22 September 2006

Rememering Bishkek

I think at least one sound of Bishkek might be more memorable than its smells. That sound was the ayran man (I can't believe I didn't get a picture of him; I saw him every day). Every morning he'd walk around the neighborhood calling, "Ayran! Smetana! Molochko!" Those are various milk products, but we never bought any from him. I really should have tried making yogurt with his milk sometime since I pasteurized it every time. The sour cream was really good on bread. I could have had that too.

I did decide that there are two smells that I will always associate with Kyrgyzstan- sour milk and hand sanitizer. The baby house always smelled like sour milk (worse in the winter when the heat was on) except on the days when they were baking bread while we were there. I loved that smell. The babies also often smell like sour milk. It's not my favorite smell, but one I got used to quickly.

But that hand sanitizer. One day when I was getting it out to pass around the family, I caught a whiff and thought, "Kyrgyzstan." I'd never used it before we got there, and since we brought plenty of one brand, that smell will always and forever remind me of sitting down to a nice steaming pile of plov. Or to a dish of yogurt and flatbread at the Lebanese restaurant.

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