06 October 2013

Mexico and Kyrgyzstan

You really couldn't pick two countries that are more different from each other than Mexico and Kyrgyzstan.  There are lots of countries as different, but I think this is as different as it gets.  

It really doesn't often feel like I've left the US.  Sure, there is Spanish surrounding me, but it's not like that's uncommon in the US.  And even when it's all in Spanish, it's still coming from a North American perspective.  It feels a lot like Texas (there are even lots of pickup trucks here).  This is not how it feels in Kyrgyzstan. 

People are so friendly here. People in Kyrgyzstan aren't unfriendly, but they are far more reserved.  You won't get smiles from strangers there (sometimes you will if you smile first) and in some places, my not being able to speak Russian well irritates people.  But people there are always helpful (you just have to ignore the annoyance of a few that you need help) if you ask.

But here, no one minds if I don't speak Spanish.  They're optimistic that I'll understand and we always work it out.  Everyone is happy to help if we ask a question, and there are so many smiles and thank yous and so on.  It's not just the weather that's warmer, the culture is too.  I like both styles.

The cheese situation is so much better here than in Kyrgyzstan.  The whole food situation is easier.  But I miss the bazaars.  I did find a little store yesterday that reminded me a little of Bishkek.  Not much here has done that.  I know there are produce markets around that I am going to find. Very soon.

I got very used to Kyrgyzstan and it doesn't feel poor to me.  It is what i is. But Mexico is so much wealthier than Kyrgyzstan.  Yes, Guadalajara is a prosperous city in Mexico, but I'm not comparing Guadalajara to a village in Kyrgyzstan, but to Bishkek, Tokmok, and Osh.  It.is.so.different.

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