Well I seem to be a bit rusty and there seems to be far too many options to “enhance the user experience” but I am hanging in there, now to add a few pictures and see if I can get them to sit in different places on the screen, here goes
This is Dushanbe an interesting town I think it has the largest Flagpole in the world
Well someone has to don’t they
The pictures of local ladies is typical of the region and they did not seem perturbed in the lease by our presence
Not sure what the boxes were for but they looked very specific
So now back from list format to paragraph and another picture
Well that went ok so maybe I have got my mojo back , we shall see if I can now reproduce this on my laptop.
Well here we are back in Bishkek again and off to the Museum which was shut a couple of days ago.
We are told that the local hero here in these parts is “Lenin” yes the very one I saw in someones garden the other day. It would seem that early on he visited the area and told them that he would champion their cause and they have loved him ever since so as other places pull down their statues or shuffle them off to quieter places and the eternal conversation about moving his tomb from the front of the Kremlin continue in Kyrgyzstan they just keep polishing them. It is funny how people see the same things very differently. These people a the time were the runt of the Soviet litter and were so far away from the center that anyone who would look after them could be considered some form of saint (although Saints were not actually allowed under the Soviets).
They also like their horses
We come across yet another wedding as we pass through the city now I mention this as I try and get a picture of the carriage they used take a look at the bottom left of the picture it is really a Cinderella coach.
Interestingly we are now off to our last market. (well you are tomorrow)
Our guide has been on about some “special” event and this is it, a 2 hour trip on the lake which to be fair is a bit special as now I can legitimately say I have sailed on the two highest navigable lakes in the world.
Now apart from that the vodka and snacks served did help as it was quite cold for some and we had great fun throwing scraps to the seagulls (how the hell did they get this far inland ??).
Lake Issyk Kul was a stopover on the Silk Road which is why it is on the itinerary, it was a land route for travelers from the Far East to Europe.
Many historians believe that the lake was the point of origin for the Black Death that plagued Europe and Asia during the early and mid-14th century.The lake’s status as a byway for travelers allowed the plague to spread across these continents via medieval merchants who unknowingly carried infested vermin along with them. There was a shepherd in the surrounding hills who died of the Plague only about 6 weeks before we got there (the government sent in a team to eradicate what ever was the cause straight away)
There is a huge Sanatorium and I do mean huge it looks the size of a hospital but of course it is empty and not quite finished nobody seems to know when (or if) it ever will be, sometimes these good ideas dont quite work out.
So off on the road again towards Lake Issky-Kul which seems to be in the back of beyond but our guide book reliably informs us that in summer it is the “Cancun” of Kyrgyzstan with loud music bronzed bodies and immoral behavior. Although this poster we pass seems to indicate some dubious habits can be found here. Interesting name for a toothpaste dont you think ?.
On the way we stop off for crisps and coke and I get pan handled by some guy trying to get money remarkably he does it in English but he still does not get any.
when was the last time you saw a coal truck (If ever for the under 30’s)
Well I have to say there was nothing untoward going on when we get to the hotel it is not as lively as the book advises however the place was a revelation in as far as the set up as there were cabins and small two story accommodation blocks which had around 10 units each. My room was adequate but it was built really for summer occupation and the place was almost empty. Not sure why when there was so much lake to see we are put at the furthest point away from it and facing the wrong was but hey we are only here one night so who cares. The grounds were very well laid out with hundreds of rose bushes and apple trees.
Issyk Kul (also Ysyk Köl, is an endorheic lake (that just means it does not drain into anywhere the water only comes in not out) in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume and although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes hence its name, which means “hot lake”. Lake Issyk Kul has a length of 182 kilometres (113 mi), a width of up to 60 kilometres (37 mi), and covers an area of 6,236 square kilometres (2,408 sq mi). This makes it the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America. (been there done that it is so high up and the oxygen level is so low I had a lot of trouble keeping my cigarettes lit)
Interesting anecdote we are at the site where Nikolai Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky 1839 – 1888 is buried, he was a Russian geographer and a renowned explorer of Central and Eastern Asia. Although he never reached his ultimate goal, the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet, he traveled through regions then unknown to the West, such as northern Tibet, modern Qinghai and title=Dzungaria>Dzungaria (northern Xinjiang). The reason I mention this is I have just finished reading a book on explorers trying to reach “Lhasa in Tibet” and this guy was one of the first to try and fail however there were many more eccentric people who continued to attempt the same feat and after it someone actually manager to get in around 100 years later they found a dirty disgusting place with smelly people with bad manners. The English of courst sent a party of soldiers and got in quite easily against a people who had little defence.
So on the road again and ever onward we are off to Kyrgyzstan or to be correct The Kyrgyz Republic
This will be our last border crossing and we need a few hours to get there (and a few to get through it if recent history is to be repeated) with some interesting scenery as we travel through some quite barren areas.
The road to the border takes us through vast plains of nothing punctuated with a few stray horses dotted around. There is literally nothing going on here but given we are in the ninth largest country by size with a population which is 63rd at 16.4 million which means they have 6 sq km each which is more than enough for anyone and probably too much if you want to go next door and borrow some sugar.
The Border which is our last on this trip is only marginally different from all the others. We have as usual to decamp from the coach and drag our cases with us over some shoddy paving into a room with 4 border guard stations. The difference this time is there is no visa required as this means that the locals can go back and forth at will and they do it constantly mainly be pushing into the queue in front of the more polite tourists. This is fine for the first 10 or so but then I decide enough and place myself and my case in a blocking position and every time someone tried to bypass me they got a leg full of case. Pretty soon they stopped trying and move on to another line with a higher success rate. Once through the Kazakhstan side we walk over the usual no mans land bridge which must be the actual border and congregate in front of the Kyrgyzstan customs officers who appear to be very polite although their boss is less so. Our Passports are collected and taken off into a small room for what ever process the locals use. What ever they are doing they are constantly interrupted by more “none locals” come and deposit their passports. Eventually we get ours back and scramble through the last control point and our coach is waiting although it is in the wrong place and some loud many with a machinegun is insisting it moved before we get on. Now I have a rule the man waving the machinegun is always right so only another 400 meters and we are back on the bus.
We travel for 20 minutes or so and stop for lunch at a place we really should have driven past, The place was rather dirty and the food was poor and I can not describe the toilets. If I can find it on “Trip advisor” then they better watch out.
Onward we travel to Bishkek and on arrival find that for some reason most of it seems shut. We have a list of things to see and all of them are closed.
The town itself is well laid out in grid format so it must be a new place however it does look like it could do with a bit of TLC.
Not one of the fountains (and there are many) are working and by the look of them have not worked for some time either. Now to be fair we are in the poorest of the Stans and it is possible that the only reason there is anything here is the Russiand used this area for lots of things they did not want people to see or know about.
Given we can not visit anything we have a stroll around and we see some more buildings which are in a much better state and more in keeping with a capitol city.
This parking I though was funny.We got embroiled in a wedding which was going on close to one of the monuments and we got roped in as guests for the photo shoot.