Enough with the mountains, back to civilization! After camping, simple homestays and taking ‘showers’ in mountain streams, it was nice to stay in clean hostel with a kitchen and even WiFi. It turned out that I stopped by Bishkek just in time for the independence day celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan. Although it was hard to figure out what was going to happen (and at what times) I managed to see the military parade and a game of ‘Kok Buro’, the Kyrgyz form of polo; sort of cross between polo and rugby, quite violent and played with the headless carcass of a goat.

First up was a speech by the president (which we were unable to hear) and the unveiling of a new statue.
Then two generals were driven along the troops in old convertibles...
...followed by marching platoons of soldiers and then some tanks...
...followed by the inevitable missiles...
...and to finish it off some attack helicopters did fly-by's. After this came all sorts of kids, workers and who knows what else but we left to go to the hippodrome for the horse games.
The horse races weren't too interesting (just going round and round), but afterwards the field was prepared for the final of the Kok Buro cup.
To start of the game the carcass is placed in the middle of the circle and one player of each team enters to try and pick it up.
To pick it up the players slide almost completely from their horse; mind you the carcass weighs some 30 kg...!
To score a 'goal' the goat is to be thrown into a raised loop at the opponents side of the field. More commonly though the players all ride into each other with their horses, leading to a sort of rubgy scrum. This then triggers a new start from one of the three circles on the field.