|Cooling off in downtown Bishkek
Monday was a holiday (the end of Ramadan), so the kids were home. We were uninspired to play outside because of the heat, and Josh was suffering from terrible allergies, but by evening, I was determined to get out of the house. I popped Sebby in his stroller so Misha and I could power walk all the way down Erkindik boulevard to get to the ploshad (square) in downtown Bishkek. The square is filled with beautiful fountains, so in anticipation, I had told the boys to wear swim trunks instead of shorts.
|A feast of color: Bright red flowers bloom in Erkindik boulevard.
|Ice cream stop: Stracciatella for Misha, and chocolate for Sebby
It worked out perfectly. Right before arriving at the ploshad, we stopped for some Italian-style ice cream and finished eating it by the fountains. The plaza was filled with people milling around leisurely or resting on benches, children perched on the ledges of the fountains, and vendors selling everything from candy and toys to rides in battery-operated kid cars. The sun, on its way down, glinted off the buildings to create a cozy glow as the wind-blown sprinkles from the fountains cooled the warm air. The deafening Kyrgyz pop music drowning out the buzz of conversation inspired Misha and Sebby to start dancing and marching among the fountains. Groups of people watched them from afar, smiling at their antics.
The great thing about Bishkek is that no one gives you dirty looks if your children actually go into the fountains. What could be better? They are shallow enough for children, equipped with their own sprinklers, and completely free! The boys dipped their feet, waded, and slid their way along the slippery sidewalks between the fountains. Other children joined them, hiking up dresses or stripping down to boxer shorts. They had a blast.
|Sebby struts along the slick cement as the sun strikes the building.
|Another dance move
|Misha goes all in
|Other kids join in
|The statue of Manas, the Kyrgyz national hero, also watches over the square.
|Home again, home again. Jiggity jog.
Finally, as dusk neared, I cajoled them out of the water and we made our way back home, their suits drying in the night air. Sebby shrieked as Misha pushed his stroller as fast as he could. By the time we got home, it was dark and time for bed. It was one of those evenings where everything turned out perfectly - the kids were content with simple pleasures, and so was their mother.