbye to my wonderful new peace brothers Marat and Amon and the family, then I settled down in my cabin which I was sharing with four other people but for the time it’s just another woman with her baby, and she had another friend from another cabin with her baby who was visiting her and both babies were crying very badly, finally the people who supposed to be there turned up and crying finished, so after 19 hours of train journey and a change from 4 bed close cabin to 6 bed open cabin at 4am finally I arrived in a very hot old capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty.
Yesterday most of the day I was in the train, and I couldn’t communicate with anyone in the train as no one was speaking English, so I mainly was resting and watching the desert or some places with very beautiful countryside.
On my arrival after getting out of the train station close to evening, there’s a big roundabout outside the station which the middle of it was green with a big statue in it, so I sat there and waited to see if I can communicate with someone, but again not a lot happened, so after over an hour of waiting and no connection with anyone I headed out to try to find a shelter for the night, and close to the station there’s a Kuze hotel (www.kuze-hotel.kz), which after speaking to the receptionist she very kindly got in touch with the manager and I was offered a room for the night.
So after a wonderful rest and a quick update on social media through their network, I put my head down for the night and thanking everyone and the universe for all their kindness.
Today I woke up early and after coming to the reception to thank the people for their hospitality, I was offered some sweets and a cup of tea, then I said goodbye to them.
I went back to the train station to find out if there’s any train connection from Almaty to Bishkek, but I was told there’s not any, and as I was sitting in the station and thinking what to do next a police officer came to me and asked for my passport, and I told him, what have I done wrong, that you’re asking me for a passport and as he couldn’t speak the language and I couldn’t speak his language, so he left, and then I left the station as well, and headed out towards Bishkek, as I was asking people with sign language which way is towards there.
I walked for some kms and I came across some more wonderful people who all wanted to help me and got me food and drink and some even contributed to my donation box.
It’s about 11am that I came across someone who was keen to do the peace pilgrimage with me and I welcomed him and he was with me till about 4pm, then when he was told he can’t go to Kyrgyzstan without his ID, I said goodbye to him and I thanked him for his contribution and walk for peace with me for the duration he was with me, then I carried on towards a little town of Korday which was very close to Bishkek.
I came across some more wonderful people all the way from Almaty to Korday, and after a few mini bus connections I arrived in a little town about 9pm, and after a short walk to the so called border crossing I said goodbye to Kazakh people, and after crossing a bridge on a river, I said hello to the Kyrgyz people.
I have to say here that throughout my peace pilgrimage journey across the vast land of Kazakhstan for almost 10 days, I felt I was at home despite everyone’s question was “Aren’t you afraid of someone attacking you or taking all your stuff?” and I was telling them “Fear is created by the environment and mindset you live in. When you live in a state of fear it’s because everyday you are bombarded by the mainstream media and told that if you go out of your comfort zone you have to fear for your life! Why should I be scared, as long as I feel everyone I come across are my brothers and sisters, so wherever I go there wouldn’t be any fear.”
So Kazakhstan came after Finland, and Georgia, for their kindness and their hospitality.
July, August and September 2015 in Kyrgyzstan
17th of July 2015
As I mentioned earlier, today was the day that I was both in Kazakhstan and then entered into Kyrgyzstan, so after 9pm when I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I visited a few places at the so called border area and tried to find a place to put my head down for the night, but with no luck so I had to make my way towards the capital, which wasn’t very far, just about 20km.
After waiting in a Bishkek petrol station for a bit I got in touch with a wonderful young Kyrgyz man who was a taxi driver, and after a short journey I got one step closer to the capital.
It’s here that some taxi drivers weren’t happy about the way I was travelling and they’re saying to me “We don’t know you, you could be anyone including a terrorist”, and they were telling me that a few weeks back they had a bomb attack in the capital, but I told them “Do you really think if I had a bad intention I’ll come and do my ill intention in this way? You might know very well this is not a best way to go about doing such a thing” and I was asking them “Have you studied how those people have done such a hopeless way of trying to make people get converted to their religion or ideology? Clearly that’s not and will not be a way I would like to see the world and humanity go forwards.”
So after about half an hour of conversation about what to do next, a group of three young boys who were around wanted to go back to the capital, and they heard the same conversation and I felt they’re more sympathetic towards my cause and as they’re going back to the capital with a taxi they offered me a lift as well. As we’re talking and had some more conversation I found out they got affected by the negative conversation earlier, and as we approached the capital slowly they wanted to distance themselves from me and while at the beginning of our journey they offered me a shelter for the night, later as we arrived they just said good luck and goodbye to me, so that’s how I arrived in the capital with a very negative vibe, and I have to tell you that the vibes stayed around almost throughout my stay in Bishkek, despite all the good times and meeting so many wonderful people, but that negative mentality was around the air almost all the time and I had to create an extra positive energy to handle it.
So as I arrived in the capital time was very much close to midnight and I waited there till about 2am before I connected with another taxi driver, this time at the other side of the scale, and after a conversation through a translator from his smartphone then he very kindly offered me some water and a sandwich and then offered me to go back to his home to put my head down for the night till 7am, when I said goodbye to him and thanked him for all his hospitality.
Then I headed towards the town as he indicated to me the way to the city centre.
After some walking I stopped somewhere on a busy main road and as my sign was out and people were waking up with something new in their neighbourhood, it drew people’s attention and they wanted to know who I was and what I was doing. It all started with an old lady who was very keen on people to help me and I really thought she had understood my message, but later on when they offered me to take me to a mosque for the night shelter I found out the translation message was that I have been robbed and now I don’t have any money to get back and they wanted to get in touch with US, British and Chinese embassies to help me to get where I wanted to go.
After almost a week of coming and going to the mosque that the people were saying is the only place that they can help, I was told indirectly that I might be a spy or something else, and they don’t want to help me, and they even got a copy of my British passport and they’re telling me they’re waiting for British embassy and their Kyrgyz security to come and get me, so as I was with someone who didn’t like the idea, he said to me that means they don’t want to help and indirectly they want me to go, so he said just ignore their incompetence and let’s go.
But before I got to this stage I stayed around the mosque till about 10pm and there’s no sign of anyone from the mosque to offer me a shelter it’s just not heard for a mosque to shelter someone coming from Europe and as I told them religion is something private and I don’t discuss but I respect all the differences we have and so my second night of shelter came from another kind man who took me back to his place and after a night rest next day we headed back to the mosque again in the hope of some help.
During the day I managed to get in touch with more people and getting closer to few people from the mosque and as we saw one of the main members of the mosque and he said he’ll see if he could find some help, but that help never came, so for the third night another member of the mosque after going into the mosque and praying with them for peace took me back to one of his friends at the outskirts of Bishkek and we rested for the night there.
I woke up in a peaceful home in the outskirts of Bishkek, with a garden with tomatoes and some other vegetables, also some chickens, then after having breakfast we headed out with the hope of connecting with the representative of the People’s Republic of China at their embassy, but before there we went to another family and my story was explained to them and they’re very hospitable, then after saying goodbye to them we got a connection to the Chinese embassy and I was told by a member of the Chinese embassy to find an agency to sort out what’s required then come back and we will try to help you with your connection.
I have to say here that everything has become very much a business to try to get into China. I was told there are five major Chinese visa agencies and I have to just find one, and talk to them and hopefully they will help me to connect with China, so as the embassy was closing at midday I just talked to a woman from one agency and she told me to get in touch with her when I got my Chinese invitation and my bank details which I didn’t have any, so after getting a lift from her a bit closer to the town, then we had another connection to a relative of the man who I was with and stayed there for a few hours and we enjoyed their hospitalities in the late evening, then we said goodbye and we headed back to a wonderful woman who I have left my rucksack with on my second day here in Bishkek, and after having a shower and eating some food I said goodnight to them and rested for the night.
Today after waking up and having some food the wonderful woman and his son went out and I was offered to use internet to do some of my update from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan and about my current circumstances, then to wait till afternoon when she will link up with me. I have to say here that she was a woman who told me she might be able to help me with a Chinese invitation as she and her sister had worked between Bishkek and China before, so now I have to find a way around the bank details, which could be a tricky one.
In the afternoon, we linked together and we went back to the mosque with her to see if they can help or not, but no one was there for us to speak to and we left to go and find and connect with some English language centres to see if I can help them, and they might help me with some funds as well. After that, we went back to her place for some rest, then for the night and as I got there some relatives of the wonderful woman did turn up and they wanted to take me back to the mosque, and I said no thanks and left the home for an unknown location and as I was wandering about, I came across this wonderful family in a park which was called Ataturk park, and this came to me as I was sheltering because of rain after I left the wonderful Kyrgyz woman who couldn’t offer me shelter at the time due to her Muslim brother.
So as I got into a conversation with some students in front of a music college I was told about the park and I made my way towards there, and after staying there for about an hour I came across another wonderful family who were selling ice cream and after telling them about my story they offered me food and shelter for the night and many more nights to come.
22-28 of July 2015
For the past six days I have been trying to get in touch with as many people as possible to see if any of them could be in any way able to help me to find a way that I could connect with my next destination – China.
So, every day after waking up, and most of the time without eating anything, I was walking out from my resting place towards the city centre and sometimes taking a trolleybus, but most of the time walking has been my engine force, and on my way visiting any centres and places which I felt I could be in anyway help to them or they might be able to help me, so in this way I could see and find a light at the end of the tunnel, as there’s a saying, and as you might know it’s not very easy.
Every day I was making arrangements with different language centres, institutions, cafes, and restaurants to talk to them and the people who were going there, and at the end of the night I was walking back to my resting place,and sometimes getting a lift.
I have to say here that a place that I got most of my connections with different people was a famous cafe in the capital which was known as “Sierra Coffee” www.sierra.kg, a place which was known to many English speakers across Bishkek with four different branches, and believe me that I have come across someone who has heard my story when he was in north of Scotland from a harbour master of a little north port of Scrabaster and when he saw me he got me a meal with drink and an icecream and made some contribution to my donation box towards my Chinese connection, he was a wonderful human being you can check him on https://aaronfreed.wordpress.com/, and he was just one of the many wonderful people who I met outside the cafe Sierra everyday for almost a week, and they all wanted to help me connect with China and carry on with my peace pilgrimage journey around the world, and here was just one place that I was trying to make a connection, so please link me to all those people around the world who are advocating world peace in any way so we can join our voices and communities together and hopefully very soon we will save the planet from destruction by us.
So here I would like to take this opportunity and thank you all for all your support and please get in touch in any way that you can.
Also it’s at the beginning of this week that my situation with the person who I was staying to use as my resting place did change due to the contribution to my donation box (money) that I was collecting for my China connection has been spent on the expansion of their business, by him and his wife, so they could have ice cream and sweetcorn as well, so I wasn’t happy about what they have done and they were trying to justify it by showing me the equipment, and saying we are going to give it back to you before you go, but finally as he came to the terms that he has made a wrong decision and he asked for forgiveness, I accepted it and from that moment I really didn’t feel comfortable to go back to their place, but he insisted I should stay until I move on towards China, so everyday at the city I have to mention my circumstances to the people who I was talking to and I was hoping to find an alternative shelter rather than going back to a place which I lost feeling to go back there.
Today I woke up at my resting place, a place which no longer I felt I belonged to after the saga of ice cream business and its expansion from my fund collection towards my Chinese connection, so I headed out and I managed to get to the city centre after a long trolleybus number 7 journey to the end of the line then after asking the driver I managed to get back to the Bishkek park a busy city centre in the capital, and as it’s after midday I tried to find a place to communicate with people, so I ended up in a cafe called “Americano”, and I managed to speak to a wonderful manager and he very kindly contributed some juice, salad, and some food towards my peace pilgrimage journey, then I headed out after thanking them for all their kindness to my usual spot for the past few days “cafe Sierra” and in there I met few more wonderful people and I have to say and thank a Kyrgyz man who has donated the biggest individual sum so far (1000com) after explaining to him about my circumstances, who was an employee of a company called Kokomeren www.kokomeren.kg, so after that I had a brief interview with a freelance journalist who writes for a children’s magazine. I knew her through her son, which after he has told her about me, she wanted to meet up with me and do the interview, so after that I waited in front of the cafe till about 7pm which I was invited by a couple of wonderful men from Tajikistan (Aimak nation in central Asia), who have taken me to a very busy restaurant called “Fayiza cafe” and I was told the people who were running it were “Uyghur nation from west of today’s China” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Uyghur_people), so after talking to the floor manager and some other people in there about my peace mission the manager told me that she’ll make an enquiry about my situation, and let me know as soon as possible if they could help me. Meanwhile I want to thank these two wonderful men for all their kindness, they got me some watermelon for the dessert as well, and as we’re coming back another wonderful Kyrgyz man was waiting for me to go back to their home for the night, so after saying goodbye to the Aimak men and hello to the Kyrgyz man we headed back again to the outskirts of the capital with a half an hour minibus journey, then some walk to a half complete house and this wonderful young boy was in communication with his mum and the family that I am going to visit them, and to them it’s very interesting for someone like me going from London on a peace pilgrimage, and speaking in English to them, and go and visit their house, so they were very kind and happy, and I managed to meet his mum, his niece and nephew, and next day his older brother who has provided us with the biggest watermelon I have seen so far, and compared to the half watermelon which earlier I was offered by wonderful Aimaks, it’s huge, so I decided next day leave my half watermelon for them, and just carry the pasta which was offered to me by the young boy who his mum interviewed me yesterday afternoon.
I have to say it was a great visit and I enjoyed it, and I said to them if I can I’d love to visit you again, meanwhile despite I wasn’t happy to go back to my old resting place, I asked the boy to call them and say to them that I can’t come back tonight, also the boy’s mum very kindly has cooked their traditional dish for me which I sent out a message on social media to say thanks for their hospitality.
30th,and 31st of July 2015
I had to put my head down for the past two nights in the late night and head out early morning next day, as I haven’t found a place to move to and also I had my collected funds in the hands of the family business now, so I couldn’t say goodbye to them as easily as I thought, then I had to be patient with them as well helping them as much as I could, so hopefully they could get my collected funds back, before I move on and say goodbye to them.
I visited some language centres like (www.londonschool.kg) and (www.activegroup.kg), also other institutions like international university of Kyrgyzstan, (http://www.123university.net/edu/5326/International-University-of-Kyrgyzstan) and for the past two days, I made some arrangements with them to help them out, I have to say here that most of these centres follow leading organisations like (http://www.educationuk.org/global/) in the UK
I also visited a village outside Bishkek with a work colleague of a man who I was staying with, as he offered me to exchange our rucksacks together.
My next ten days of August 2015
Here I would like to very briefly mention some of my activities for the past ten days of my peace pilgrimage journey in Kyrgyzstan.
I got connection with some more wonderful people including connecting with the wife of the work colleague of the man who I am staying with and visiting her family place and some of their neighbours back in a village outside Bishkek, which I have already been there very briefly once for the exchange of my rucksack, but this time they wanted to bring their swimming costumes as they were planning to go to the Issyk-Kul lake in a place which is called Cholpon- Ata and they very kindly invited me to go with them and visit the lake for the first time, which I welcomed the gesture.
So after few little connections here in Bishkek we headed out very late in the evening of July 31, and we arrived at the place about 2am, to join a group of people who I met most of them once in a house in the capital with the family who invited me to go with them to the lake, and even at that time I didn’t like to be with their company, but as I didn’t know we were going to meet the same people again, so it was too late for me to get back, the reason was that they were consuming a lot of drinking and smoking, so I didn’t like interaction with them, but whether I liked it or not I was there and it’s the matter of how I could handle and convert the negative environment into a positive one, as the man who I went with and his wife who was pregnant neither drink nor smoke as well, so I didn’t expect to go to such a place with them again with a different vibes then their kindness.
So first day was very cloudy and then heavy rain, which we couldn’t do much of swimming, let alone anything else, and I have to say last night I rested in the car, as there wasn’t any place in the traditional Kyrgyz home (a yurt), and today my breakfast, lunch and dinner was just a couple of boiled eggs and a piece of bread. I have to say I was in an environment where everyone was counting their com (the Kyrgyz currency), so I asked the man who invited me there to deal with the group and I will talk to him when we get back to Bishkek.
Next day weather wise was much better and I did some swimming for a bit and I walked around the area and enjoyed the countryside, and as for the nightfall last night I was asked to go to a disco with some of the people who were drunk and not well, and I said no! and I told them I wanted to rest so I got back to the yurt that the group was staying in and I was offered to rest on a same bed as the family a man and his wife, who I have come with, were resting before, as tonight they have gone to a neighbouring village to rest, as they didn’t like the yurt which was overpopulated.
Today in the evening we slowly prepared ourself to head back to the capital, which by the time we got back it’s about 4am and I rested in my old resting place till about midday, then I headed out to the city again to meet up with some more people and connect with more positive minded people. I was invited for a wedding between a Bishkek and a Tashkent family and I was taken from the city to the wedding and I stayed and enjoyed plenty of food and conversation with different members of the families, and I was even invited by the Tashkent family to go and visit them, which I thanked them and I said for another time as I am heading east rather than the west, so I was there till late evening and after that I was sent back to my usual resting place for the night, and I said goodnight to the universe and everyone else around me for all that kindness, as at the lake for two days I just had two eggs, few pieces of bread and some watermelon and vegetables, and now in a wedding which I totally forgot about it until I got back to the capital that I remembered the family who invited me which I met last month on my way to the city in the same restaurant which they were mourning for another member of their family.
Also this week I did some teaching in some of those language centres, institutions that I mentioned earlier, and got in touch with more people in some other public places like Bar Navigator (www.navigator-cafe.kg),which I was only using in emergency situation to update my circumstances, and some more wonderful people invited me back to their places after having a conversation with them in those public places.
I visited a few places with some wonderful people here in Bishkek like “National Museum of Kyrgyzstan time capsule of a museum, in which the Soviet Union remains alive and kicking”, and “State History museum of Kyrgyzstan was founded in 1926, located near the Government House on Ala-Too square. The first exhibition was presented March 5, 1927. Originally it was called as the Central Historical Museum of Kyrgyzstan. In 1933 it was renamed the museum of local history. In 1954 it was awarded the name of the State Historical Museum, the museum area is 8000 sq. metres. There are 90000 exhibits, including samples of the primitive, slave and feudal systems, as well as exhibits of nomadic people, telling about agriculture and crafts. Particular interests attract the collections of women’s jewelry XIX-XX centuries, as well as the exhibits relating to the great migration of people. Most of them are devoted to the October Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, “Kyrgyzstan with Russia” and the World War. Many of these collections are included in the World Cultural Heritage”.
As I was getting phone calls and emails and asking me to help out with some of the places which I got in touch throughout the time I have been here in Kyrgyzstan, so I had to be selective, and helpful towards those who understood my message, as I wasn’t here to stay and do work and I had to remind some of the people over here that if I was going to work I will do it in London, so really I have to explain to them, I don’t mind to help out as long as it can help me towards my peace pilgrimage journey towards today’s China.
So I got in touch with many more and I have to just be selective and choose the positive way and a sustainable way of helping people and the planet, also I have to mention I met so many wonderful people across the world which for one reason or another they were staying or passing Kyrgyzstan as a whole, or just Bishkek the capital, and they were all helpful and kind towards my peace pilgrimage journey.
One of those choices that I made was to go out to a camp near to a lake to educate a group of young boys and girls from across central Asia, and said goodbye to the family which I was staying for ten days, and at the camp I had a chance to write a brief daily update, but as the previous sections of my peace journey wasn’t ready I couldn’t put them on the blog, so I hope now you will find some time to read all about it, hopefully one day the appropriate photos will be attached on each section, as the capacity of the blog allows us.
Tomchi, Issyk-Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan
On the morning of today I woke up early and said goodbye to my resting place in outskirts of Bishkek, and after getting trolley bus 7 and then 11 I managed to get to BLC on time just before 8am.
After greeting to the staff and some of the young students and their parents, then a cup of coffee, at about 09:30 we headed out on a sprinter minibus to an old Russian style camp in Tamchi.
After about 4 hours including stopping on our way in few places like in Tokmak, to pick up the PE teacher and his future wife, also in a restaurant near Kemin, we got to the camp at about 1330, so we had our first lunch of the camp then we’re all allocated our room and settle down for the day then we went down to the beach to have a taste of what we would have for the next nine days to come.
In the afternoon we had our snacks in the restaurant then we gathered in a cafe to talk about programs of our days ahead then we had our dinner and after that we gathered in a Karaoke room and everyone had a chance to speak about themselves and I spoke in length, and tried to explain why I was on this peace mission, and its important message, after this the sound of disco let everyone to wonder about and I said to everyone goodnight, and headed back to my resting place.
Today I started my day at about 6am, so after waking up, and having a wonderful shower, then I prepared my English teaching materials as I got them from another local organiser, then we had our breakfast at 08:30 then we headed to our English classes to start at 9am till 10:30 then going through their daily routine with the students, after that we went to the cafe area to do some art with all of the students, after this we went to the beach to do some swimming activities till about 1pm before we come back for our lunch.
In the afternoon from 13:30 to 3pm was resting time for the students before I start my talking club from 3 to 4pm with all of the students, then we had our afternoon tea which was wonderful and then we headed to the beach for bucket filling and castles building with sand by the lake till about 1800 then we headed back to our resting place to prepare ourselves for our dinner at 1830 which we found out the time was 7pm, so it’s here that as we’re waiting I took a memorable photo from the kids and send out a message to say I’m with these wonderful children of central Asia to tell them all about my peace pilgrimage journey around the world and hopefully teaching them some good lessons in their life.
After having our dinner I went to the cafe to send out my message through social media, and then shortly after the students and the two members of the staff joined for a general knowledge quiz in Russian language which I was there till about 9pm then as they were preparing for their disco dancing at the cafe I said goodbye and goodnight to them, and walked back to my resting place, it’s here about 2130 which I got a phone call from the manager of the BLC to say she can’t get in touch with a twin girls or their cousin which their parents are worried about them, so I told her they’re okay as I left them for their disco dance, but I managed to find out from the twins cousin that the twins were okay and even I saw one of them on the phone talking to their parents, so I came back to my room to rest for the night, and I said goodnight to the universe and everyone else around me.
Today I woke up at about 6am again and after having a shower and breakfast the young students wanted to go for a boat trip outside the camp, but due to the rough lake and bad weather the trip was cancelled, so they carried on with their flag making and painting activities and in the afternoon after their rest in their rooms they came to the office for their talking club activities which we carried out some more daily routine activities with some of the students, then at 4pm we had our snacks, then going back to the cafe for some more gaming activities such as twister and arm wrestling and general knowledge activities till about dinner time, then after dinner students were going to do some fashion shows activities, which I didn’t attend, and coming back to my resting room as I wasn’t feeling well. It’s today just after midnight that I was told two more boys are going to join me in the room as the director was short in some funds and he has to put them with me to save some money and as there’s enough space in the room I didn’t object and welcomed the boys as they came in with their parents, then after settling down we said goodnight to one another.
As for the past few days I wanted to catch up with some more writing but I didn’t feel very well so I hope I’ll find an opportunity to catch up with some of my writing very soon.
Today I woke up at about 7am and I felt much better than the last two days and I hope the universe will connect me with more wonderful activities, so after waking up and introducing myself to two boys (brothers) from Kuwait and getting their names they went to do some morning exercise with the PE teacher and then we all went to our breakfast, then after having our food we had our English class and in there I introduced the brothers to the group then we did some English exercise before we start our first lesson which we didn’t finish due to time and left the remaining for next class.
After the English class we all went to the beach and some did swim and the group did a rope pulling activities, then we played some volleyball before we come back for our lunch.
After having our lunch the students were relaxed in their resting place till about 3pm then we had our talking club till 4pm and I asked the remaining students and a new one to talk about their daily routines, which still we couldn’t finish all of them as some couldn’t speak in English at all, so we have to ask those who could to translate for us.
At 4pm we had our snacks then the students went to the beach to do a volleyball and balloons competition, and as they’re doing that I corrected their English test which they did at the start of the camp and I found out that most were beginners or elementary level, so I have to help them to the next level.
At about 7pm we had our dinner then the students went to have their debates in Russian and I didn’t attend the gathering as it’s all Russian, I found out the topic was on smacking or beating children by their parents, which I was told the debate was on favour of doing it, which I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t there to put my argument on the table on favour of not doing it, hope I can help while I am with them on favour of not doing smacking, then I said to them all goodnight.
Today after waking up and having a shower I had my breakfast then the students went for a boat trip at about 09:30 after gathering everyone then I said goodbye to them and later on I found out I could have gone with them after speaking to the English centre’s manager, but it’s too late for me to join them so I stayed indoors and did some updates and phone calls, until about 1pm which then by now everyone was back and we went for our lunch, then after rest we headed out to the beach again and we all swam and it was great, but just I felt the water in the lake was a bit dirty so I came back and after having a shower we had our afternoon snacks then our English talking club till 1830, in there we had a circle and the remaining students talked about their daily routine and after closing and singing a Russian song we thanked one another and went to our dinner, then at 8pm they had their balloon and telling their name behind a curtain and another blowing money games, so I didn’t participate as it’s too noisy and the restaurant wasn’t appropriate for me to be there, as I saw a few drunk people, so headed back to my resting place and said goodnight to everyone.
Today I woke up at about 7am and after a quick update I headed to the restaurant for my breakfast and then we had English class till about 10:30 am then the students headed to the beach till about midday, then they were back for their lunch so after some waiting we finally got our lunch and we headed back to our resting place for another resting time till 3pm before we head out for the beach to do some different activities. Here students did some diving in relay style to get the bottles full of sand out and a team who got it out first managed to overcome the obstacles and relaxed afterwards, then some of them joined me for some volleyball play till about 5pm then we came back for our snack time. Then at 5:30pm we had our talking club which I introduced talking stick and the feather or garlic clove from rainbow family to the circle which most of the students liked it and we finished the circle by singing a song and then we headed for our dinner, then after our dinner the students prepared themselves for a challenge between the two groups, then I said goodbye to them and rested in my room.
Today I woke up at 7am and after a shower and shave I headed to the restaurant for my breakfast then another English lesson with the students, then they went to the beach for swimming and they came back for lunch after midday which I joined them at 1pm then after rest they did some more swimming and volleyball at the beach till 5pm snacks time which we had pancakes, which was nice for a change, then they joined me for another talking club which we did in a rainbow style circle and sang a song all together. Then at about 7pm we had our dinner and later after 8pm we watched the students fashion show before we say goodnight to one another and some joined the disco and dancing time at the cafe till later in the night.
Today I woke up at about 8am and after breakfast we had our English lesson then the students did a game before they go to the beach, and they came back after midday for their lunch, which the school manager has joined us and then we rested till 3pm before we go to the beach again and the kids did few various games as I was watching them then we played some volleyball before we all come back for our snacks at 5pm, then we had another rainbow circle style English talking club and the kids enjoyed it.
After having our dinner at 7pm we rested a bit before we ask the two group to do their dancing and cinderella drama in Russian, then few other different varieties of games till close to 10pm. Then I said goodnight to everyone and headed back to my resting place and after thanking everyone and the universe, I put my head down for the night.
Today I woke up just before 7am and after a shower, I had my breakfast and I started my final English lesson then I headed back to my resting place.
In the afternoon after lunch I went back to the beach and I did my final swim in the famous lake of Issyk-Kul in Tamchi, then back to the camp for a shower and my afternoon snack, then near to the cafe I had my final talking club with my wonderful boys and girls from across the central Asia, and we finished our rainbow style circle with a minute silence to remember all those who lost their lives across the world because of different conflicts, and I reminded them about 21st of September as a day of peace and I’m promoting a week of peace, from 21st to 28th of September, then after thanking them all and telling them to get in touch with me, then they gathered some wood to make a fire after dinner, then about 7pm we headed to our final dinner, and after staying in the cafe for a bit, I said goodbye to them as they’re preparing for their Halloween games
Then back in my resting place after preparing for tomorrow’s departure, and I said goodnight to the universe and I put my head down for the final night in the camp.
Today I woke up about 7am and I walked to the beach to find out how clean the water was and it’s indeed very clean at this time of the day, and after having a fresh air went back to the camp and after having our breakfast we’re back to our resting place to pack our stuff and hand over our dirty sheets back to the office, then everyone was free to do what they liked to do, and then after our lunch we headed back to Bishkek. I have noticed that on this last day of our camp about three to five students had a fever, diarrhea and stomach pain with vomiting, which made the manager a bit nervous about their parents reaction, but luckily as we’re coming back and students one after another had their arrangements with their parents and rejoining them and they’re all happy to leave and say goodbye to us all.
This including our PE teacher and the local English teacher or the organiser as well in a town called Tokmok, not far from Bishkek, and we all said goodbye to them, and they very kindly wished me luck on my peace pilgrimage journey. Then back to the main office in Bishkek where the remaining students were reunited all with their families and relatives.
It’s here that the manager of the centre very kindly invited me back to their place to stay for the night, and I thanked her and accepted the offer, and as I arranged to see another wonderful family in a park called Ata-Turk I managed to see them and they very kindly brought me some water, food, and a hat, and after some chat and conversation about my departure to China, then walking back towards my resting place, I said goodbye to them and walked back to my offered place to stay for the night, and after coming back and saying thanks and goodnight to the host, I put my head down for the night.
Today after waking up and saying good morning to the host family they very kindly offered me some breakfast and then I went to the BLC (British Language Centre) a place which belongs to the host that I was staying last night, and also they offered me to help out with the summer camp for ten days, which is a walking distance from their living place.
At the school as they have Internet, I managed to do a quick update, and I was offered to help out with a talking club lesson for about an hour in the afternoon which I welcomed it, then I made an arrangement to go and see a family outside Bishkek in a place which is called Ak-Zhol about 3pm.
So after getting two mini buses or as here is called ‘marshrutka’, finally after about one hour we arrived at the entrance to the village, where on the main road there’s a petrol station, and in there the mum of our host very kindly was waiting for us, and after greetings with her all four of us started walking towards their house which was right at the end of the village, then after saying hello to our host and her little boy we sat down and as we’re chatting we were welcomed by bringing tea and other snacks, before the main dish comes a little later.
I met this wonderful woman at a woman and her little boy’s home back in Bishkek almost a month ago and she invited me to come to her place with her work colleague, and she kindly did arrange and came with me to visit her as she hasn’t seen the place herself as well.
So after chatting and eating as the time was getting closer to the departure time for them at about 7pm, I asked the host if I could stay there till next day morning and they’re quite happy to shelter me for the night, as it’s raining like cats and dogs, also I had to travel another hour or two to just put my head down somewhere else, which to me wasn’t making any sense, as for them they’re going back home and they had to do some other arrangements, which I didn’t have to do any of those, so I said goodbye to her and her little boy as they’re not staying and the mum of the host walked them back to where she took us earlier.
Then I talked to the host little boy, watched some TV as we couldn’t communicate with the host and when the mum of the host came back she brought a neighbour with her as she might be able to communicate with me in English, but dare I say, my Russian was better than her English, so after some more talking and watching TV with their neighbour and again offering of some more tea and food which I thanked them for, then their neighbour said goodbye and we said goodnight to one another and we put our heads down for the night about 2130.
At about 6am almost everyone was awake and the sun was out and it’s a totally different bright new day than yesterday, so after saying good morning to the grandmother and the mum (the host), and the little boy, I was offered some food warmed up from last night, some salad and tea, so I had some salad and some tea, then I thanked them for everything and I said goodbye to them just after 7am and the grandmother very kindly again walked back with me to the main road and I thanked her again and we said goodbye to one another.
After some walk I put my Bishkek sign out and a wonderful man kindly stopped and gave me a lift to the city centre, then after saying goodbye to him I walked back to the BLC and in there I got in touch with the manager and I was offered to go back to their place to have some pancakes, then I arranged with the wonderful woman who took me to the village yesterday to go to her place to have a shower before I wash my clothes which it’s offered to me by the BLC manager, as they didn’t have shower facilities.
So after having a shower and thanking them I said goodbye and headed to the Ataturk park not far from their home to meet my main host, who has kindly offered me shelter since few days after my arrival in Bishkek over a month ago, who I met them in this same park one late evening as they’re going home, and after finishing their ice cream business, so after being away for almost two weeks from their place, I said hello to them all and I was there till about 6pm, and as I told them I was helping out BLC for the past two weeks, so I had the feeling that the main head of the house didn’t like the idea and a message came to me indirectly that I should move out as his grandfather is ill and he is coming to live with them from outside Bishkek, so as I got the message directly from Aimaks (the two men from Tajikistan who I meet here in Bishkek) as they came to see me after I was away for almost two weeks here in the Ataturk park, so my main host passed the message to them and I told the Aimaks it’s not a surprise as I had the feeling for the last few hours I have been staying with them.
Then as I said goodbye to Aimaks and went back with the main host to get my rucksack and move out next day. On our way to their home, they stopped in the city centre to finish some ice cream business as someone was selling for them and then on our way home they got some food and petrol.
At my resting place as I felt that they don’t want me to be there anymore I put my head down for the night without eating anything.
Today, after waking up I said goodbye to the family and thanked them for offering me a shelter for this period of my stay here in Bishkek, then as I was walking to the city a kind man who helps with their ice cream business kindly brought me back to the city and after getting in touch with the Chinese agency for the visa and in touch with the BLC I managed to put up my tent at the yard of the BLC manager’s place, then ate some food, and I put my head down in my tent for the night.
I have to say here that I got in touch with some wonderful people as I was walking and talking on my way to my new resting place at the yard of a house in Bishkek, and as it’s said, as one door closes many others will open up to you, just you have to tune into them.
Today I woke up about 7am and after doing some updates for the past few days I ate some bread and butter and walked to the BLC and in there I was hoping to do some talking club classes, but I found out it’s just on Saturdays so I arranged to do some more for coming Saturday as I did one last Saturday, then I did some Internet updates and watching some educational videos and interacted with some more more people at the centre then I came back to my resting place at about 6pm and after eating some food I put my head down for the night.
Today I woke up quite early at about 5am and as for the weather it’s raining heavily and I have to come out of my tent and start walking to the Chinese embassy about few kilometres from where I was living. Then after getting there at about 7am I found out that about 70 people have put their name down to get into the embassy, so I did so and waited and stand outside as it’s still raining till about 9am then as the guards came and then some other people went in to the embassy with the knowledge of the guards and at about 0915 the woman from the agency that I applied for the visa she called me through the guards and the guards knew me from before as this was my second time to go there. Then I got the documents from her and I went to a counsellor and he first asked me about the route that I take and then I went back to another counsellor and this time he asked me for the details of my bank statement, my employer or sponsor’s letter to say they support my peace pilgrimage journey, so now both of the counsellors were making their voice the same and asking for the same thing and I couldn’t make an appointment with the ambassador as for them they had a list to tick before you go to the next step. So I had to move on and find another alternative to move forwards with my peace journey.
So I said goodbye to them and moved out and walked back to my resting place in the yard of a house in Bishkek in my peace tent number 4, then I had some food finally after not having much for a day or so, and then I put my head down for the night, thinking – what to do next!?
Today I woke up at about 8am and after having some food I went to the BLC and tried to catch up with some updates and think what to do next!? again.
In the afternoon I came back to my resting place and I managed to eat some food then made an arrangement to see Aimaks in the BLC office for them to meet up with the manager and chat about the centre’s future run, then I started to reorganise my application to apply for my Chinese connectivity, and my routes over there, after finishing with all that I got back to my resting place in my tent and put my head down for another night here in Bishkek.
Today I woke up about 7am and after having a cup of tea and some cake I started to walk towards the representative of the People’s Republic of China again for the third time, but before I get there, I got a message from the agency who was going to get my connection to China to say they don’t have my invitation letter, and I have to go to the embassy on Monday, but as I was there already I waited outside to see what to do next. In front of the embassy was very crowded and as it’s raining as well I saw one of the consular who knew me very well, and I asked him that I have got the letter you asked and now, I have to just get my invitation letter from the agency, so could you ask her to call me, so I can go in and finish the procedure, but he very kindly took me inside, and as I couldn’t find the agency, and the irony was now both of the counsellors were happy and they’re asking for the invitation letter and there was no sign of the agent?, and they asked me to wait and after the agent arrived I was told she hasn’t got my invitation letter, and I tried my best to find out what’s going on but I couldn’t, so at the end of the embassy time the guards asked us to leave the premises and myself and two others from France and Belgium have to move out, then after walking with them to the main road, then I said goodbye to them and I walked back to the BLC and after staying there for some time I came back with the family, then I stayed with them to eat some food and do a little update, then say goodnight to them all and the universe around me in my resting place (my tent in the yard of the house).
I woke up at about 7am and after eating some bread and butter with a cup of tea, then I tried to sort out some electricity problem which earlier another man tried to sort out, but I needed some testing equipment which he didn’t have, so I left it for later to deal with it, and I warmed up some soup from last night before I head out to the BLC for a talking club arrangement, which I did last Saturday with two children, but this week I told some of the people who I knew as well, so eight people turned up and it’s not a bad one overall and I talked a bit about why I was there and then everyone else had a chance to speak and practice their English.
Then in the afternoon we went out with Aimak men and as we’re walking at the yard of the school we came across a security man and they asked him about if I can use an empty booth which no one was using it and he was quite happy to help after they explained to him who I was and what I was doing.
Then after they very kindly got some food and drink for me we said goodbye to one another and I came back to the office and after some Internet update and managing to speak to a friend from London and knowing that it’s Notting Hill carnival time there and all those memories was coming back to me, and after finding out everyone was okay I said goodbye to him, then some more Internet update before I headed back to my resting place and put my head down for another night.
Today I woke up at about 7am and after having something to eat and drink then I managed to clear and clean my camp area at the yard of the language centre manager, as everything was very smelly around the tent and under the tent a lot of water was accumulated, and as I knew I had a new place to put my head down for the night, then I decided to pack everything and be ready.
Then in the afternoon I did some washing and then went to the English centre for some updates till late evening then I came back to the manager’s place to eat some food and have some conversation with their kids about their reading books, then got some sleeping material and went back to my new sleeping place.
I put my head down, but I was interrupted first by some taxi drivers thinking that I was the security guard and then more interruptions from others.
Last night I woke up on many occasions as my place that I was resting, was very close to the main road and very noisy and as it’s a “security box”, so many people were thinking of me as the guard, and knocking the door for asking questions, then I have to direct them to the main security man, and then after about 7am the wife of the security man with a boy came and she was very unhappy as she found me inside the box, and it took me about half an hour to make her calm down and say to her everything is okay and your husband knows about my situation and I don’t come here with no knowledge of him, so finally after putting her on a phone to speak to someone who could speak in Russian and showing my message and speaking to her husband everything changed 180 degrees, and even later on they offered me some breakfast as well.
Then I went back to the BLC manager’s place to eat something as I was offered, then back to the office and helped out with a bit doing some of their updates.
In the afternoon I sat quite close to a centre which is called English Zone and as it’s close, I managed to get some connection and as I have heard the reason for today’s holiday and the place was closed and the area was quiet was because of the Independence Day back in 1991 from Russia, then later in the afternoon I made my way towards the famous “Ala-Too Square” and I stayed around till about 0115 next day.
Today I was in the square till early hours of the morning and then on my way back I got some food and drink then walked back to my resting place to put my head down at 3am for the remainder of the night, and I rested till 7am, then headed back to the manager’s place to eat some food as I was offered when I was in the office, then I did this little update for the past two days.
In the afternoon I met up with someone kind to go and introduce me to a TOEFL centre and then met up with few more wonderful people who very kindly invited me to the best Korean restaurant in Bishkek, then I walked back towards my resting place with a wonderful woman.
Then as I put my head down it’s about 4am that I was woken up by the security man and his wife telling me that the main manager isn’t happy for me to be here so I have to move out as soon as I can and she took the key for the door and it’s not very long after this notice that I was waking up again by the security man and I was asked if I could give some money to him to buy some alcohol and I said no, we’ll talk tomorrow, then I put my head down again, and it’s not very long before his wife coming back to me and asking me to move out, and I said alright.
I managed to take the sleeping stuff back to the BLC and then I headed to the Chinese embassy again for the fourth time and after about an hour of walking I got there and as I got there I didn’t wait outside for long before I saw the counsellor, who knew me, and he very kindly called me in and I didn’t have to wait outside for hours as I did on one occasion, and even he helped me very kindly to get in last time as well, then inside I spoke to the agency for my invitation and after sorting out a few things I got in touch with the same counsellor, and he told me at my interview after asking many questions that if I have a hotel reservation he’ll help me to get my Chinese visa, so I asked my agency and she told me just be patient and we will see if we can help, so she asked me to go back on Friday to see what will happen.
Then I said goodbye and headed back towards the city. On my way I stopped by a supermarket and I spoke to few people and one of them, as my message was resonating with him, very kindly offered me some drink and a chocolate bar.
Then I headed further towards the city and I got in touch with a kind man who we arranged from yesterday to meet in Ataturk park to go and see a place for me to stay while I am here in Bishkek, and as I met him in the afternoon he took me to a hostel, which was funded by the government for people with no place and those who have alcohol and drug issues, and as one of the managers asked me to do a blood test before I joined the centre, I told them the shelter is going to be temporary and I just come back at night to sleep and I really don’t live here for me to do the test, and he said I can stay there temporarily just for tonight, and I said thank you so much to them and I headed out to meet up with someone else who promised to help me and she very kindly got in touch with a kind man who introduced me to the TOEFL centre, and he offered me a bed in one of his rooms in another area in the outskirts of Bishkek (south of the capital), which I thanked him and I accepted it as my last shelter place has just came to an end last night.
Last night I tried my best to sleep well after I haven’t had much sleep for the past few days in the security box, but last night technologies of Internet and hour’s difference was causing us not to get a good sleep again as the wonderful man who has invited me back to his place had phone calls from US and the time here was 0230 to 3am, so I hoped that I can get some quiet night within next few days.
So I woke up at about 7am and after having something to eat I read a book which I was using it in an English talking club, then I asked the nephew of the man who I was staying with to do a test to find out what level he was, as he’s arrived about a week ago from Sri Lanka and wanted to do a test in a week’s time for his entry to a medical course, so we wanted to find out his level, then we had lunch which he prepared very kindly, and I have to say it’s very spicy for me, but I had it without the spice bit.
Then I started to read a book about TOEFL to prepare a topic for this coming Saturday in the new Toefl centre.
Later in the evening with the help of my wonderful new peace brother, I got in touch with the BLC and got my clothes and accessories from the manager’s place and I made them to know one another for future reference, then we headed back to my new resting place. On our way the police did stop my peace brother and he told me that he was in the wrong and police were right, and he had to pay about £2 bribe to let him go, then he said to me surprisingly they never stop someone if you are not doing something wrong.
Then back at home we had something to eat and then I took a shower and shaved before I said goodnight to the universe and everyone else around me on my second night’s rest in a new and more comfortable place than before, and I was hoping we would not get disturbed by new social media communication lines.
I woke up at about 8am and I have to quickly prepare myself to go to the Chinese embassy for fifth and final time to see if they can let me visit China.
So after having something to eat I was dropped off close to the embassy at about 9am and I got to the embassy about 0930 and after waiting for less than an hour, luckily the counsellor came out to speak to someone and as he knew me he very kindly let me in and then after getting all my paper stuff to him and showing him my good intentions of my visit to China, he very kindly stamped the papers and I was told by the agency I should get my connection to China by the coming Friday 11th of September, so after thanking everyone I left the embassy and headed back towards the city, where I stopped by the same supermarket on my way to the BLC for some rest, and I tried to communicate with some more people while I was reading my book “Night train to Turkistan – modern adventures along China’s ancient Silk Road”, by Stuart Stevens, which as I was waiting to connect with some people I read a couple of chapters, but I never managed to speak to anyone.
In the afternoon I walked back towards the city to meet up with someone very kind to eat some food and drink, then ended up staying for the dinner which was a famous traditional Kyrgyz food called “Manty” (it’s almost as famous as fish and chips back in England), then resting overnight, and as I had my English talking club next day close by their place I welcomed their hospitality, so I had a wonderful time and I managed to get some sleep later in the night.
I was woken up at about 7am by the knocking of the door from a neighbour who has put their food into the fridge of my host, then after having some food, I managed to do some updates, then I prepared to head out for my afternoon English talking club at Toefl centre.
I got to the centre at about 1pm and I spent about an hour to prepare some material for elementary, intermediate, and upper intermediate classes, then at 2pm first class started and we did icebreaker activities then spelling check, after this the next group came and we did the icebreaker activities again, then I had chosen a subject about “saving mother earth”, and a discussion on the topic about how we could save mother nature, which went very well, and at the end I put forward my view on the subject.
Then after thanking the centre for the opportunity they have given me to do the talk, they very kindly helped me with some funds towards my peace pilgrimage journey, then I said goodbye to them, and on my way out I met some students and one of them walked with me to Ataturk park close to the centre, then I went back to a place near to the centre to rest overnight there as I had another talking club next day and this time at the BLC.
I woke up at about 8am and after some exercise and having some food I headed out towards the BLC, and on my way I met a wonderful man who tried to find a shelter for me a few days ago and I asked him if he wanted to be part of the talking club and he was happy to walk with me there, then we had a wonderful talking club. Less people turned up this time, but it was effective to those who managed to turn up, and at the end I asked my guest to do a placement test which he did and he was at upper intermediate level.
Then in the late afternoon I went back to the BLC manager’s place to have some food and help them with a move from the current place to a new flat not far from there, then I got in touch with my new host to connect with me and he very kindly helped BLC manager with their move as he had a car, then we said goodbye to them and we came back to my new resting place to south of Bishkek. Here after having some carry-out food, and helping the host with some “to whom it may concern” letters, I said goodnight to everyone, and the universe.
I woke up at about 8am and went out with my host to the international Ataturk Alatoo university, and there I had about an hour of talk about my peace mission, then as my host felt very ill we had to bring him back to his place to rest for the day, and I tried to do some updates.
In the afternoon after eating something and reading my book for a bit I went out with the host to a hospital and after checking two hospitals and driving around Bishkek for about an hour finally we found a hospital where they could see him for possible food poisoning, and after waiting there for about two hours we managed to make our way back to our resting place, and on our way we got some medicine and food for him as he was very weak by now, also at the hospital the doctor has prescribed him some liquid medicine for his high sugar level in his blood, which had caused a very high pain in his head, and as he came out he’s already feeling much better, after they have given him some medicine, then we got home, and had some food then we rested for the night.
08th, 9th, and 10th of September 2015
I was waking up everyday about 8am and after having some food and drink I was trying my best to put everything together to finish up with all my updates about my central Asia peace pilgrimage journey for the blog, as I had a positive feeling that on this coming Friday 11th of September, I had to hit the road again after some time of hold up here in Bishkek, and this time hopefully following the footsteps of Peter Fleming “News from Tartary” and Ella Maillart’s “Forbidden Journey” both were together in 1936 journey through China then in 1986 by three more people in a book called “Night train to Turkistan” by Stuart Stevens to follow almost 5000 miles of ancient Silk Road, and now in 21st century by a single man for a totally different purpose in an opposite direction from Kashgar heading east, so I hope the universe and all the kind people of this part of the planet will help me to overcome my further peace pilgrimage journey towards east, while advocating more harmonious way of living together in the world.
In the afternoons as I was carrying on with my writing, I was also helping to cook some food for my new host family that I was living with, also doing some cleaning and sorting out the kitchen area as well, and in the evening we all had a great time talking about different issues before going to sleep.
My thoughts for the last couple of months
There has been so many different issues around the world, I feel I have to express my thoughts on some of the issues, and here I would like to mention just two of them as they have been on my mind since last month more than any other issues.
First, the rising number of people who would like to leave the place which many of us call our birthplace or home, in a search for a new home and a better life preferable than theirs in their so called homeland.
The recent picture of the baby (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/little-alan-kurdi-washed-ashore-suddenly-refocuses-syrian-tragedy-nahlah-ayed-1.3213893) who was washed up at the shore of the Mediterranean sea was a distressing image for any family or any human being to see across the world, and it sent out an upsetting message to the people around the planet about how much divided we are and humanity, especially those in the powerhouse of Europe, so called European parliament and politicians are powerless to do anything about the increasing number of migrants since the Middle East and North African conflicts climaxed this year, we have seen the news all over mainland Europe and it shows how much of a so called western democracy is really dysfunctional and powerless to do anything about it since it has begun many years ago, and I feel there’s a positive ugency around for a real democracy and real power back to the local communities than any other places.
The second which was more local to London and it’s the news of a man who is called Jeremy Corbyn (http://www.jeremycorbyn.org.uk/), that I am sure by now he’s known across the WISE Islands, which myself didn’t know anything about him till mid August through a teacher from England who is living here in Bishkek and asked me about him, and I told him I haven’t followed the news properly since May, then I heard about him through an Occupy rise up thread.
So imagine if a single man’s idea of change, the real change, and not Obama’s change or any other politician, otherwise Jeremy would be the same as any other politician and what’s a difference between him and any others who are calling for change, and as you might know he’s not even calling for a system change, but despite all of this it made such a headline, just imagine if we all thinking in the right direction for real change, a fundamental system change as many of us came together four years ago and we asked for those fundamental changes to take place, but it never took place and it’s dismissed by the big corporations supported by the government and its powerful forces, and now I’m wondering how a single man who’s asking for some of those fundamental changes and we all love to see him in power can make such a difference, so that shows how much desperate and tired we all are to see good things happen to humanity and the planet.
I hope that humanity comes to the point of understanding one another better and that real power will shift back to the real communities around the world and we interlink to each other through them.
With much love, peace, joy, and hope to see that day soon, until next time
your humbled Earthian brother from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan