Thursday, 15 July 2010


I have been talking perhaps too much about Couchsurfing in this blog, but nonetheless it truly has given me so much, so many experiences related to travelling, that I cannot avoid referencing it here.

For instance, I could say (thinking about my last post) that Couchsurfing provides a way to exchange non-monetary values.
Because Couchsurfing doesn't use money; you never pay in cash for your hosting by this system, neither can a host ask for it.

But Couchsurfing is not free about free hosting, of course it is not.
One way or another, both host and guest pay an invisible fee for its services.
And this fee is the desired exchange of cultures, languages, travels, adventures, ideas, thoughts...

You may show the place where you live but at the same time you're learning new things of this place and from the place where your guest comes from.

It not only allows you to see your homeland through foreigner eyes (and question what you see, then), but also to observe distant places while you stay at home, imagining them as your guest narrates them to you.

Of course, in this stream of travellers going from one destination to another, stopping by your place briefly, you may catch a tip or a valuable piece of advice for your own next trip.

Sometimes, you even get a hint of taste from a far-away country you wish to visit.

This was my case yesterday, quite literally.

These days I am hosting a young photographer from Kyrgyzstan which currently lives in Dubai.
She is of Russian descent (third generation), and according to what she told me, Russian is still a very common language all over Central Asian countries (so I reassert myself in my intention of learning it).

Last night she cooked a traditional Kyrgyz dinner.

She called it lagman, but I found out that it is also spelled laghman or la mian (in Chinese), being originally a recipe from China, especially of those peoples on the Silk Road (Hui and Uighur), and it is considered a national dish in Kyrgyzstan.

It was a kind of a stew of beef or lamb, with vegetables and noodles. Definitely yummy.

I thought I could almost relish the Central Asian steppes, the dust-covered paths through the Tian Shan mountains, the craggy shapes over the Taklamakan desert, and the green meadows where horses stomp their hooves on the grass.

Also, she told me that most Kyrgyz people cross the border to Kazakhstan when heading to China, so it would be wiser going from Ürümqi to Almaty by train, and then crossing to Kyrgyzstan than my original plan trying to get through Irqeshtam pass or somewhere between these countries.

The final depart to Asia seems to draw nearer every day.

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