House Hunters Bishkek

November 9th, 2011 Sections: Life In Kyrgyzstan

House Hunters Bishkek on youtube

Some time ago I had the occasion to go to the bank to conduct some business.  We actually have accounts with six different banks.  There are several reasons for this; for example, each of the company’s activities, (the tour operations, and each of the two hotels), have a separate account, but it is also a way of “hedging our bets” by not placing all our finances on a single bank.  Very few of the banks which existed when I first arrived here back in 1995 are still operating and, although the banking system is now, (more or less), stable, this seems to be a sensible course of action.

Anyway, the bank that I had to visit is not far from my office and so I walked there.  As I walked along Prospect Chui I was intrigued to see a small group with a film camera obviously filming an interview.  There is nothing new about this, you see it all the time in downtown Bishkek.  There are lots of local TV stations, (at least six or seven local channels, not to mention foreign film crews), and most news and current affairs programmes include vox pop interviews of people on a variety of stories.

This group, however, seemed to be different … they were talking English.

I recognized one of them, Kirsten, a young American woman who runs a blog called Ivory Pomegranate that I have mentioned before.  She is also an active twitter and she tweets on a number of topics – for example, the gas being turned off, the electricity going off, the heating not being switched on … her Russian lessons … oh, and more serious stuff.  I think she gets on better with the character limit than I do.

Although I thought about popping over and saying “Hello”, but then thought better of it and decided to leave them to it.  They were obviously engrossed and didn’t need another distraction.  I did wonder, however, what it was they were filming.

Well, it turns out that they were preparing a piece for an American programme called House Hunters International, (which is a spinoff from another popular series, HGTV House Hunters), and features episodes from Sao Paolo to Prague … and Bishkek …  where “home hunters” and their real estate agents check out all sorts of architectural styles and work through the idiosyncrasies of buying real estate in these different countries.

Well, the episode was duly recorded and has aired in the states.  Kirsten tweeted about how people she hadn’t seen for years had been in touch to tell her they had seen it.  That must have been really frustrating for her, because she was back here in Kyrgyzstan and didn’t have a chance to see it herself.  The production company had promised to send her a copy, but I understand that it hasn’t yet arrived.  However, someone flying out to Bishkek has brought her a recording and she has now posted the thirty minute segment on youtube and you can watch there, (complete with adverts [!]… quite a lot of adverts – I had forgotten quite how pervasive they are in the West … what’s more they were American adverts, so they are a totally different style from those I am used to – that is, from back home in the UK and that I see here in Kyrgyzstan – still, they were fun to watch … once).

More interesting, perhaps, is the fact that Kirsten has also posted on her blog some commentary, her thoughts and reflections on the final product.   She points out the embarrassing moments, the non-sequiturs, the statue that is no more, (Erkindik) … (but she misses the fact that the burnt out building they pass in the opening sequence was the Prosecutors’ Office and not a tax office – but that’s not really important).

As Kirsten explains, not everything in the video is exactly tttwtanbtt, (“the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”), but I suppose that someone thought tttwtanbtt would make boring TV programme and so they decided to make it “more interesting”.

The three flats, (apartments), are fairly typical of the accommodation available here which is taken by foreigners.  There is the plush, “top-end”, luxury apartment with lots of space and modern furnishings, but a price to match.  Actually the one they were shown was quite a good deal as I have seen similar ones here that are much, much, (much!), more expensive.  Then there was the old apparatchick’s apartment, smaller, but still quite sizeable, but with old style functional decoration and furnishings.   Finally there is the small one roomed apartment, (which sounds similar to, but a little better than, their box-room apartment back in the States), lacking furnishings – although that means they could furnish it according to their own tastes, they end up with furniture which they will have to dispose of when it is time to move on … but as Kirsten explains, that’s one of the things that was not exactly tttwtanbtt,.  Apart from the price, this one also has an advantage that there might be separate office accommodation available next door.

Kirsten’s blog also contains some posts on the filming process.  The blog has been going for over two years, that is it goes back to a time before she and her husband, Farrell, moved to Bishkek and, as well as information about her life here in Bishkek, there are posts about various places she has visited … oh, and there’s lots about food – well, she does love to bake and the lack of an oven was a major drawback to the luxury apartment – I almost got the impression that it was more important than the price.

It makes interesting reading and watching.  Why not pop over and have a look.


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