I’m back onLine whoooopppeee so Now in Korog Tajikistan, having a rest day in a brilliant camp ground just over the river from Afghanistan, I can actually see the afghan flag flying proudly in the wind from my tent. It’s green black and red sun thing is very much like the scenery here, green and black mountains and boiling hot red sun burning down on us. As It’s Over 35 degrees just now but there is a wee wind to cool us down now and again.
So what have I been up too in the last 10 days since Kashgar and my last Internet or mobile signal, well we waved good bye to china and entered Kyrgyzstan, and it was mad as soon as we crossed the boarder, grass and birds in the sky appeared and lots of chirping from all directions , I never realised until then that we never saw or heard many birds in china.
The scenery of Kyrgyzstan just started getting better and better with every kilometre, it was so so beautiful , big massive snow capped mountains in the distance and green pastures to the left and right, amazing stuff with no cars or trucks or nothing on the road expect us cycling, beyond brilliant after the busy roads of china.
Our first night camp in Kyrgyzstan was super duper too , we camped in a field on a hill side with local nomads and their donkeys, cows , sheep and goats, I even wake to find Cows chewing n pooing next to my tent, a freshly laid cow pie next to my tent was a funny thing to see and smell you just cannot beat 😉 the local kids helped put up our tents, and mallet in our pegs they were so helpful and kind it was great so I put on my tiger onsie for a laugh and cased them about pretending to be a tiger, after that I gave a few of them the lovey loome bands that my cool niece Ruth made, they loved them and then we all played football and near night time I needed up playing drafts (checkers) with their mum, I let her win obviously , so not to be a bas guest :-). Ok she kicked my ass and I was trying my best 🙂 the only bad thing was the stupid donkey eeeee owwwing all night long, I wished shrek would come along and take it on long long journey.
So the local drink in Kyrgyzstan is fermented mares ( aye horse) milk , it was all right not too bad tasted kind of like home made cider very earthy and bitter not bad at all and a wee bit alcoholic so I drank a few of jug fulls,
In most of the valleys or hillside in Kyrgyzstan there were nomad people in kind of old Russian Mobile home things, also parked next to them were new cars , we stopped at a few for some more mares milk , some yak butter and sugar and tea they were so friendly, we found out lots of them love in the city or town during the winter and for 4 months of summer time they come to live with their horses, cows and sheep in the most beautiful valley in the world looking after there live stock , it as so beautiful, green, sunny and most had satellite tv, it seemed to me to be the best live style ever.
We had many steep Steep climbs up paid of with spectacular out of the world views , loads of Meadows , flowers, bird song, but best memory must be Riding bike down a huge hill at 67 kmph with a Heard of horses galloping next to me man it near ly brought a tear to my eye, it was so awesome.
We had a rest day in a place called Sari tash, where there was a roughly built house and a few yurts to sleep in, it had a wee (burn) stream for the village so only drinking water, the electricity was off and on all the time , it had no Internet or mobile coverage. It was fantastic. I bought a bottle of blue embroidery lady vodka for $2 it went down very smoothly and didn’t give a banging headache the next day. When we were in sari tash it was the World Cup football but we could not get A tv signal, but we did manage to get a txt a few days latter with the score, well done Germany !
Much of out time there was spent Chillaxing in the yurt listen to tunes and me thinking off buying one or two yurts for a new venture? I’ll have to come back to Kyrgyzstan aswell so let’s see, they cost from $1000 to $5000 so it might be a good idea for a few festivals and parties in the future? Might cook my dumplings in them too 🙂
Next big adventure was the next camp site near a dried out lake thing where the locals Slaughtered a lamb for Sashlik, the Kyrgyzstan version of a lamb kebabs, they tasted brilliant and even helped with the BBQ starting.
Also it was here Frosty got naked and rode a dokey ( I mean get on his back not shag it 🙂 but maybe he did latter , you never know with these ozzies 🙂
So next up we head off to Tajikistan with some Tough climbing over 10% gradient switch backs and up to over 4300 m meter, near there was the Tajikistan Border crossing we had to wait in cold for ages while the forms got filled and passports to be a stamped, after that we went Down hill on so shit corrugated road it was really tough on my hands and bike and even nearly lost my water bottles with the shaking. Eventually we hit some normal Tarmac road and we got a Tail wind which blew me along at 55 kmph with no peddling , that was another superb moment, riding next to a massive lake (karakul) where we stayed the night next to the lake in the village , it was a very local village for local people with a local shop (league of gentleman reference ) we had to get a man on the street to go and find the shop owner who was repairing his house, he came and opened the shop which had everything you ever think of that you might never need? Super mario figures, glue, magnifying glasses, Hugo boose aftershave , 5 year old biscuits, posters of Britney Spears, photos of other American blonde hair Hollywood stars and most importantly super size snickers.
After that we had more climbing and hard cycling then we camped on a green field next to a wee stream with some local family in tents , the some made me green tea and fed me more yak butter and fresh bread , it was the tastiest and best thing every after a long day In the saddle. I gave her daughter a loome band as a thank you. The women took me out side to see their big massive yak, she was indicating that it was going to get killed for food, what I didn’t realise was that was going to happen in 5 mins, so the men came from nowhere and lead the yak over to near the stream, they were trying to calm it down but the yak knew its time was up, they dug a wee hold and tied its legs together so it fell to the ground, it didn’t give up without a fight and it was wriggling around like mad and trying to get free, we watching from the side lines, taking photos and wondering how they are going to Kill the yak, then a rope snapped and the yak kicked one of the men hard , we crapped ourselves and got a bit further away. They got more rope and retied it, this time there was no escape. The men said a prayer wiped their faces in a prayer motion then got out a huge knife and slit its throat, blood gushing out its neck, the yak gasping for I air making horrible wheezing and gurgling noises, they split the throat further apart more blood more yukky 🙂 noises, the yak kept on breathing or making noises for ages it was quite harrowing it was a very long death, but it was how they have done it for ages and it was the halal way, eventually the yak stopped making noises and they started skinning, slicing and separating the body parts. Over 350kg of meat and bones, we bought 10kg and had the freshest and best yak bourguinone ever. I still think maybe a gun would be better for killing it but I think that’s not halal , it gave me lots to think about and how it’s mad and strange that we in the west are so separated from our food sources and all the killing etc is so hidden away from us, we just go to a super market and it all nicely displayed in a wee plastic packet clean and no sign of the animal it came from? And how in the old days our ancestors used to do this for their meat, it certainly make you appreciate the effort involved in getting a good protein rich meal. Anyway It was the perfect dinner for the next days highest climb of the tour at over 4600 meters on dirt switch back roads, again very hard going because of the altitiude, heat and some over 10%gradients. But I eventually Made it to the top and gave a big moonie bum show to the waiting TDA staff at the top 😉 and the best thing ever happen we had a big beautiful bendy Tarmac downhill road and my random music started playing the Proclaimers “I’m on my way” from misery to happiness today, ah ah ah, one of my favourite songs ever, so I whisked down the hill signing my heart out about greeting (crying) for no reason?
That day near the end I had a strange encounter with a man in a cow field in the middle of nowhere, with no sign of a car or nothing ? I was cycling along and I shouted hello Salam etc, He shouted back in prefect English how are you where you going? I stopped immediately and spoke to him, he was a English teacher, I said what you doing out here? He replied I’m looking for my cow.! Ok I said what dose it look like? He went on to say It’s black with a white face, if I don’t find it my wife will be very upset, I’m sorry I said I have not seen it , he said thanks and offered to house me assist me with where am going and things to see! It was a very strange encounter that had me baffled on how he got there and if he ever did find his cow? Hope he did fingers crossed!
We luckily stayed in a hotel at murgeb that night and got delicious spagetti soup, lamb pasties and lamb shashlik served in another cosy cool yurt. We explored the funny shopping street which it all made out of shipping containers, turned into shops selling everything from hats, scarfs and mars bars.
Next up we cycled to our camp site at a hot springs, another long hard head wind filled cycled so it was ace to eat some more great food at the got spring then go and soak in the boiling hot water. It was pretty manky and dirty but I did not care I just wanted to ease my legs, it felt great, however that night was not so good I had mistakenly camped where the hot spring dog hung about so all night it howled and barked, I had to throw my sandals at it and still it wouldn’t shut up Frosty even hit with a stone but still it howled. This went on all night, also I kind of had the shits I was out the tent 7 times pooing in the field and feeling crap so no much sleep for me, I woke up a very unhappy camper 🙂 with a 130 km to ride that next morning.
I took the 130 km easy style stopping loads of time chats with the local and to drink coke eat biscuits, twixs, ice cream and anything I could get my hands on. Eventually I made it to Korog, after some specular Scenery , very friendly locals, excited kids , cheering passengers,
Another mad experience that day was we also met a man driving a very posh white land cruiser, he had a missing finger and was carring a hand gun, loads of bullets in a harness and in the back of his car there was a Kalashnikov machine gun, he was being friendly and got out his car asked where we came from , I said scotland he was was all happy saying celts ,celts and miming wearing a kilt, so I knew he was truly friendly and not going to shoot us all, he got his machine gun out and proudly stood for photos ,so we took some photos and he wished us all the best, we found out latter he is a local character who was once in the army and the fought against the government in a civil war a few years ago, and he is a bit crazy and he “protects” the town? Just another day on the Silk Road 🙂
Any way I’m off for food now , going to a Indian restaurant In Korog
For a few Dhals and a beer
Am loving the 2 Stan’s I’ve been in so for , so beautiful and friendly, however really suit Internet so no many blog posts, or photos or Facebook sorry. I will post load when I get better connection.