All throughout Kyrgyzstan, whenever we were spotted by the locals, this question often preceded hello. It made little difference whether we were spotted by folks in the same tiny store, or by people on very distant hillsides. "Where are you from?" is the question everyone was asking. Sometimes we would hear the question shouted by people from impossible distances. We have grown quite accustomed to yelling back to unknown interrogators, "Amyerika!"
It was therefore quite startling to be riding along a smooth Kazakh road in the middle of a very hot day and hear a small voice from the other side implore in English, "Stop. Please, Stop."
What else could we possibly do, the voice had said, "please". We stopped, and the young man who had made the request made his way across the narrow highway. In what way is this person hoping we can help him? We were wondering if he needed medical attention or help moving something, but it was not quite like that.
"I have a lake. It is very hot. You are cycling. Would you like to swim? Please come swim."
What else could we possibly do, he had said, "please", and also at that precise moment, there really was nothing that we would rather have been doing, than swimming in his lake. He might as well have descended on a cloud, But we are pretty sure he wasn't an angel, because angels could probably understand our funny accents. "I am sorry, your American accent is very difficult to understand. Could you please speak with a British accent?" We were making things difficult for him by saying things like, "thirdy four", instead of "thirtea four".
After we had sufficiently cooled ourselves in the lake, he asked, "What else can I do for you?"
We thanked him, and continued on our way to Almaty.
That has pretty much been the way of things with people in Kazakhstan. Machines are a different story for another time.
Tyler and Adrianne