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Old 04-10-2013, 09:08 AM   #58
eustachius OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Austria
Oddometer: 95
The Kyzyl-Art Pass is the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyztan. The Tajik border post is on the southern slope. When I was there two years ago, it was just some shacks and containers, but by now, modern buildings should accomodate the customs. A lot of construction work was going on then.
The official wanted to see the receipt for my immigration document. I had paid 20$ on entering Tajikistan, but nobody gave me a receipt, I was sure about that. We were discussing the matter in a friendly way, he offered me some tea and cigarettes and in the end I paid a 15$ 'fine', without getting a receipt, of course.
Some 100 metres further on there was the luggage check. A lazy sniffer dog smelled my bags. Tajikistan is an important transit country for drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe.
I went over the pass and then, some 15 or 20 kms north, it's the Kyrgyz border post. Customs officials were very friendly and they seemed to know what they were doing. Everything looked professional. I really don't remember about insurance for the Transalp, maybe yes.
I went on to Sary Tash. I left the snow-peaked mountains behind.

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This is not the pik Lenina, but it's not very far.

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I changed 100$ to Kyrgyz som in this 'shop' in Sary Tash, filled up and continued on to Osh. The mountains become very green, it's so different to the Pamirs, and there are lots of people herding their livestock.

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Osh is a busy town that offers you many amenities. Fresh vegetables and draught beer is a scarcity in the Pamirs. I was enjoying this Greek salad in a relaxed beer-garden in the park along the Ak-Buura River. Next came 2 gigantic shashlik and another beer or two. I was feeling great, everything was running smooth and more mountain roads were lying ahead.

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From Osh, where I stayed for 2 nights, I coninued to Jalal-Abad on a rather busy road. I was glad when I could leave the asphalt behind and go north-east to the Kaldama Pass. I was following a river, there were yurts and people who were offering me warm mare milk. Not my favourite drink.
It was easy to find good places to camp out.

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Looking back into the valley from where I had come.

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I met those French bikers on their tandem with trailer. They were on their way from Peking to Bretagne, amazing. We spent some hours together in a yurt. Locals invited us to have tea and bread with them.

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Between Kazarman (one of the very few places I was glad to leave behind) and Naryn I stopped in a little village to buy food and drinks. On a normal riding day I have breakfast and supper and little snacks between. And I drink lots of tea. This bottle of vodka was just for 'disinfection'.
It's mostly women who run these little shops.

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I was not sick after the vodka.

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I had the same model of Benz and Volkswagen, many years back. They are very common in Kyrgyztan, especially the Audi 100, which is used as taxi.

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Another means of transport, also very common.

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On the way to the Song-Köl, pastures, cows, yurts, rivers, blue sky in the morning.

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Always keep a watchful eye on the road.

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I wanted to camp up at the Song-Köl, but it was too cold and very often during my stay in this country it started to rain in the afternoon. So I decided to get out of the wind and cold and I went down to Sary Bulak. I camped near a river, hidden away from the road.

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The next day I went on to Kochkor and the Ysyk-Köl. I stayed on the southern shore.

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Looking south.

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Camp at the Ysyk-Köl. The water is fine, I go for a short swim and wash. I forgot to buy some beer for the evening, deep regret!

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I share some cookies with the locals.

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My Honda parked next to Valentin's side-car. Valentin runs the Yak-Tours in Karakul. He rents rooms in a typical wooden Russian house, with beautiful flowers in the garden. Karakul is a good place to relax and get prepared for some trekking in the mountains. I went up into the mountains with Valentin. There are hot springs right next to a freezing mountain river.

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The old wooden church in Karakul.



Courtyard of a family we visited on the way to the mountains.

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Ice cream, yummy!

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The rider was having a couple of drinks in the shop.

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Valentin, a former moto-cross champion and a great afficionado of motos.

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This is Valentin's right hand. I was sitting in the side-car. We were going up the mountains.

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Minor problem quickly solved.

I had planned to go from Karakul to San-Tash, cross the border to Kazakhstan there and continue to the Sharyn Canyon. Too bad this border was closed.
I consequently had to go around the lake on the northern side to Cholpon-Ata, Balykchy and on to Bishkek. I wanted to avoid Bishkek, but things turned out nicely again because I met some travel companions on the road.

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It's fertile land on the northern side of the lake, but farmers complain that they lack modern machines to exploit their farmland.

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Some work, others medidate. There was a very relaxed atmosphere along this lake. The season had not yet begun, but there were signs of an expanding tourist industry. Almaty is just across the border.

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Soon they will have mopeds and make a lot of noise to impress the girls.

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New York.

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These two gentlemen are Ruedi and Adrian. They were heading east to cross the Kazakh border at San Tash (the one that was closed) when I met them in Balykchy. They are Swiss on two BMWs GS1200 and had already been to India, Pakistan and China on this trip. They wanted to go to Mongolia so we decided to team up as long as we felt like it.

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Ruedi waiting at the Kazakh border.

eustachius screwed with this post 04-12-2013 at 03:19 AM
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