Sunday, August 31, 2014

Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Today started out with a 2 hour truck clean - washing inside and out.  Then, we were on our way and stopped for water.  Here are some cute kids who were just hanging out-

We drove a lot, trying to make Tash Rabat so we could enter China tomorrow, but we didn't.  We got as far as Naryn.  

This is along Lake Issyk Kul.  Notice the mountains in the distance and the cows and horses that are literally everywhere-

The last of Lake Issyk Kul.  We drove all around it!  It has beautiful blue hues but we didn't see one boat and only a few swimmers.  There are a few abandonned resorts along the way.  It's just really strange.  

We drove through river valleys, gorges, mountains, prairie - every landscape imaginable.  Check out the cool colours!

Here you can see the POS road we were on for quite awhile.  The poor truck just shakes and groans-

This woman was coming down a really steep hill in the middle of no where-

This sign says 'detour' in Cyrillic script.  I like it because it combines our letters and numbers, and reverses certain letters like 'n' and 'r'.  Kyrgyz is a Turkish language that has been written using a Cyrillic script since the 1940s.  Kyrgyzstan is in the process of changing over to a Roman alphabet.  Russian has official language status, but there is a push to use Kyrgyz as the official language of media, government and education.

We have a 5 am breakfast tomorrow as we're on our way to Kashgar, China!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jeti Oghuz, Kyrgyzstan

We had a great sunset last night-

This morning we drove east, south and a little west around Lake Issyk Kul to another bushcamp by Jeti Oghuz.  Close by is Broken Heart.  Legend says two suitors both died during a fight over the same woman.  This rock is her broken heart-

The other side forms the wall of Jeti Oghuz which means Seven Bulls.  The story is that these rocks are seven calves growing big and strong in the valley.  Erosion has caused more 'calves' to be born!

This is also the valley of eagles-

Melissa's not quite sure!

We camped beside this creek-

A few kilometers down the gorge is this open vallley-

We burned most of our wood last night as we're off to China!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan

We're on our way to Lake Issyk Kul.

The windshield repair men worked on the crack on the windshield for almost 3 hours and well, let's just say it was a valiant effort but.....

We had a super surprise this morning to find Marianne back with us!  She booked her escape flight through Russia and when she got to the Bishkek Airport, she learned she needed a visa to fly via Russia, even though she would be in transit.  So, she's back and we are all LOVING that and hoping to keep her with us until Sydney!

However, we are missing Kate.  She was with us for a few weeks but had to go back to the 'real' world of work and responsibility :( :( :(   

The people of Bishkek certainly live with a lot less, materially, than I am used to.  Here are some pictures of houses/garages and neighbouring houses, all squished together.

We stopped for lunch and this poor woman was also there-

Lake Issyk Kul is 170 km long and 70 km wide.  It's the second largest alpine lake in the world, after Lake Titicaca in South America.  Lake Issyk Kul never freezes because it is extremely deep, has some thermal activity and has mild salinity.  It's treated like an oasis in this dessert part of the world.

We're back bush camping and believe it or not, it feels good.  Quiet and cool with beautiful views!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

I've spent the last 2 days here, eating well and enjoying a beer or .......

Here is a monument to the Fighters of the Revolution.  She has a flag in one hand and is pointing with the other to those who gave their lives during the fight.

Kurmanjan Datka is a stateswoman and military leader of the Kyrgyz Alai.  

Manas the Magnanimous is the main character in the long poem "Manas".  He's the symbol of unity for bringing numerous Kyrgyz tribes together in dangerous times.

In order to get into China and pass the MOT test (making sure our vehicle is roadworthy), we need a new windshield and a brake part.  So, both were found after much searching - the part at the car bazaar and the windshield in a salvage yard.  However, when the two gentlemen were putting the windshield in, they cracked it!  They'll be back tomorrow to attempt to fix it!  The only Scania windshield in Bishkek and they broke it!

We're off to (Lake) Issyk Kul tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

We're Bishkek bound!

More herds of sheep along the way-

Unfortunately, we're losing "The Family" tomorrow :( :( :(  They've spoiled us with their great cooking and useful maps and guidebooks!

Lunch was dumplings-

Kyrgyzstan highway workers - literally sweeping the highway!

Dried fish for sale at roadside stands-

Tonight we went out for a farewell supper for the people leaving.  Here is Tony-


Greg and Alison-

Corinne and Jan-

Tim and Dave-

We now will spend 2 days in Bishkek!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lake Song Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Today is a big day for me.  It's the first day of school and the first time in 30 years that I have not had to be at work!!  This is going to be the first autumn that I can enjoy without the responsibility of having to be somewhere, doing something!  To all my teacher friends - have a great year!

Our bush camp-

Lunch was in the yurt-

This is their kitchen-

Our soup, with some kind of unrecognizable meat!

Here's where I slept-

This is my friend Marianne who is leaving us in a couple of days.  We will miss her :( :( :(

Because I was sleeping in the yurt toniight, I took my tent down this afternoon, at the windiest time (of course!)  My ground sheet took off in the wind and I had to make a quick decision if I would chase it or hang on to my tent.  I chose the tent and the ground sheet disappeared.  Kate ran after it but had to give up - it was going too fast and too far.  Eventually, with help, I got my tent down, then had the owner of the yurt drive me in her car to find the tarp.  Luckily it got caught on a boat in a ravine or it might have made it to China before me!

Off to Bishkek tomorrow - 3 nights in a hostel!  Hot showers!  Beds!  Yee ha!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kochkor, Lake Song Kol, Kyrgyzstan

This morning at 4:50, through my tent, I was looking at Orion and listening to the most beautiful singing - call to mosque.  Heaven!

We drove to Kochkor en route to Lake Song Kol.  This is along the way-

A typical sheep herder's trailer set up for summer-

I bought one shyrdak which is a layered felt carpet as well as a hand stitched wall hanging-

Lunch was a great salad and borscht-

Here was a drink stand!  Out of the trunk of a car!

On the way to Lake Song Kol-

Harvest time-

Lake Song Kol is 20 km across and 3016 meters.  There are a lot of yurts scattered in the hills, lots of horses grazing freely and many sheep- 

Dave and I were on supper duty.  Our yurt is the third building from the left.  Neal is wearing a traditional Kyrgyz hat-

We sat around the fire, drinking beer, listening to guitar having a great night!

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