The marshrutka is the main mode of public transport here in Bishkek, and like a bad metal concert in Peoria, it’s cheap, hot, overcrowded, and sometimes filled with drunk people. Mentioned in earlier Bishkek posts, I despise these little beasts, and yet often find myself stamping my foot for the next one to come. In that sense, I guess they are a lot like men: can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em. No?

I, and other students here, have had plenty of interesting marshrutka experiences thus far. To get a better idea of we are dealing with, here is a run-down of the marshrutka ride.

1) You pile into the little van, past the point where you think the door will not even shut anymore. Of course, you are standing in an awkward position, often with your neck bent against the roof. Someone’s crotch might be pressed against you in an uncomfortable place, and whose hand is that?

2) Since the car is so crowded, you can’t see out the windows to know when to get off. Being the new guy (gal) in town, it’s hard enough to keep all these monotonous streets straight. You finally decide you might be in the right place and push your way to the door with a few direct moshno’s.

3) Out on the street, covered in sweat, you realize that you have absolutely no idea where you are, and since class starts in just a few minutes, you run to catch a taxi – thus defeating the whole purpose of riding in a cheap marshrutka in the first place.

I’m quite used to this little song and dance nowadays, but was surprised this past weekend by an exceptionally strenuous marshrutka day. Three various experiences make last Saturday one to remember:

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