Monday – the road to Bishkek

We woke to a beautiful sunrise shining into the window of the tent. It had been a cold night but the day soon started to warm up.

Some of the joy of our close proximity to the water did evaporate as we grappled with a sandy tent and a number of very long legged spiders who had taken up residence and seemed to think the Ritz the place to take a spidery vacation. I fear some will still be with us at our next camp……

We left the lake at around 9.00 am. Back through the wooded area, over the pasture land and back on the road, continuing our journey westward to the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek. I am not sure why – may be the heat, may be just accumulated tiredness – but I dozed most of the 7 hour journey, as did most of our travelling companions. It was a strangely quiet day in the truck. There is usually some chatting and repartee, but for this particularly journey the only sound was silence.

Now and again I woke up, and was conscious that the buildings further along on this northern shore were much bigger and hotel resort like. We even saw a big wheel. However, we eventually left the lake behind and at one stage the route had high rugged cliffs on either side of the road. Another highlight of the day was passing the site of the first Nomadic Games due to take place on or around the 9th September. It is interesting that something that is being heralded as a big event for Kyrgyzstan does not have an actual specific start date so near to the time – perhaps it is a ‘Nomad’ thing, but from what we could see the buildings were not yet completed – brinkmanship or what?! Apparently it is being put together by school children and military personnel. Saied was particularly jaundiced about the whole affair and not at all impressed or optimistic about the venture. I was thrilled to know there was to be UK representation – at what I am not quite sure – arm wrestling perhaps?

Whether it was in anticipation of more business because of the said games or perhaps they are always there, but we came across some stalls by the side of the road selling fish, purportedly trout from the lake but in any event they look quite colourful, if a little dusty!

We reached Bishkek about 5.00 pm having taken about an hour out for a roadside lunch. Having spent so much time in rural areas, the city came as a bit of a shock to the system. Bishkek is a very modern bustling city with a lot of modern cars, shopping malls and a surprising amount of tree lined squares and parks. It was originally a small local town but was built up by the Russians the 20’s and still has a very Russian feel to it.

It was good to get to a nice hotel and find ourselves again and send things to the laundry. I hand over the bag of laundry almost as soon as I walk in the door of these places. Hand washing is a bit tricky as most home stays and hotels have no plugs in baths or basins.

We ate out as a group in a very up market restaurant, with an open air area in the middle. We had good food but it was not universally popular with the group and I just find the whole settling up business on these occasions just excruciating.

A taxi back and clean white sheets made for a memorable evening.

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