14th September 2018
Yurt life in Kyrgyzstan is pretty awesome! The peace, the stillness, the scenery, the food, even despite the lack of showers from all of the group for 4 days and a long drop toilet or two between us. These things seem to not matter when the views are so stunning though. Our first day in Son Kul camp, situated right next to a lake, approximately 3000metres above sea level, is fresh and sunny. We had arrived the day before all a bit tired from the flights to Bishkek and hazy from the altitude but ready to hike up to the petroglyphs for stunning views over the lake after a huge breakfast of home cooked bread, honey, jams, porridge and eggs.
The weather was perfect and clear although dropping down to -1 at night but this was made bearable by the cosy dining tent and the individual stoves that were lit in each yurt, while we ate dinner, to keep us warm through the night.
The stars were so clear each night, the milky way so clear and vast above our heads with aboslutely zero light pollution.
Our final day finished off with helping to erect the yurts ( a challenging proposition) and watching the local horse games, including the famous kokboru (the aim of the game is to place a freshly decapitated goat into one of the goals - in this case a tyre on the ground. It's similar to polo, except with an animal carcass).
Kashgar market, what I would give to have witnessed this 500 years ago, despite not being back in its heyday, it still retains much its charm and authenticity. The smells must have been the same at least, the smell of animal, of dust, of the samosa's cooking in the ovens, the smell of raw meat, frying vegetables and noodles.
Camels don't feature so much anymore in the markets, I guess the scooters and three wheeled tuk tuks are a faster and more reliable modes of transports! A couple of horses rest in the corner next to the goats, horns all different shapes and sizes.
It's interesting watching a couple of farmers stroking and assessing the various bull's, weighing up which one is worth their valuable yen.
Young children help herd up the families livestock, the sheep, the cows. They all stand perfectly presented next to each other, row after row.
It's incredible to think how many livestock are required each week, how many people gather each week, this market has been tkaing place every week here for centuries!