Kyrgyzstan: A Friendly Encounter on a Late Drive Home

Kyrgyzstan: A Friendly Encounter on a Late Drive Home

August 20, 2020

Throughout my 6 months in Kyrgyzstan, I always met very nice and hospitable people ranging from those who gave me free rides and food as well as those who went the extra mile.


One extra mile story starts on the evening I spent alone at a cafe until around 9:30pm and left the cafe in hopes of catching a minibus called "marshrutka.”
I was waiting for mine to come for about 45 minutes but it never came (it probably already stopped running the route since it was late) while another one going a similar route passed 3 times so when that other one passed for the 4th time I took it and left the marshrutka where it separates from the route I normally take (or else it would take me somewhere completely new in the middle of the night!!).


I was around 75% of the way home. Then a young man came and took this random marshrutka that was not in service (the light of the sign was off and that number never passes by the street I was at) but I heard him say the area I lived in so when he hopped in and was about to shut the door, I pulled the door and named my area just to reconfirm that he's going there. They spoke something additional but I could not understand a word.

The young man paid the driver with coins (I knew it was definitely less than 20 Soms) but I only had a 20-Som banknote. They both knew I was a foreigner and the driver could have easily ripped me off, but no, the driver turned on the lights, looked for coins and gave me 8 Soms change so that means he charged me the standard price.

The young man (who was kind of cute I must say!) tried to speak to me but I could not understand, he started sighing and I felt that frustration (lol) so I giggled... then he said stiffly "my name is Satshka, what is your name?" I told him my name and by then he'd already reached his destination and got off *sobs*... then the driver stopped again to pick a friend up (they had a good talk and he didn't pay so I guess they knew each other).


Then the driver tried to speak to me as well, he asked where I was from by saying "America, France, Germany, Italy" ... I said "Thailand". Then he asked which street I lived on and I told him the street name, but since his Marshrutka path was not on this street, he was unfamiliar and told me to phone someone he could talk to, so instead, I used my broken Russian and told him the direction (it was not far anyway until we reached my street). Then when I got off, I saw that he had turned his marshrutka around and went back the way he came from and because of that I must say that it was completely unnecessary for him to drive me all the way to my street at 10:30pm for the standard price of 12 Soms but he was kind enough and did!

Always impressed by the hospitality of the people here in Kyrgyzstan and it made me realize – a small act of kindness from a stranger has an incredible impact and will be remembered. 

- Alissa


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