My flatmate (who shall be referred to as A) and I live on the first floor of an apartment block, like the majority of people in Bishkek (who live in apartments, not necessarily on the first floor). The windows have bars, and our door has several locks, but the first floor is notoriously susceptible to thieves and botherers. We've had a pretty good run, living here since January, but were slightly freaked out about thirty minutes ago. I had just gone to bed, and was listening to a little David Mitchell, when an almighty knock rattled my windows. I lay there paralysed for a few seconds, then jumped up and ran into the lounge room, where A and I reassured ourselves that it was just local kids being mischievous: I went to the kitchen for a drink - the only room in the house with transparent curtains - when the same thing happened. I ran out like a frightened rabbit, leaving the tap running, and dived into an armchair. A and I stared at each other in hysterical horror, until she was brave enough to crawl back into the kitchen, unseen, to turn off the light and the tap. After further conference, and being more annoyed than freaked out, she went outside to confront the culprits, who turned out to be some local guys with good English. Apparently, word has got around that two foreign girls live here, and as everyone knows, foreign girls are always up for a good time (!): so, these two Kyrgyz lads had decided to try their luck. The spokesman offered to take us out for "coca-cola" to make a "cultural exchange" and pleaded that it was a "cultural thing" to knock on the windows of girls, since knocking on the door would attract the attention of Soviet-schooled neighbours. I stood behind the door and had a mild hysterical fit while the conversation took place.
Anyway, after expressing displeasure in a polite sort of way, A got rid of them. For some reason (perhaps the accumulation of similarly unsettling incidents lately), I have been immensely disturbed by this violation of our privacy, and am now firmly ensconced on the couch, where I shall sleep in the knowledge that A is feisty, and a baseballer, and also has a knife.