What Bishkek Eats for Ramadan

Well, Bishkek, it’s the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. This year, the holy month starts July 9th, coinciding with watermelon season in Kyrgyzstan. Ramadan also coincides with the...

A Weekend at the Dacha

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed...

Beer in Ukraine

Mention alcohol in connection with any of the post-Soviet states, particularly Russia or Ukraine, and Westerners usually envision copious amounts of vodka being consumed by raucous and sweaty men. Like all stereotypes, the typical Western...

“Special Beshbarmak” in Bishkek

Ozgocho Beshbarmak Café Address: Hекрасова 9А (south side of Osh Bazaar) Hours: 7:30am-11:00pm Prices: 165-195 som for beshbarmak This past weekend, I checked out a restaurant that offers 12 variations of one of Kyrgyzstan’s most...

Fortune Telling in Bishkek

Recently, a colleague and I went to a yasnovidyashi, a Kyrgyz fortuneteller (the name actually translates to “Clear Seer”), for the first time. Why? We’ve never done it before, we were looking for a new...

Banya in Bishkek

Zhirgal Banya Hours of Operation: Mon, Tues, Thurs: 9am-11pm, Wed: 12pm-11pm, Fri: 7am-11pm, Sat, Sun: 7am-11pm Address: Corner of Ibraimov and Toktogul Price: Adults: 250 Som, Kids (1-12 years old): 150 Som Desperate times call...

Up Close and Personal with a Manaschi

A Performance and Interview with Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov This past week, SRAS students met with one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous manaschis, Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov. Manaschis are Kyrgyz professional storytellers of the Manas epic poem, the longest epic...

Mad for Manas in Talas

Manas Ordo Address: 10km east of Talas, at the foot of the Manastyn-Chokusu Mountain, on the bank of the Kenkol mountain river Price: Adults – 20 som; Children – 5 som, Guided Tour – 300...

VSUES Maslenitsa in Vladivostok

Maslenitsa at VSUES/Масленица во ВГУЕСе Ул. Гоголя, д. 41 (VSUES dorms) Dates change each year Free and open to VSUES students, faculty and staff If you happen to be in Russia during the spring, one...

Birthday Parties in Vladivostok

The Golden Century/Золотой Век (or anywhere there are banquets!) Ул. Кирова, д. 60 10 am – 12 am Daily Free (paid for by celebrant)! Besides the New Year, Victory Day and perhaps the 8th of...

Tengeri Shaman Center in Irkutsk

“Tengeri” Local Religious Organization of Shamans / «Тэнгэри» Местная Религиозная Организация Шаманов Ул. Седова 68 Hours by appointment Telephone: 99-81-54, 8-952-622-9185, Email: baltaev_va@mail.ru Shamanism is the common name for the traditional religions of a number...

New Year’s at Club BSB in Vladivostok

Club BSB Пр.Красного Знамени, 66 Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 pm – 5:00 am Cafe Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Entrance Fee: 500 rubles Table Reservation: 1000...

Maslenitsa in Irkutsk

Maslenitsa/Mасленица Entry: 150 rubles general admission, 100 rubles for students (Additional cost for food, souvenirs and some activities inside) Transportation: 100 rubles for a marshrutka from Irkutsk to Listvyanka (Taltsy is a stop about ¾...

Kyrgyzstan, A Love Story

During the spring semester of 2008, I decided to study abroad in the rustically beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan. Many would be surprised at my exotic choice of destination (which is actually increasingly popular among SRAS...

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective

I first became aware of the Evenki reindeer-herding nomads of the Siberian Far East as an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology. Fascinated by the idea of an entire culture based on fur...