Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Osh In Waves

Taking in Osh isn’t too different from a three year old’s first time in the candy store--there’s just too many things to taste and experience all at once.

Painting the surreal: there is a large park on a hill in the center of Osh with trees and sidewalks and steps leading down to the river. As you walk down toward the river the wing of a plane emerges from behind the trees. Like studying the lines of a painting and their control over the direction of your wandering eyes, the horizontal hover of this wing forces you to look right and left instead of up and down at the trees and monuments. At first, all you can see is the wing’s tip emerge from edge of a bristly pine. You take another step, desiring to know whether this wing hovers, Houdini-like, in mid air, or if the illusion has a simpler explanation. You walk faster, but as you stride into this surreal landscape, the wing grows longer and wider and suddenly you grasp that it really is connected to an airplane.

The white “Aeroflat” airplane happens to be a Russian commercial passenger jet—and minus its warped windows and mossy weathered hue, you half expect a stewardess to appear and passengers to funnel out. The commercial jet’s landing gear is down, but the tires are flat, forming little half moons of black rubber on the grass and sidewalk. There are no plaques explaining the plane’s existence and the people in the park seem un-phased by the flying machine as they stroll under its belly and beneath its wings.

To confuse matters even more, mature trees surround this giant metal bird thwarting the brain’s calculations of how in the hell it got there. Mouth agape, you stare at the Aeroflat for some time until you notice locals gawking at you gawking at the plane. And then you purse your lips, flip-up your coat collar and walk on pretending like your new mission in life is to introduce commercial airliners to every public park in the world.


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