Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | February 12, 2008

Things that Dangle from Rearview Mirrors

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. July, 2007.

Ya tebye lyublu

This post is partially in honor of Valentine’s Day (see that lovely heart?) and a recent dream I had that put me back in Kyrgyzstan trying to speak Russian to a taxi driver. I’d forget every other word, then accidentally speak Kyrgyz instead.

What the world needs more than dreams or valentines is a comprehensive list of things that have been observed hanging from rearview mirrors in a certain post-soviet republic. Ian and I never did get around to making our calendar in honor of these creations, but I will pay homage the best of the best here, in order from most unusual or intriguing to most common.

1 ) Eagle or hawk talons

2 ) Anything in a particular triangle shape (wide base and short height)

3 ) Chinese New Year-themed stuffed animals (including a hot pink chicken sighted during the year of the rooster)

4 ) Discarded AOL CDs

5 ) Evil Eye beads (meant to prevent the evil eye, not bestow it)

6 ) Prayer beads or Koran quotes

7 ) Manas poems and illustrations

8 ) Air fresheners (these are so boring and typical that they’ve actually been sighted in American cars)

This photo captures the best ever rearview mirror ensemble that I witnessed during my two years in the Peace Corps. There’s the poofy red heart that reads: ya tebye lyublu (that’s Russian and I bet you can guess what it means) and prayer beads and some strange yarn ball AND an eagle claw. besides all that, there’s a bobble-headed bull dog attached to the dashboard.


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