Where the hell is Kyrgyzstan?
The map on the left shows Kyrgyzstan in relation to some of it's neighbors in Central Asia. The map at right, under the Kyrgyz flag details the interior of the country. Jeanne arrived in the capital of Bishkek, north central, but stayed in Kant (not shown but immediately east of Bishkek) for about 6 weeks.

Google map allows you to zoom right in on the terrain, the cities, and the few roads... if you're interested. Bishkek and Kant are in a valley between two mountain ranges. Jeanne is now in Naryn (southeast), which is near the TOP of a mountain range and only about 60 miles from the Chinese border. Although it's about the same latitude as Chicago, the temperature can get down to minus 40°F in the winter because of the altitude. Electrical power is only on for about 2 hours per day in the winter. She's lucky that she's staying with a family who has indoor toilets!

The new currency (2002) is to the right. Jeanne took the 5 photos to the left. You might recognize the lower left photo as a neighborhood yurt-raising. If not, I've included an internet photo of the finished yurt, complete with family just to the right of it.

Finally we get to the sports photos. To the right you can see players from two of the teams competing in the Presidential Cup Kok-boru championship in Bishkek in 2008. This is the national sport of Kyrgyzstan. The orange team ( The Crazy Goats) has the headless goat carcass and is trying to race downfield on horseback to toss it into the opposing goal. The blue team (The Wild Dogs) meanwhile, is trying to steal the goat carcass so they can score a goal.

In the national championship they are only allowed to use a genuine Spalding goat carcass. The 2009 season will see the introduction of the instant replay review rule to the game and 4 new league franchises.

National Flag
Typical Yurt
Sports... Kok-boru
Yurt Raising
If you're going to be squeamish, DON'T click on the photos at right. That's the national dish of Kyrgyzstan, called Besbarmak (Besh barmak) which means "five fingers". No, you're not eating fingers but you're eating WITH your fingers.
It all starts with a horse, sheep, or cow (in Jeanne's experience). Cut off the head to make soup, then serve with noodles. Various honored guests are doled specific portions. Old men get the brains, younger men get eyeballs, and ladies get the pallet. The etiquette is quite specific, but I bet Julia Childs never heard of this one! Fortunately, ever since Jeanne was a little girl I've taught her never to trust anyone who eats eyeballs.
Naryn - This is where Jeanne is staying
To the left is an overview of Naryn. You can see that it's in a river valley between two mountain rainges, so it's very long and narrow. It's at a juntion of two "major" roads. The junction and river crossing is at right.

The lower left photo is the central market. You can actually see some cars. Jeanne's neighborhood is at right, about 10 minutes walk to the east of the central market. She says that she is a couple of blocks from the river, but I haven't been able to pinpoint her location yet.