O After two weeks straight of amazing skiing, during which, each day we would swear to each other that we'd just had "the best day ever", we were ready for three things: a hot shower, maybe some pizza and a little wireless internet therapy. Three crowded marshruka rides and three hours later, we were in downtown Jalalabad.
We struggled in Jalalabad, and it seemed we were striking out on all fronts. With just a few hours of daylight left, we were saved by an angel who we met in a taxi. Our new friend Venera welcomed us to her home, gave us a hot shower, fed us a huge plate of plov and chai, and unleashed her children on us. No internet therapy, but honestly we didn't have time for Facebook.
Deb asked this beautiful and intelligent woman how she had met her husband and we learned that she was one of Kyrgyzstan's many "Kidnapped Brides". She had been taken during her university studies by her future husband and his family. She said she cried everyday for the first month, but was now excited to maybe add a couple of daughters to her crazy brood of three boys. We later learned that about 20% of Kyrgyz relationships are "Love Marriages".
We returned, refreshed to Arslanbob and after another week of skiing, it was time for goodbye. We made so many great friends in town and our farewell was a difficut one. Of course, there was a party with lots of chai, naan and a little vodka. As tough as it was to hug Hayat and all the Arslanbob guides goodbye, the hardest parting was with Abdullahjon and Ullmashon. Not a few tears in everyones eyes, but I have a feeling we will be back to this awesome mountain town, maybe to ski Babesh-Ata in the Spring!