Norbert with bike in front of 113 Hotel






Published on May 16, 2018

The Robbery

As we start to leave Osch in the morning, it starts to rain slightly. We wait a moment, but then decide to pack up.

with bike in pamir-2-4653

After moving a few kilometers, we suddenly reach the Tajik border. Since we do not want to drive to the border, we turn around again.


Clever Norbert remembers having seen a turn to Bishkek when entering Osh, so we torture ourselves for an hour through the city traffic and turn onto the right road.




In the meantime, it is raining cats and dogs. Since clever Norbert has buried his rain pants deep in his luggage, we both get wet.


Again, the landscape is beautiful, at least what we can see among the rain clouds. Light grassy hills, small villages and fields. We drive around a curve, the road slightly decends here, and then it happens.


Two extortionists have set up a trap. Already one with his red trowel beckons us to the side. I do not understand his Kyrgyz language, but he shows me a picture on his radar: we on the BMW, next to it is “63”.


Fifty kmh would have been permissible. We discuss in Kyrgyz and Russian, I in German and English, but come on no green branch. The only German word he knows is “punishment”, just as I thought of.


He does not want to see our passports, but the license of the BMW and my driver’s license. I give him both – and that was a mistake. Now he has a pawn which he will not release until he has shaken us vigorously.


He tells me something about protocol and shows me his quota of the day: a few minutes of protocol with attached Kyrgyz driving licenses. I get along with the fact that you seem to have to pay the penalty at the bank before somehow get his driver’s license.

We are unable to go according to his method and I suggest to do it otherwise. He understands immediately and shows me in a small booklet a picture of a motorcycle, where “5000 Som” is written next to it.


I suppose that’s the penalties records, but it could just be a motorcycle costing five thousand and he would like to have it. We only have a thousand and five hundred Som and I propose dollars.


The captain joins us (he has the more impressive uniform) and writes without hesitation “100” in the dust of his vehicle. I begin to moan and show my purse, where there are only about sixteen dollars and a thousand five hundred homes in it.


Unmoved, the Chiefrobber points to You Song, who is waiting across the street for the motorcycle of things to come. The man knows who has the money. You Song comes over and grabs another fifty dollars from her fanny pack.


Thankfully, we have everything else packed in the baggage. If the extorters knew that more than three thousand dollars had been sewn into the lining of my motorcycle jacket, they would take off my pants.


We finally agree on sixty dollars plus the thousand five hundred som the robbers saw in my wallet. I can put everything in the back seat of the robber car and get my papers back.


Before we move on, the robbers inquire about the price of the bike and then probably regret that they let us get away so cheaply.


In the meantime, the rain has subsided and in places even the sun comes out. It becomes hilly and finally we turn into the mountain valley.

For more than a hundred kilometers we drive along a beautiful mountain landscape with small villages in between. In the evening we drive around a lake and the daily question arises: where will we spend the night? The navigation gadget tells us “Hotel 113 at twenty-eight kilometers”. It turns out to be correct.



Since the hotel is nearly fully booked we only are able to get a chamber under the roof. So much choice does not exist in this area.

Dinner is a welcome gesture then we rest until morning in our two wooden boxes.




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