Naomi over at Anywhere But Home is always giving me homework to do! This time she tagged me to participate in a photo contest for travel bloggers called Capture the Colour. All I have to do is post five photos that represent blue, white, red, green and yellow.
I would say Kyrgyzstan is a pretty colorful place, so let’s see if I can pick five excellent photos that give the viewer a strong sense of place for my tiny, post-Soviet adopted homeland.
Blue – Come on, guys. Issyk Kul is Kyrgyzstan’s most popular and well-known attraction. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with a local (ever, even in business meetings) where I haven’t been asked, “Have you been to Issyk Kul?” “Are you going to Issyk Kul?” My doctor even asked me recently if I was going, telling me that as a pregnant woman, “Обязательно! It’s essential! Go there, swim, and relax.” It would be sacrilege to think of posting something other than the crisp blue waters of Issyk Kul for this category.
Red – Is my love for this man just a bit too strong right now? This photo uses the satiny sheen of red to draw your eyes straight to his amazing, Kyrgyzstan-themed tracksuit. Even better, he embodies with perfection the effortless quality of looking sharp and well put-together that people in Kyrgyzstan seem to have mastered in even the most shabby-looking villages. I, on the other hand, have not mastered this skill. So cheers to you, Tracksuit Man, for letting everybody know, loud and proud, where you come from.
Yellow – Backstage at an annual Diversity Festival, a group of teenage girls waited for their turn to perform in their traditional Azeri costumes. There are a surprising number of ethnic minorities in Kyrgyzstan, and last year I attended an event meant to celebrate them all. The highlight of the Azeri girls’ performance was the high-pitched shrieks they executed in unison as they twirled around the stage. Also seen in the photo is a Chechen dancer (the guy on the left) and a group of Kyrgyz girls dressed in shirts, ties and hats (on the right) who later danced to a techno song (didn’t make sense to me either).
Green – Sure, Kyrgyzstan is full of natural beauty, much of which comes in shades of vibrant leafy greens, but that seems a bit too obvious. Kyrgyzstan is a tiny country that sometimes likes to display its military prowess through shades of army green. On the day I snapped this photo, I was just taking a random stroll through Ala Too, Bishkek’s main square, and found that it was covered in various tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery. Just showing off a few recent purchases (or gifts? I never found out) from the US, apparently. And let’s point out a few more important elements to this photo: first there’s a statue of Manas, Kyrgyzstan’s epic hero, watching over the exhibit, and second, a beefy Kyrgyz soldier closely watching to make sure I don’t step over a freshly painted line on the ground (meant to keep nosy photographers away).
White – Here’s a candid scene from last March’s Nouruz celebration. I’ve previously documented my confusion about why Kyrgyzstan celebrates the Zoroastrian holiday with such enthusiasm, but maybe it’s not important. Kyrgyz people love any reason to celebrate, so massive crowds flooded Ala Too to buy once-a-year Nouruz treats, watch an impromptu concert of Kyrgyz stars, and take family portraits against colorful backdrops. In this photo, my eyes were drawn immediately to the two teens’ white kalpaks, a traditional hat worn all over Central Asia, but from what I’ve experienced, it seems especially beloved in Kyrgyzstan.
Since I was tagged to participate, I have to spread the word and tag another five bloggers:
Lauren at Lonely Girl Travels
Phil at Phil in the ____
Philip at The Philiad
Maryanne at A Totally Impractical Guide to Living in Shanghai (I’m hoping yours has mops involved)
Liv at I Eat My Pigeon