We crossed the border into Kyrgyzstan and we were in a different world. For the second part of our trip we were only two and a driver. No more guide instead Sylvia was going to read to us. I am still wondering why she needed the book, usually she knows everything beforehand by heart. Our driver Tilek (to book him go to his Facebook page) waited for us at the Torugart Pass (thank God for this, Sylvia was very anxious about it) and in his car fresh fruits, bread and best of all hot coffee were waiting for us. Really we were in heaven. I was in love with Kyrgyzstan and its people right away.
The border formalities were short and quick and in no time were we on the road. It could not be compared to what we just had been through, the endless waiting, the checking, the further waiting. At the border here we were waved in front of the truck drivers go get our passport stamp first.
The road (built by the Chinese) was going through the middle of nowhere but so scenic and breathtaking that I couldn’t stop taking pictures left and right. Marmots were crossing the road, as well as cows, yaks, horses and what not.
Eventually we arrived at our home stay (or rather our yurt stay) which was just a short walk from the caravanserai Tash Rabat. We put our luggage inside a yurt which looked comfortable and cozy and went to the kitchen yurt for chai. After I had about a liter of chai I went to the outhouse for the first time (but definitely not the last one) and wondered how this was going to work out in the dark. Even though it was an outhouse, compared to China it was clean and even toilet paper had been provided (yeah, thank God for small favors).
Eventually we started to walk to the caravanserai and of course the rain commenced so that the last couple meters we sprinted to get inside. The building was from the beginning of the 15th century. On its site was originally a monastery, built somewhere in the 7th or 8th century. The caravanserai got renovated in the ’80s under the Russians which didn’t ruin its charms. It was beautiful to look at and easy to imagine how it must have been when it was still in use.
While we were inside the wet snow fall had increased in intensity and during the couple of hundred meters back we got completely soaked and my pants were plastered to my back. My behind didn’t warm up in the next couple of hours, I do hope this counts as cold thermogenesis and helped with the shaping of it.
We warmed up with more tea and then tried to nap, although without success. It was actually quite cold in the yurt and the wind was blowing outside. Our first night could be quite interesting in Kyrgyzstan, I feared already for the worst. While we were dozing though an English couple came in who turned out to be Ian and Jen and they would spend the night with us in the yurt. The more the merrier and it would be warmer.
Dinner was served in the communal yurt and it was a very tasty affair with a soup with small tortellini filled with meat (like chuchura in China), a tomato cucumber salad and then potatoes with a bit of meat on top (everything was also available in a vegetarian version for Sylvia). Portions were more than reasonably sized and afterwards we toasted to my upcoming birthday with a vodka shot that the English couple had in their luggage.There was to be no rousing party though, the night was too cold and I still felt a bit frozen from the afternoon. We put on as many layers as possible and went to sleep. Yours, Pollybert