We spend a lot of money and precious time away from the life we know, to put a pack on our back and travel to places we are not familiar with.
Where sanitary conditions are different, showers leak, hot water is unreliable, beds are too hard or too soft. We limit ourselves to a small wardrobe where every piece caters for an appropriate weather condition. We leave our precious items at home and make do with limited jewellery and no makeup. We eat unfamiliar food – too much meat or not enough, limited fruit, unfamiliar spices.
But it was a conversation with our guide and driver over breakfast in Cholpon Ata, a holiday resort on the Issyk-Kol Lake in Kyrgyzstan, that demonstrated the worth of our journeys.
In delicate terms with eyes carefully fixed on us, the question was asked “What about the Ukraine?” It was clear that strong opinions were not required but we were able to discuss in terms of the way news is reported and the agendas of the countries involved.
After loosing so many Australian residents on MH17 our sympathies are clearly with the national Ukraines who oppose the Russian involvement.
Asel & Vitali explained that the Ukraines who live near the border of Russia have always spoken Russian and don’t know the Ukraine language. They are being persecuted for speaking Russian.
There is also a battle for oil and gas resources which Europe desperately needs and Russia has
So they see that the Europeans are courting Ukraine to have access to those resources.
And of course the conversation turned to politicians and academics who draw country boundaries without regard for the ethnicity of the people who live there.
This wasn’t a debate. It was an interesting and intelligent conversation that left us all aghast at how the super powers control and manipulate for their own good.
It’s meeting intelligent, thinking people like Asel & Vitali that make travel so wonderful and intellectually challenging.