Friday, August 15, 2008

Aida's Trip to Colorado

Lafayette, CO - Wow... two days of solid rain here in Lafayette. Gives me some time to catch up on blogging. I have one week before all kinds of craziness starts happening so... I better get posting.

The photos in this post go back to July 14th, when our friend Aida Aftandilova from Kyrgyzstan came to visit.

Suwei & I met Aida on a bus from Tuktogul to Osh in Kyrgyzstan last summer. Aida is a student at the American University in Bishkek & she was on summer break. She was in Tuktogul visiting family and was returning to her hometown of Osh with her mother, her little sister, her cousin and her baby brother. In Tuktogul they were all trying to figure out how to fit all their stuff and a kid's bicycle into the very full bus while Suwei & I were trying to figure out where the heck the bus was going. Aida ended up helping us out with Kyrgyz to English translations and we helped get the bike in the bus.

During the next few days Suwei & I were treated to an incredible amount of Kyrgyz hospitality. The most I have ever experience from strangers in all my travels. Aida & family helped us make the bus transfer in Jalal-Abad, at another stop they bought us a watermelon, they invited us to their home for dinner, they borrowed a friends car and took us on a tour of Osh, they gave us souvenirs, treated us to snacks, took us out to eat for lunch and dinner. It was crazy. And although we were extremely grateful for all their kindness, we were also a little embarrassed, as they would not let us reciprocate. Here is a link to our blog entry on Osh if you want to see some pictures:

Well, here it is one year later and we hear that Aida is coming to the United States. Her school, The American University of Central Asia, has a work travel program and about 70% of the students in her class were planning on spending the summer working in the US. After some confusion we learned that she would be working in Cincinnati, OH. Suwei & I debated driving out there and meeting her at the airport. However between the high gas prices, a long boring drive between here and there, and no flight information, we decided to scrap our plans. That's when we thought it would be pretty cool to show her a bit more of the states than just Cincinnati. So, when Aida was able to take a break from work, we got her a ticket to Denver for a week long visit in Colorado.

I'll have to ask Aida what she enjoyed most, but here are some of the things we did while she was here:

- Shopping in Boulder
- Ate at a local Tajik Restaurant.
- Bike Riding at Dillon Reservoir up near Keystone
- Lunch in Breckenridge
- Checked out the views from Vail Pass and took a backcountry route to the small town of Red Cliff.
- Wandered around Denver's Downtown.
- Saw an IMAX film about Greece at the Museum of Nature & Science
- Met up with one of Aida's friends from school (Ibragim Merzahmedow who is working here in Denver in the same work travel program), joining him for dinner and an evening stroll.
- Took a day trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Forced her to meet all of our friends at a Sunday evening BBQ at the house.
- And finally... more shopping in Boulder.

I really hope she had a good time and hope that we were able to return some of the hospitality she and her family showed us while we were the travelers.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Here is the link to the slide show:

Aida's Trip to Colorado.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mount Sanitas, Boulder, CO

Lafayette, CO - Ok, I have a very short post from back in June. June 15th, Suwei and I took a little day hike with her parents out to Mount Sanitas, just to the northwest of Boulder. It's only a 3 mile loop with a 1255 ft elevation gain, so we figured it would be good for starters.

Mt Sanitas tops out at 6863 ft. Way back when, the area was used as a quarry, the scars still showing today. Now the area is packed with folks running, walking, and.... well... limping up to one of Boulder's most accessible peaks.

Mount Sanitas

Here is a link to the slideshow.

Mount Sanitas- Day Hike, Boulder, CO