News item

World Nomad Games - By Jules Frints

Cholpon-Ata, September 8, 2016

In a place near Bishkek, Cholpon-Ata, the Olympic Games of Central Asia took place: the Nomad Games, with all kinds of wrestling and horse-riding sports, including a kind of horseback-rugby with a dead goat instead of a ball. Today was the closing ceremony, and the major part of the group went to see it. Cholpon-Ata still was a few hours driving, but we hoped maybe to get some attention for our motorcycle as well. Besides, it was a unique opportunity. A smaller part of the group stayed in Bishkek, to take some rest and see a bit of the city.

The drive to Cholpon-Ata went well. Roads of relatively good quality, a part through some mountains, ending at a place near Cholpon-Ata, located at a large lake, Issyk-Kul. We could park our vans at a luxurious resort, where we received VIP-tickets to the closing ceremony! Then we had to wait a few hours until a bus would take us to the Games. Luckily, there was swimming pool and of course the lake, including a beach. Unclear how long we could stay or even if we were allowed to do so, we swam in the pool, jumped in the lake and lay in the sun. It was really nice. After a quick meal, we entered the touring car, that stood ready for us, an American representative, and the Iranian delegation.

Escorted by police car, we drove to the hippodrome, where we walked through an alley flanked by flag-waving Kyrgyz. We were seated straight in front of the podium, although it was very far from the tribune. What followed was an extensive few-hours show with artists from Kyrgyzstan, Kazachstan, Turkey, and other countries from the region. Most were not live performances, we thought, but at some point the singing was live, and the energy in the stadium increased. The screens showed the most enthusiastic people from the audience, and the audience responded to this with applause. The atmosphere was great.

After the show, Remco was invited to do a short interview for television. While half of the group went to get the vans, as our hotel was in another village, rest stayed with him to walk to the hotel afterwards. Getting the vans went surprisingly well, and we eventually got some sleep after a fun and energizing day.

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