Knock knock.

Who’s there? Lurking in a sad, empty lot, surrounded by barbed wire, rusted metal gates, under a thin layer of fresh snow?

A camel, a block or so away from my apartment.

I’ve known for a while that the camel was there, but it took a while to take these shots. The Belgians saw him. Another friend who used to live in the neighborhood asked about him. I walked past the area several times over the past week to figure out what time he would definitely be there (always forgetting my camera, except for when he wasn’t there). There was the constant worry that he could, at any moment, be hauled back to a village. And what would our friends working on the camel cheese documentary think if I passed up this chance? When it was so close?

A woman passing by on the sidewalk stopped and (I think) told me it would be okay to get closer. “Он хороший,” he’s nice.

That motivated me to trespass on the owner’s property to get a proper picture of the camel’s face. It wouldn’t have been right to get frostbite on my shutter finger and only come away with photos of his back end.

He (or she, I don’t actually know) was supposedly brought from some more-appropriate-camel-habitat for the holiday seasons so people could pay to get their picture taken with him. I never saw where he went during the day, but he was calm and still in his lonely, street-side lot during the night. I wonder how long he’ll be in Bishkek, and I hope that he eventually gets returned to somewhere where he can wander around without being tied to a rusty fence.