Jan Polivka has been living in Amsterdam for ten years and works as a lifeguard in one of the capital’s pools. He is a native of the Czech Republic.
Jan devotes his leisure time to traveling. He loves mountains, so decided to come to Kyrgyzstan.
«I once came across Central Asian immigrants, they were from Kazakhstan, but I was so carried away by their stories about the region that I decided to go and see if Central Asia really was so beautiful and exotic,» Jan told.
Jan Polivka first visited our neighbors — Kzyl-Orda and Aktyubinsk in Kazakhstan. Then he decided to treat himself to the natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan.
«Your country is amazing. Until now, I have never visited such places. Indeed, there are pristine nature and real mountains still untouched by civilization,» the guest from Amsterdam told with a smile.
— Have you been to Bishkek? What surprised you the most?
— Of course, I have. But in fairness I note that I visited the capital last. I am not an urbanist, I like nature, silence. City noise and fuss make me tired, I want to go to my favorite mountains. Therefore, I did not live in Bishkek for long. But I was impressed by Osh bazaar. This is my favorite place in your city now. This is really exotic for a European. And the food products are organic and very tasty.
Friendly sellers offer to try everything. As long as you choose the right product, you are already full.Jan Polivka
I speak Russian a little as I am from the Czech Republic. During my school years, when my country was a part of the socialist camp, I learned the language of Pushkin, so I could communicate with the sellers and taxi drivers. Salespeople understood me easily. I just pointed to the right product and got it. I was also pleasantly surprised by the prices. They are very low.
— Did you bargain?
— No, I did not. My Russian would not be enough to persuade a seller to bring down the cost and I do not speak Kyrgyz.
— What in Bishkek reminded you of your hometown?
— As I have already said, I was born, grew up and spent a conscious part of my life in the Czech Republic. And there are many monuments of Soviet architecture. I’m talking about the bas-reliefs, buildings constructed in the 1960-1970s of the last century.
Skyscrapers dominate in other cities which I have visited, and your houses still remember the Soviet party leaders. It is very interesting.Jan Polivka
-Have you seen monument to Lenin?
— Of course, I have. But it did not impress me, although Bishkek is probably the only city in the post-Soviet space where the monument to the leader of the proletariat has been preserved.
— What did you miss here, in Kyrgyzstan?
— You have beautiful places, but there is no history, like in Europe, for example. I missed exactly these old cobbled streets, gingerbread houses. But the mountains became a consolation for me. I have managed to visit Ala-Archa, Issyk-Kul lake.
-That is why you want to come back?
— Exactly. I will return not to Bishkek, but to Kyrgyzstan, to your amazing mountain areas.
— What are your favorite national dishes?
— I am a meat eater despite the fact that vegetarianism is becoming more and more fashionable in the world. I prefer a good steak to lettuce. Therefore, it is not surprising that I liked kuurdak, lagman, shashlyk.
But these pieces of dough are delicious. I’m talking about boorsoks, although I am not a fan of pastry.Jan Polivka
— Are you afraid to try something?
— Nothing from food. But I am afraid to try a national drink kumys.
— Why? Kumys has tremendous curative properties.
— I do not argue. But understand me correctly, I can not drink mare’s milk. This is unnatural for me, and I fear the consequences. I have never drunk it and I do not know how my body will react to such a surprise.
— What has fascinated you in close acquaintance with the local population?
-It is hospitality. You have really very kind people, smiling and ready to help. For example, when I went to the wild places in Issyk-Kul region, the local guys gladly showed me everything around. And their English was good, I understood everything.
— What has disappointed you?
— The authorities should reform the work of the police, or, as you call it, militsiya.
— What do you mean?
— When I was in Bishkek, I was robbed. And this was done by law enforcement officers. I walked around the city and was stopped by a patrol and asked to show my documents.
It is awful. It not about money, but this indicates a lack of professionalism and culture of law enforcement officers. It is impossible to imagine that the police would steal money from you in Prague, Amsterdam or in any other European city. But despite this, I liked Kyrgyzstan, and I would love to come here again.
I handed my wallet where I have ID card. And what do you think? When I got my wallet with my passport back, 5,000 soms missed.Jan Polivka