Saturday – return to Karocol

We had breakfasted on porridge and packed away our equipment in our big Russian trucks by 9.00 am. We had acquired a few more passengers – some people whose vehicle had broken down on the upward journey and had to be rescued by our Russian entourage during our stay. They also had pots and pans and cooking utensils, so it was quite a rattley ensemble that bounced and bucked down the track like a lot of marbles.

All was going as well as could be expected for this sort of enterprise until we met a herd of about 200 sheep going in the same direction…. There was a screech of brakes as both vehicles shuddered to a standstill. I am not certain, but I don’t think tough Russian drivers like being held up and particularly don’t like it when the reason for the hold up are of the four footed variety. I think the shepherds on horseback loved every minute of it!
The sheep made no effort to move but just kept trotting along at their own pace. We dawdled behind them for a bit but in the end a halt was called and the drivers sucked heavily on their cigarettes to show their dissatisfaction at the delay. So are the mighty fallen! What a hoot!

Eventually the sheep turned off and we completed the journey back to Karocol only to find that our rooms in the home stay where Penelope had been parked among the roses, dahlias and marigolds were not going to be available until after lunch. So we sauntered down towards the town and had lunch in a very nice cafe. I had ‘herring under a blanket’ – it was delicious and very Russian. Apparently, although there are still a lot of Russian influences in the town, Russians now make up only a small percentage of the population and they are leaving all the time, a similar situation to Kyrgystan as a whole where the Russians are down to about 4%.

It was good to catch up with the girls again who looked so much better.

The afternoon was spent showering and becoming human again as we were due to set off to the wilds again on Sunday. It was a good afternoon of just chilling having found that we had unexpected, and slightly temperamental, wifi access.

I carried out some much needed truck cleaning aided by a bucket of water obtained by dismantling the garden watering system.

Supper was at a new restaurant that had just opened. It was an interesting place. It was certainly the best restaurant decor we have seen although the neon lighting was a bit stark – with some lovely ceramics and hangings – and the food was good. What I could not work out was why, when the staff although very pretty had not got a clue, the menu’s were already in tatters……..

We saw a car with a GB number plate outside – the first I have seen other than Penelope’s. It seemed a long way ‘off piste’.

The ride back to the home stay was almost more terrifying than our return from the mountain as two ‘young blood’ taxi drivers saw it necessary to race all the way back.

Somewhat jangled we adjourned to bed.

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