Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Getting Around Bishkek

I have been here almost a week now. I have finally learned the route from my flat to where I will be working. There are lots of little buses that run in between the two places. They cost 5 som each way. The exchange rate is about 37 som to the dollar. So a round trip ride is a little more than a quarter. That has got to be one of the best deals on transportation in the world.

To make it even better the Kyrgyz currency does not contain any coins. It consists solely of bills. So unlike almost every other country in the world one does not have to deal with collecting a large number of bulky and basically worthless coins. Instead you can put all the bills in your wallet. Kyrgyz money comes in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 som notes. Most countries would have gotten rid of the 1 note and maybe even the 5. The UK does not have a one pound or two pound note anymore. They have one pound and two pound coins. Canada likewise has one dollar and two dollar coins rather than bills.

1 comment:

W. Shedd said...

Oh ya - one of the best deals in transportation in the world.

If you like being shoved into a hot tin can with 20 little people. :-)

Yes, I have lovely memories of being almost the tallest person in Bishkek, standing in a little marshrutka with a group of small asian people whose idea of personal space is very different from my own!

Actually, they are very inexpensive - but then again, taxi's aren't so expensive in Bishkek either. Chances are good that you can flag down most of the cars and negotiate a ride also.