OTHER

The Numbers Game

See Boris Go
Author
See Boris Go

Living arrangements in the post Soviet Russian world are set up a completely different ideology for numbering of their apartments. Just one of the weird oddities that make you go Hmmmm. In the US, for example – if you lived on the fifth floor, all of the apartments on that floor would start with the number 5 {501, 502, 503 etc}. In Ukraine however, I lived on the fifth floor and the number of the apartment was 99. Because it was the 99th unit completed and sold, on the floors above me – there were several units that had lower numbers, because they were completed and sold earlier than the unit I occupied. At least this is the story I got from the neighbor; it could be that they were just a little drunk when the numbering began … ;)

In Bishkek, it is another idiom all together. I live on the second floor, but the apartment number is 33. It is because it is the THIRD main door to the building – and the third vacant apartment in the staircase corridor. There is a manager's apartment further down the stairwell – that has no number at all, so I have no idea how that messes up the subsequent units as you go up the floors. The building is an old Soviet style block house – but the units are renovated inside. Rent in Bishkek is about $200 a month, so cheaper than Ukraine – but the utilities and wi-fi are not included, so it should even out to about the same 250 or so for a month. Not bad for a one bedroom, large den, private bath set up. This would easily be a $1000 space in Seattle, I am glad I am not paying those prices for it!

There is new construction all around the city, and Bishkek seems to be doing well past the global 'recession'. A new 1200 sq ft 2 bedroom condo can be had for about 30K. This is down town center, near all the parks, shopping malls, and government offices. Parking is still open lot behind a security fence – there is not underground parking nor garages on the new highrises – with few exceptions.

Right across my street is a large park, and many of the foreign embassies are very close. The streets are full of more Mercedes and Lexus than I would have expected, there is indeed money in this town. Most of the roads outside of the capital are paved in a 30/70 ratio, and those that are paved, have more potholes than an adolescent has pockmarked acne holes. It is a place where if you are leaving the down town corridor, you need something with ground clearance. 

The Numbers Game