To the Chong Suu and a Giant Lenin Head

Monday, my first week day back in site, was Kyrgyz Independence Day.  With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kyrgyzstan became the first of the Central Asian Republics to declare independence.  I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but at my house, other than everyone staying home from work, the holiday was pretty tame.

Since no one was doing much and I had torn through all of “I am Malala” over the weekend (really good book by the way) I decided to go for a hike.

I have been meaning for some time to hike out to the Kirovskoye Reservoir, which, when it’s full, dominates the western end of the Talas Valley.  Right now, though, being the end of the summer, it’s very much not full.  The reservoir’s levels are determined by the irrigation needs of Kazakhstan downstream and it was one hot, dry summer this year.

In any case, I stopped at the magazine for some snacks and water, had quick chat with a neighbor about which road to take to the “chong suu”, and set out on my way.  “Chong suu” literally means “big water,” but basically means any large body of water.  In Kara Suu it means the reservoir.

It was a nice day.  But after getting away from the shade of Kara Suu’s trees it was pretty barren and hot.  I got some pretty cool panoramas of my valley though.




That’s My Valley

I made it to well below the high water mark for the reservoir, but ran into too much mud to make it to the current shore line.  I still found a nice spot to sit next to the Talas River where I could have my snicker bar, soak my feet, and listen to some music.

I could even see the dam from there.

And the thing about the dam is there’s a Mount Rushmore-esque giant Lenin head.  When I first told people I would be living in this part of Talas they told me about the giant Lenin head.  I had no idea what that meant, but as it turns out, it’s exactly what it sounds like.


See it? 


There he is.

I hung around for a bit taking in the sights and relaxing then set off back home for a well deserved (or not) nap.

Photo Credits:


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About Cole Bedford