For us, Kyrgyzstan was the perfect mix of tenting/ outdoors activities and town/homestays for a bit of civilization. Only a bit. Kyrgyzstan was one of the many central Asia countries where our interact cards did not work and most banks did not honour our Mastercard. Few merchants accepted credit cards either, so our USD were the way to go.
|Loo stop in the mountains and a family|
stopped to ask for photos. Of course we agreed, as
long as we could take one too.
|Hiking up into the walnut forest. Didn't really need the hiking poles as|
we were walking along a cart track. Local families harvest the walnuts as a
source of cash.
|Back to our homestay in the back of a pickup truck.|
Not a tuk tuk - perhaps a truck truck?
|Ok, some of the nights were a bit cool|
|Everybody rides horses. Probably before they learn to walk.|
|This wee girl had mastered sitting cross legged and carefully|
lifting spoons of soft icecream to her mouth. Grandma had
brought the kids for a treat.
|Of course I had some. Even though I was pretty sure the sanitation|
standards weren't the best. It was delicous.
|Check out the gentleman in the background in traditional dress.|
|At our homestay. A working treadle machine in our room.|
|Yurts in the high country|
|Aren't the mountains beautiful? We were at about 3500 meters|
so these mountains on the western edge of the Himalayas
went up about another 3000 meters or so
|Begaim negotiating with the Russian rafting guys|
|Ready to go. A few km from here, the river is the border|
with Kazakstan (the two countries do not have good
|Lake Issyk Kul. Kumtor mine (jointly owned by Canada)|
is across the lake.
|Some of us thought the water was warm enough for|
|Thanks to Nico for setting up this photo|
|I didn't understand why we kept running into flocks of sheep |
that had many different breeds until Begaim explained that the
shepherds were hired by many farmers to take the flocks up
to the high country and care for them til fall/
|We got to take army surplus jeeps to a hostel outside Karakol|
for three days of hiking. Poor Calypso couldn't make it.
|Traditional design on man's felt hat.|
It used to be that each design indicated which
family you belonged to
|Felted and decorated yurt.|
|Bringing back the lamb for dinner.|
|This fellow belonged to the village, but he hung around our truck watching|
the crazy visitors.
|Take a few sand mats, some tent poles, some wire and|
you have the perfect barbecue pit.
|It was fancy dress night. My costume was a fairy.|
|We've circled around the lake and now it is quite desertlike|
|At our next homestay. Lovely food. Shower (ok, 10 of us had to|
share, but it was luxury after days in a tent)
scotch from Bruce for Cal's birthday
|A bit of retail therapy at the felting cooperative|
|This one came home with me|
|This hand powered machine sews the felted pieces together |
to make Yurt walls
|Starting our felted art work|
|The group working together|
|wrapping in burlap, adding boiling water, tying it up|
|and then dancing on it|
|I think Wayne had the best moves|
|Add soap and water and roll and mush|
|Patterns that I'm used to in quilting, but created with|
felted fabric thick enough to keep you warm in your yurt.
|The roof of a yurt. Check the flag for Kyrgyzstan for the same|
|Heading to Song Kul|
|Our first yak (very telephoto). They soon became|
a common sight
|Our tent had quite the lawn ornaments.|
Until the wind threatened to blow them to the next valley
|Our felted masterpiece needed to be soaped and washed |
in the lake and dried four more times.
|Coming along nicely. The hiking situpon|
came in very handy
|These guys were the local experts and made sure|
that the teams were evenly matched
|This fellow was the coach - and had words to say to|
|Everybody was there for the game|
|Our last night before heading to the border. The hosts were|
Russian, so the yurts were a bit non traditional.
The dining tent had a quilt!!
|View from the loo in the early morning|
|Last photo before the border. About 50 km to go before|
the last checkpoint