27 June 2012

Kyrgyzstan: Jalalabad

The journey to Jalalabad traversed the Uzbekistan border as it winded northwest.  It was a nice ride which took about 3 hours. 
Winding around southern Kyrgyzstan
Trains work
We managed to arrive into Jalalabad in the late afternoon.  We found the Matlyba Guesthouse after a local decided to show us the way.  After a quick shower and change of clothes, we were off to walk around the small town and find a nice place to drink some tea.
Matlyba Guesthouse - very comfortable
We accidently left without our passports and we soon realized this when we arrived at the Toktogul park.
Remnants of the 2010 revolution
We were confronted by 3 police officers who were obviously extremely bored.  Once they discovered that we did not have our passports on us, the game began.  They first told us they were going to lock us up.  They were definitely looking for money.  We soon called Matlyba for her to explain to the police officers that we were indeed staying with her.  She convinced them to allow us to go back to the guesthouse to grab our passports.  Somehow they allowed us to leave, only after about 45 minutes.
A compromise to not ride the Ferris wheel
Upon our return, they looked through our passports like little kids who look at pictures in a picture book.  They asked us if we were hungry, which we were, and we said 'yes'.  They had us follow them walking then asked us to get in a car to drive somewhere.  We were a bit reluctant but we climbed in the car and went with them.
Kyrgyzstan emblem

They brought us to a restaurant about 10 blocks away.  They sat down and ordered as if they owned the place.  It was pretty prevalent that they had no intention of paying for what they ordered.  The bill appeared and HJ and Scott split it.  This was not the end of the adventure though.  We headed back to the park thinking that we would be free to go...not quite.  We mentioned that we had a curfew and needed to be back by 21:30 to the guesthouse as they offered to give us a guided tour of the park.  After a failed attempt to get us two to ride the Ferris wheel we continued through the park being requested to take pics.  The sun was setting quickly and we knew our time was almost up.
Policemen: "please take a photo of that building" HJ/Scott: "ok"
Despite requests to travel to the walnut forest in the early morning, we did not go with them.  We said we would be traveling early and not sure if we would have time.

"Thanks for the day but it is 21.30 and Matlyba is waiting for us"
To make a long story a bit shorter, we managed to make it back to the guesthouse with a good lesson learned...never leave without your passport!

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