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Sunday, May 29, 2022
HomeLatest NewsFive reasons to go to Kyrgyzstan. Testing Renault Duster

Five reasons to go to Kyrgyzstan. Testing Renault Duster

We know little about Kyrgyzstan: the list is limited to the mountains, Issyk-Kul, and the traditional Kyrgyz headdress – a cap. To expand the boundaries of consciousness, you need to fly to Bishkek and see everything with your own eyes; Fortunately, Russians do not need a visa and the prices in the city are almost Russian. And we’ll also save on rent by taking the current generation Renault Duster for a test drive.

Airport “Manas” is met with cool tiles and chrome handrails, but admirers of Soviet modernism cannot be fooled: old photographs show that the building was built in the 1970s, and in modern times it underwent renovation. We go outside, look at the parking lot.

Cars for journalists stand out even in the capital’s airport parking lot – there are not so many new cars here, there are few Renault brands, there are no Dusters at all. During several days of traveling around the republic one was discovered, and even that of the previous generation (aft and from afar it is distinguished by less square lanterns).

Photo: Renault Press Service

We chose an example in terms of mechanics (with a turbocharged 1.3-liter TCe engine with 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque), we left it. First impressions: a barbecue sign in the form of five-meter crossed skewers, a half-forgotten LAZ-695N bus, a debutant traffic cop on the road (there will be more of them), lazily waving his baton.

A man in uniform salutes, asks a difficult question: “A pilot for Kant?” The question remains in the air, after an exchange of courtesies we leave. Later, it becomes clear that the policeman was able to see in the driver a military pilot from the Russian Kant airbase, based on the Moscow license plates and the unusual car. This time he was wrong.

But we weren’t wrong, taking the most powerful version of the “Duster” to the test. On the southern road, with slips, we start, on the northern road, lazily, we slow down. Although there are enough brakes, it is not particularly possible to check them – here they drive sparingly on the tracks. Violation in Kyrgyzstan is not worth it – for more than 20 km over the speed limit, they receive a fine in the amount of 3,000 soms (equal to the ruble). Someone is moving faster than the flow, but obviously knows the ambush spots or knows how to negotiate.

Photo: Renault Press Service

You can beat it off-road, as well as on the previous generation of the crossover, and, in fact, on any model of the Logan family. The suspension is anti-armor, it can be driven on gravel in the mountains and asphalt remains in towns with moderate comfort.

On one of these paths we come to a dead end and come across a riverbed with a stuck tadpole. Around are the local shepherds who traveled (and did not arrive) to civilization. We are trying to push the truck with our hands, the four of us cannot get out. We unload the horses from the body, tie several ropes into one, grab. Three or four pushes, the UAZ jumps out of the funnel and stubbornly slides toward our rear bumper. It literally stops at centimeters, lucky you.

Photo: Renault Press Service

We return to the track, once again we are surprised by the roads: the condition of the canvas is regular and the width is significant. Our common ancestors built them according to the mysterious GOST: if you draw a marking with your eyes, you get two lanes in each direction, in fact, one. There are no physical marks, there are few traffic lights and signs.

We are moving to the city of Karakol – the museum of Nikolai Przhevalsky is indicated in the program. The Russian traveler was preparing for the fifth expedition and headed towards the Chinese border, but in the valley of the Kara-Balta River he broke his own habits, drank unboiled river water and fell ill with typhoid fever. He was buried here, on the shore of Issyk-Kul, and later a museum was built. Inside is a beautiful high-relief map with travel and open species of animals and plants, a stuffed Przewalski’s horse (similar to a donkey), a researcher’s personal weapon, and other educational memorabilia.

For people with a different way of thinking, there is another monument nearby, this time architectural. At the entrance to Karakol there is a bus stop in the form of a huge pigeon; his best photo is in the Soviet Bus Stops album by British photographer Christopher Herwig. In Kyrgyzstan, as well as in the neighboring Central Asian republics, there are many stops with an unexpected design, on the old road from Bishkek to Issyk-Kul we met at least one more prominent one, in the form of a cap. By the way, the Kyrgyz themselves continue to wear their headdress to this day, and not only on holidays.

Photo: Renault press service.

We drive around Issyk-Kul in a circle, look at the mountain peaks on the other side – the hills are swallowed up by mist, it’s beautiful. On the south shore of the lake, we headed to the “Fairy Tale” canyon; on the travel site it is described as “an excellent Martian place”. And they don’t lie. The sandbank in front of the parking lot in the tourist spot allows you to turn off the stabilization system and go a little crazy, the main thing is to stay away from the thorny desert bushes, sorry for the paint.

On the umpteenth day of wandering around the lake and hundreds of kilometers traveled, we start our journey towards the capital, at some point we see another lake (after all, you will not be full alone), we go down the rocky serpentine to the shore to talk with the fishermen. Fishermen are willing to talk about autos, praising the availability of parts for the Audi 100 and idolizing the round-headed Nissan Patrol, showing no interest in the Duster, too far removed from the local auto market.

Photo: Renault Press Service

Arriving in Bishkek, we immediately mark on the map the most unexpected point of the trip – the Ak-Kula racecourse. An impressive building and a large area around it were built in the 1940s, but in modern times they were gradually abandoned, privatized and destroyed.

Local authorities speak of demolition, and fans of violent sports continue to play national equestrian games – it is dangerous to watch them from the collapsing stands, they watch from the field. You can enter the course by car, but you don’t want to get stuck in the sand – calling a tow truck to the racecourse would seem odd at the least. When visiting it, associations are born with the old Berlin Tempelhof airport, the same great empty space within the city. True, in the case of Berlin, it is already known for sure that it will remain a park, but Ak-Kulu can be built, there are talks.

We leave the suburbs, go to the center, we are surprised by broken Japanese right-hand drive cars in the Yandex. Taxi wrap: a different market, different standards. In the center, you can find several buildings in the spirit of Soviet modernism at once, the most unusual of which is the building of the Kyrgyz State Circus. As in many other cities of the USSR, it was built in the shape of a flying saucer. The lights run around the circle, enhancing the resemblance. There is almost no architectural lighting, as in other parts of the center – they save electricity.

The city itself differs little from its Russian counterparts (population – about a million), all the same bright shops, industrial landscapes, gray houses and old cars – not quite Europe, but not quite Asia either.

And we arrive at the hotel, where there are illuminated facades and glass, we hand over the keys. Thanks “Duster” for the trip. And thanks to Kyrgyzstan, we will definitely return.



Source: rg.ru

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