Sunday a day by the lake

31st August is Independence Day in Kyrgystan. It made kittle difference to our day by the lake which was just beautiful!

A cockerel crowing (as it seemed) in my left ear, woke me early. It had been a good night although occasionally interrupted by braying donkeys and yapping dogs.

It was very cold first thing, but by the time breakfast was over, the sun was bringing real heat to the day. After breakfast, we decided to take a walk along the lakeside and then turn in towards the hills and back to the camp. A good circular walk of circa three hours we thought. We found that Helen from Alice Springs and Peter, Keith’s bird watching buddy and an old friend of Helen’s, also wanted to walk, so we set off together.

The herds of sheep and goats, cattle and horses were all in evidence. Dogs of all shapes wandered around and chickens scratched in the dirt. Every now and then several young horsemen galloped past demonstrating their undoubted equestrian expertise.

Our walk first took us to the waters edge. Here cattle were being taken out on a narrow spit of land into the water. I am not sure of the reason for this but the reflections in the lake were delicious! For the first time I regretted not having a camera with a decent lens. We wandered along the lake edge for a bit. The water was very clear but the midges in the end drove us further inland.

Eventually the yurts for renting were left behind and there was just the single yurt homes of the nomadic herding families. As we swung round away from the lake towards the hills the ground began to slope and the lack of air became more apparent. Unlike Tash Rabat there were very few birds in evidence, but every now and then birds flew from the ground just ahead of where we were walking.

We walked back into our camp just in time for lunch. Post lunch there was a game of goat polo further along the lake. It sounded a bit like a boy thing to me, so I adjourned with my diary and a cool drink. It was very peaceful and the perfect setting with the lake in the background and occasional sheep and goat herds wandering past. Now and then the peace was disturbed when the polo game overshot and several horse men came thundering past only to disappear again in a cloud of dust.

Eventually the polo watchers returned and supper was set in motion. I offered the potato peelings to the chickens on the basis that the grass looks very unappetising – they have apparently had an exceptionally dry summer – but my overtures were rejected. However, the turkeys(!?!) who appeared a little later had no such qualms about potato off cuts and dug the peelings out of the fire where they had been placed to dispose of them. Luckily, at that stage, no fire had been started otherwise dinner would have taken on a very different dimension!!

Dinner consumed and the post sun set dramatic drop in temperature sent us ‘yurters’ off to a very early night enhanced by the dung filled stove burning away in our quarters. Interestingly the dung has no smell and sends out an amazing amount of warmth. Sadly it doesn’t last all night…….

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