A Foggy morning here in Bishkek

April 4th, 2017 Sections: News
A Foggy morning here in Bishkek

A Foggy morning here in Bishkek

People often ask me what I miss about England … sometimes followed by the suggestion: “Obviously not the weather”.

I come across many misconceptions about Britain and, not surprisingly – given our obsession with the topic, many of them relate to our weather.

Most people I have met here in Bishkek seem to be of the opinion that we rarely ever see the sun … that it rains every day, or we experience inordinate amounts of fog.

To be honest, we don’t help the situation in that we almost encourage these views  – with phrases like Foggy Albion – but when I try to correct the mistake by pointing out, for example, that fog tends to be a seasonal feature encountered mainly in the Autumn … people look at me as if I am crazy and simply nod their heads, implying that they will accommodate this poor deluded foreigner.

I can understand why people have this opinion … historically we have suffered from fogs.

The stories of Sherlock Holmes, for example, are very popular and the films (whether made in the Soviet Union or in contemporary Russia), often seem to have characters walking through foggy London streets, disappearing as if melting into the mist.

London, in particular, used to suffer from thick, smoggy peasoupers that were a serious health hazard.  Fortunately the Clean Air Act, and the development of coke and smokeless fuels and the extension of cleaner forms of energy, all helped to clean up the capital’s atmosphere.

Fog still occurs, of course, due to the climate and natural weather patterns … but it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be.

Although fog also occurs here in Kyrgyzstan, it is not very common at all – at least not here in Bishkek.

In fact I am often surprised how people refer to a morning mist as Tooman – which is basically Russian for fog.  They have other words like Dymkah (which is like the Russian word for smoke) and Lorkiy tooman (Easy fog – doesn’t that sound wonderful, or light fog … they also have Gustoi tooman which is a thick fog.), Then there is Pasmurnost (which is more like overcast) and my favourite – Mgla (which sounds like a character from Tolkien … or Harry Potter – muggles and all that).

Up in the mountains, of course, on overcast or cloudy days – pasmurnost –  the cloud cover can descend very quickly and trekkers can easily find themselves walking through a heavy mist … with greatly reduced visibility.


Yesterday morning, as I walked to the hotel, I was taken by surprise by the fog that greeted me as I left my apartment building.  Although it was still quite dark, there was an eerie whiteness enveloping me … and visibility was more restricted than usual … as I turned from Kievskaya onto Isanovna, I couldn’t really see as far as Prospekt Chui … something like fifty meters … although the lights of passing vehicles and the traffic signals seemed to emit a mysterious halo.

It was so unusual that I though it merited a photo, … but although tried to take one, it was really too dark for the ghostly effect to be really discernible.  By the time I arrived at work the sky had brightened a little and I managed to get a shot.

Shortly afterwards, it had all burnt away … evaporated … but in it’s place came a light rain … which quickly became now … but, fortunately, it was still too warm to settle.


Well, I suppose, at least yesterday I wasn’t missing English weather … in fact, I was somewhat reminded of Foggy Albion.



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