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Anouk Gohier from France: Orto-Sai bazaar is my favorite place in Bishkek

Anouk Gohier is a student of the Paris Institute of Political Studies Sciences Po. She came to Kyrgyzstan from France at the end of August 2019 at the American University of Central Asia in the third year of her studies for bachelor’s degree. She studied politics and political science. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anouk had to leave the republic and return to her homeland.

She told 24.kg news agency why she fell in love with this country.

— I wanted to discover a country that I did not know at all, and, to be honest, I did not know much about Kyrgyzstan or Central Asia in general before coming here. I was intrigued and fascinated by the landscapes and the culture as soon as I started to become interested in Central Asia.

— What surprised you in Bishkek and in Kyrgyzstan?

— I was fascinated by the hospitality of the people I met in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia in general. It is a value that is largely put forward by tourist agencies, and I can confirm that it is not legendary.

People in Kyrgyzstan are always willing to help when they see that you are lost or need any kind of help.

Anouk Gohier

I also really appreciated that the locals are smiling a lot more in all kinds of situations than they do in Europe, and I loved that!

The only frustration I had is that, because I did not speak Russian so well and did not speak Kyrgyz at all, it was hard sometimes to engage in conversations with people throughout Kyrgyzstan. However, we always found other ways to communicate, through looks, smiles, and gestures, and this was awesome!

Because this year I was studying at the American University of Central Asia, it was quite easy for me to make good friends, as the language barrier was not really a problem! Students at AUCA were very friendly to me and the other exchange students, and I am very glad to have friends from all Central Asian countries now, good friends that I know I want to come back to see in the future!

— Did you like Bishkek? What is your favorite place in the city?

— I absolutely liked Bishkek. I think that a foreigner, if they do not spend a lot of time in the city, cannot really appreciate it. However, having lived almost 9 months in the city I got comfortable in Bishkek, and even enjoyed using the marshrutkas to move around!

I think I have two favorite places in the city: Orto-Sai bazaar and Atatürk park.

Anouk Gohier

The bazaar is located close to the place where I lived and I enjoyed going there to buy what I needed. It is a small, not too intimidating bazaar like Osh bazaar, yet you can find everything you need.

It is a very colorful place and it would be difficult for me to find a similar place in France!

Atatürk park is a very large and quiet park and I spent a lot of sunny afternoons there with my friends, readings and playing cards. I cannot forget it!

— What would you like to change in Bishkek?

— I think it would be good, if it was safer to bike in Bishkek. Right now, the roads are dangerous: cars and marshrutkas are not careful with people riding their bicycles and there is no infrastructure to protect them. Thinking about the future, with climate change, pandemics, and so on, bicycles are the ideal way to move around in a city and the municipality should favor them in Bishkek.

— Have you visited some other places in Kyrgyzstan besides the capital?

— I have visited Osh for a weekend with some friends, it was really interesting! I also have done a lot of hiking outside the capital: Ala-Archa, around Issyk-Kul, Son-Kul, and in many other places in Chui and Naryn regions.

Kyrgyzstan has some of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen in my life, with its mountains and steppes.

Everywhere I went hiking, I was amazed by the natural beauty around me.

I will always remember the Milky Way I saw at Son-Kul. I don’t think I can see one as beautiful anywhere else in the world.

Anouk Gohier

— What national dishes did you like?

— What I preferred from the national cuisine was plov. I ate a lot of it and every time it tasted different, but always delicious! I also tried kymyz and liked it a lot.