I recently had the opportunity to take a trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with the CEO of Phenix Brands, former Marine “Godfather,” and creator of Mig Fuel, Ray Edwards. The trip was business in nature but I wanted to take the opportunity to get some information on the political climate firsthand. Due to Ray’s business relationship with the people on the ground, he had made good friends with senior military leadership of the country.

Lucky for me, the Kyrgyz’ love of vodka, bathhouses, and camaraderie provided me with an opportunity to learn how they perceive their current situation and where they want to go. I quickly discovered that the hospitality of the Kyrgyz people was something I had not seen in many of the other countries to which I have traveled. You could tell that they truly cared, and were engaged with you during conversation. They also work very diligently to find common ground to build a relationship upon.

Once we arrived in Bishkek at 0400, we were met at the gate by someone who took our baggage tags and shuffled us into private transportation. (We never saw this guy again.) We then arrived at a private waiting room where we were greeted by the man who runs the Manas International Airport as well as other key leaders in the country. We had chai and exchanged pleasantries while they got our bags.

We were soon en route to the hotel via police escort and armed guard. As we passed through intersections, I noticed that the adjacent streets were blocked off by police officers. It was about a 30-minute ride from the Manas Airport to the hotel. Every intersection along the way had been cordoned off prior to our arrival.