Category Archives: Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan – Reunions and Reverie

8/11 – 8/13  Osh (the other city in Kyrgystan besides Bishkek)

Exhausted and mentally drained from the Pamirs, I was much in need of some comfort in Osh: a shower, large portions of nutritious food, and most of all–a place to vegetate. Luckily, at the beginning of my trip in Turkey, through word-of-mouth, I was added to an email list for people who were cycling the Silk Road this year. Because of this, I found out from other cyclists that I could have my own room (and bathroom) at the Stary Gorod Hotel in Osh for only 300 som ($6) per night. What a deal! Other cyclists I met paid that much just to camp. Thank you fellow cyclists for the inside scoop!

From the outside, the hotel looked half abandoned apartment building. To get there, you had to weave through a flower shop, walk across a disheveled courtyard, and squeeze between two collapsing concrete walls. Of course, in typical Central Asian style, there were no signs, not even at the front door to tell you that you were at a hotel.

Eventually I found Mira, the friendly manager of the hotel. She spoke some English and from the moment I met her, she took care of me almost like a daughter. She lived alone in one of the hotel rooms so I think she was very happy to have me as company. The rest of her family was living and working in Russia. Despite its sketchy looks from the outside, the hotel was comfortable on the inside, with several simple, clean rooms on the second floor. Later, I learned from Mira why the rest of the building and the neighborhood looked so shotty: the buildings were set on fire during the Osh riots in 2010, and she (and her neighbors) hadn’t had time or money to repair the damages. The riots were a result of some ethnic clashes in the city. Mira said the issues have since been resolved and there was no need to worry now.

P1020803simple comforts for the weary. my own hotel room!

With such comfortable accomodation, I decided to stay a few days in Osh. While other tourists went exploring the city, I did practically nothing the entire time. Sometimes you really just need to vegetate. I bought myself a huge jar of honey and lemons from the bazaar to ease the cough and spent most of my time resting as much as I could. Simply finding lemons at the bazaar was a delight! Citrus doesn’t grow in these parts of the world, so they’re hard to find.

Compared to the Pamirs, Osh was filled with lots of goodies:

P1020809the bazaar in Osh was one of my favorites–very lively and bustling. also, there were goat heads (with eyes and everything) for sale! Sorry I don’t have a picture of them!

P1020804Uyghur laghman–noodles with yummy meat sauce. Uyghurs are from Xinjiang Province in China. One plate at a fantastic price of $1.25. Although, I had to eat two plates to fill me up for a meal.

 

P1020805Which cell phone number would you like?

P1020806Beijing Market in Osh: where there is karaoke! and Chinese restaurants! Moshii and I went to the Shanghai restaurant for dinner one day. Everyone working there was Chinese, and all the customers eating there were also Chinese (local workers). It felt so good to understand their language and order food in Chinese. The other amazing thing at the restaurant was the TV had CCTV (Chinese satellite channel that we also get in the US), and it was showing the same dating show that I watched with my parents (don’t ask…) before I left!

P1020807gulyash lunch

P1020811Turkish bakery with lots of yummy baked goods

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8/14 Osh -> Ozgen

After 4 days of proper food and rest, I was fit enough to continue cycling again. Though I still felt low in spirit (the thought of another dirt road or uphill was almost unbearable), I told myself it was all mental. Worrying and moping about in the city wasn’t going to improve things.

From Osh I decided to take the main, paved road to Bishkek. Originally, I had wanted to take an alternative route to visit the more scenic parts of Kyrgystan but that would entail many more steep uphills and bad roads, which sounded miserable at this point in time. While riding out of Osh, I felt a bit defeated for being too tired to take the scenic route, but after a day of cycling alone, I came to peace with myself. One of the best things about cycling alone is it gives you the time and space to think through things. I reasoned:

1) “The mountain will always be there”– MITOC Winter School saying that means “You can always to come back!”

2) Next time, I’ll know more Russian

3) Next time, with a fresh start, I’ll be excited about dirt roads and mountains

4) Next time, maybe you, my friends, can join me for a REVENGE trip to Kyrgyzstan, where we’ll take revenge on the places I couldn’t take on this time.

P1020812P1020819looks like the American Midwest. Corn and hay!

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8/15 Ozgen -> Kochkor-Ata camp field

In the morning while I was resting under a tree, feeling tired again, I saw a cyclist. The yellow panniers on the bike looked vaguely familiar. Was that Marko from Slovenia?! Yes it was! I had met him 3 months and 5 countries ago in Tbilisi Georgia…waaaay back when I was with Mehdi and Mahyar (remember my Iranian friends?) Seemed like a decade ago, a different trip–it was incredible to see him again! Back in Georgia, we had talked about cycling together but he was stuck in Tbilisi sorting out visa issues and became at least 2 weeks behind me. I never saw him again…until Kyrgyzstan!

Turns out, he also cycled the same difficult route as me through the Pamirs, and he said the Pamirs destroyed him to pieces too. He had to rest 2 days in Osh and eventually he even decided to go home (also because he got a job offer). After talking to him, I felt much better about feeling so weak after the Pamirs. I wasn’t crazy after all. An important lesson in self-respect!

Marko was also headed to Bishkek and we decided to travel together. After meeting Marko, I became even happier about my decision to take the main road. Ah, how things always work out for the better! Marko and I couldn’t stop marvelling about the paved road and abundance of well-stocked shops and teahouses. Many other cyclists said the main road from Osh to Bishkek was one of the most boring roads, but I think they just couldn’t appreciate it like we did.

The next 7 days on the main road became one of the best bike touring I’ve ever had: lots of eating, barbecued meat, cold drinks, swimming, and summer-time joys!

P1020818jarma, local fermented drink of barley and yogurt. Marko says, BLEGH. I say, this just tastes like watery yogurt with barley.

P1020820Marko and I find camp on a field. Three high-school boys who lived nearby visited us at dinner. They gave us a large watermelon and jarma. We learned from chatting with them that they really liked Justin Bieber. Really? Yes.

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8/16 Kochkor-Ata  -> camp with expedition guys (Max, Theo, Calum) and Thomas

Luxury bike touring to Bishkek continues:

P1020822obligatory melon stop. Marko says: Boy, I’m going to miss those melons when I go home to Slovenia in several days!

P1020824lunch stop at teahouse. shashlik–barbecue meat. mmm….

P1020836beautiful views along the Naryn River

P1020838started seeing stretch Hummer limos as soon as I entered Kyrgyzstan. definitely one of the wealthier Central Asian countries. this one was for a wedding.

P1020840large hydroelectric dam

P1020842P1020843following the Naryn River gorge, reminiscent of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington and Oregon

In the afternoon, as we were riding through the beautiful Naryn River gorge, a car passed us and we heard lots of shouting and honking. When I looked up, I saw a familiar looking car. It was the expedition guys I shared an apartment with in Dushanbe! Incredible to see them one month later in Kyrgyzstan. And boy, did we had stories to tell! They succeeded climbing Mt. Christopher Ward (mountain named after their sponsor), of course with many adventures along the way, such as: one lost his passport when his backpack rolled off a cliff into a roaring gorge, two others ripped their pants open, and one hitchhiked through the Pamirs after their climb.

P1020844Who’s that? The expedition guys from Dushanbe! One month later, now in Kyrgyzstan, with many stories to tell–I of cycling the Pamirs, and they of climbing Mt Christopher Ward.

P1020845Camping together with the expedition guys. Max tells us about meeting a French guy who is travelling to Istanbul by horse. the French guy spent 3 years in Kyrgyzstan looking for a suitable horse; he used to be a shepherd in the Swiss alps. Also, Thomas defines “embassy pants”–the one “clean” pair of pants you have on a bike tour for going to the embassy when you apply for visas; unfortunately for Thomas, his embassy pants ripped the last time he sat in a taxi to get to the embassy. When that happens, you just have to walk with your legs together like a very proper lady.

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8/17 camp -> Lake Toktogul

Feeling free — smooth asphalt, wind in hair, lake swimming. Free at last!

P1020850some big uphills (but paved road!) in the mountains

P1020854descending to the vast Lake Toktogul. sweet downhill on sweet asphalt.

P1020860P1020858found camp on the shores of Lake Tortugol. Swimming!! And a local gave us a free watermelon! Pure bliss.

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8/18 Lake Toktogul -> Toktugul (town)

P1020863massive truck accident

P1020865sweet sweet pavement and scenic views of mountains and lake. bike touring doesn’t get better than this!

P1020870Toktogul town

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8/19 Toktugul -> camp after Ala-Bel pass

Up a HUGE pass. 2100m = 7000 ft elevation gain in one day!

P1020872breakfast of loaded honey and butter. i don’t think i’ve ever put that much butter on bread before.

P1020873Honey, fish, berries: lots of goody stands on the road. i also love how the locals can use coke bottles for almost everything.

P1020876some of the most beautiful horses i’ve ever seen

P1020874Kyrgyz country

P1020879P1020884Raspberries were being sold by the side of the road, but the problem was they were only being sold by the bucket. Since the buckets were huge and too much for us to consume, Marko and I kept riding to see if other stands would have smaller portions. Finally, one stand offered to scoop out some raspberries into a small plastic container. Little did we know, Marko and I would devour the small container within seconds. So then we decided: what the hell, GO BIG OR GO HOME. With that, we bought the rest of the bucket. 500 som ($10) for a whole bucket of raspberries–worth of gold! After we couldn’t finish it all, we filled our water bottles and pots with the rest of the raspberries.

P1020886P1020889lots of Kyrgyz yurts/containers on the way up.

P1020887a curious little Kyrgyz onlooker. too cute!

P1020890P1020894lunch in a Kyrgyz yurt on the way. more barbecue meat (shashlik)!

P1020896local yurts drying kurut–tart, dried yogurt pieces

P1020900P1020901the climb just went on…and on…and on…forever. beautiful countryside of Kyrgyz yurts, horses, herders and their animals

P1020902finally, reached the top at sunset! greeted by this boy who wanted me to take a photo of him. that happens a lot in Kyrgyzstan.

P1020909camp in the mountains, shortly after pass.

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8/20 camp -> quarry camp after Too-Ashuu tunnel
P1020911weee….downhill!
P1020912statue–Kyrgyz style
P1020916P1020920local yurts selling dairy products such as: kymyz (fermented mare’s milk and national drink of Kazakhstan); kuurdak (pieces of offal); kurut (tart dried yogurt pieces); kaymak (creamy butter)

P1020922the WALL between me and Bishkek–how I dream of pizzas and burgers and non-Central Asian food
P1020923P1020924more interesting converted containers. Panda says: how many photos can I take to procrastinate from climbing THE WALL? Marko says: Nothing to it, but to do it!
P1020925

P1020927a very dark, very dusty, very scary tunnel: last obstacle before Bishkek. I had heard from other cyclists that you weren’t allowed to bike this tunnel, but apparently it’s possible now. In the past, the tunnel had several incidents of people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning because of improper ventilation (if a car broke down and you were in the middle somewhere, you were screwed). Now there is a police officer who limits the number of cars that can go in at a time. Inside the road was filled with large potholes, unfinished asphalt, and other obstructions. But according to Marko, this was a “good” tunnel for Central Asia. Marko went through several tunnels in Tajikistan that were even worse (the Chinese had started building the tunnels there, but the projects ran out of money so the tunnels were left unfinished. Basically, those tunnels had a hole through the mountain, but not much else).
P1020930it’s all downhill from here!
P1020931last night of camping before Marko goes home to Slovenia. don’t get all sentimental now…

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8/21 quarry camp -> Bishkek
P1020933P1020934massive Chinese-built gas and power plant
P1020937Final push to Bishkek! With of course, ice cream and watermelon in between.

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8/22 – 8/27 Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan)

Arriving in Bishkek at the hostel, I was greeted by a whole stack of bikes in the courtyard. Apparently this was the hostel where all the bike tourists were. Many cyclists were stranded in Bishkek because almost everyone was headed to China but the Chinese embassy stopped giving out visas here. Now they were all trying to make alternative plans. Lucky for me, I got my Chinese visa at home (good unexpected planning!)

My goal in Bishkek was to get a Kazakh visa. The paperwork was fairly easy, but I had to spend 5 days waiting for the visa. In the meantime, I met a lot of travelers at the hostel. One German guy (who was born in Kyrgyzstan) worked for a solar company also (for 8 years!) He was the only other solar person I’ve met on the trip.
P1020943many cyclists at the hostel in Bishkek (Nomad’s Home)
P1020944Kyrgyz plov
P1020945All along, I spoke Russian with random words because I just had a dictionary. At the hostel, Rob (English cyclist) gave me a Russian grammar book! Now I can actualy make sentences–so excited! (Except after 3 days of reading the book, I realized that Russian grammar doesn’t make a lot of sense)
P1020946Dungan (Chinese Muslim) cuisine–ashlanfu–cold spicy noodle soup, very YUM
P1020947Dungan cuisine–ganfan–rice with meat and veggies, also very YUM
P1020952strolling around Bishkek…
P1020953…with bubble tea!

 

Pamir Highway, Part 3 (Final) – Murghab to Osh, Kyrgyzstan

***For Pamir Highway summary, skip to the end of this post.

8/5 Murghab -> cow-smelling abandoned building before Ak-Baital Pass

P1020646the bazaar in Murghab–a collection of converted containers

The evening before when I entered Murghab village, I decided to spend the night here because I still had a shortness of breath, and it seemed worse now that I developed a bad cough. I just hoped that the altitude wouldn’t make my body any worse.

As I was walking through town looking for a place to stay in Murghab, I happened upon two older women (50 years old?) on the street. They were headed to the village bathhouse and they asked if I would like to join them. I did.

It seemed that most homes in Tajikistan didn’t have showers or baths; they only had toilets. If they want to take a bath, they must go to the bathhouse. This bathhouse in Murghab was different from the hot spring bathhouse in Zong. This one had A SAUNA. I didn’t even know that saunas existed in Tajikistan; seemed too luxury. But there it was!

The bathhouse also seemed to be a social space for local women. While we bathed, the older of the two women  I met on the street started chatting and asking about my life and my trip. The older one spoke very good English. She spent 25 years as an English teacher in Murghab. Now she is a customs officer at the Chinese border. The younger woman was also a customs officer. The two were sisters.

After bathing, the two invited me to their home. I spent the night talking to the younger woman’s kids, who were teenagers. They had some trouble with English, but they welcomed the chance to practice.

P1020644the younger woman gave me this drink to try. apparently, its just tea and sugar, left to ferment. it tasted very good — like a slightly fizzy juice–and was not alcoholic.

P1020645drinking from the well in Murghab

In the morning after breakfast, I bade goodbye to the two sisters and headed off. I still didn’t feel great, so I took the day extremely slow. I still had the cough and short breath, and this time my stomach had a little indigestion, and my lips had a few blisters from sunburn. Throughout the afternoon, I put up my tarp (to protect against the strong sun) and took 1-2 hour breaks. Since there was little I could do under my small tarp, I whipped out my Russian books and started studying Russian. Still productive!

P1020647P1020649

Despite slow-goings, I managed to make it 20 km before Ak-Baital Pass — the highest and most difficult pass of the Pamirs. By the end of the day, the wind had picked up to a very strong headwind, so I called it an earlier night than usual when I found this abandoned building where I could hide from the wind. Only downside was it smelled mildly of cow-poop.

P1020651

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8/6 Ak-Baital Pass (highest point@ 4655m) -> the shores of Lake Kara-Kul

I left early in the morning at 6am to try and beat the afternoon headwinds. The last several days had a general pattern that mornings were calm, and then around 3-4pm the winds would pick up, and they were always headwinds. Not nice! Especially if you’re tackling the highest pass on the entire Pamir Highway.

P1020657P1020659on the way to Ak-Baital Pass, the road passes right along the Chinese border. Although the actual border is 1-2 km away on top of the mountains, the border posts are right next to the road for convenience sake. Sometimes, there were gaps in the border fence. *gasp* someone escaped!

P1020665Ak-Baital Pass @ 4655 m (15,300ft). Ak-Baital means “White Horse” in Kyrgyz

At the base of the pass, there was a nice sign (one of the only signs in Central Asia I’ve seen) for Ak-Baital. I was feeling pretty happy at that moment (see picture)…

Then the uphill started. It was SO INCREDIBLY STEEP. I don’t know how much grade it was, but I knew just by looking at it that I could not bike it. I had to push my bike. So I started pushing. But there was a severe lack of oxygen. Every 10 steps, I had to rest 2 minutes, wheezing the entire time. I set targets for myself: “Just get to the next road marker. You can do it! *wheez wheez wheez* Try to look at the beautiful mountains! *wheez wheez*”

P1020666on the way to the top of Ak-Baital

Eventually it took me 2 hours to push my bike from the bottom to the top. I didn’t see anyone the entire time–no cars, no trucks, no cyclists–just me and the mountains.

Then, about 20 m before the top (I could see the blue sky on the other side!), two jeeps came up the road. As they passed, I saw inside the jeeps were a large group of Asian tourists taking pictures and videotaping. Several minutes later, I looked up and saw one woman walking towards me: “Ni shi zhongguoren ma? Are you Chinese?” I said yes and we started chatting while she helped me push my bike the last few meters.

They were a group from Fudan University in Shanghai and several of them were my age. It was so incredibly beautiful to get to the top of the pass and to celebrate with so many people. We didn’t have drinks or anything to eat–just their company was enough to fill me with giddiness and elation. (If the Fudan University group is reading this, THANK YOU for celebrating the top of the pass with me!!)

Also, THANK YOU MOM AND DAD for forcing me to learn Chinese from a young age–it has given me so many opportunities to connect with people all over the world on this trip, even in the seemingly most remote places!

After chatting for awhile, they continued on and I was left to soak in the amazing feeling of being on top of the world.

P1020676P1020679On the way down from Ak-Baital Pass

From here, my guidebook said it was 77km of downhill, so I thought it would be a piece of cake. Turns out, it was not as simple. The road was very rough, very bumpy, and very slow. It’s times like these, though, that teach you patience. Yes, the road was rough, and I was feeling tired and sick and lacking oxygen. But never before have I seen mountains like these, with no one around, and not a sound in the air.

After awhile, I stopped to cook myself a nice meal. I realized that in trying to get over the pass, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal since 18 hours ago. While cooking, I was admiring the utter remoteness of the place, until an unexpected visitor appeared out of nowhere. It was a teenage Kyrgyz boy on a donkey. Where did you come from??? I couldn’t see anything besides mountains for miles and miles.

The Kyrgyz boy was eager to have a conversation with me, despite my “chut chut” Russian. He explained that he lived in a yurt with his sister and parents a few kilometers down the road. They normally live in Karakul village, but in the summers, they are way up here herding sheep and cow. He continued to tell me that he just finished high school, and that he was going to university in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan starting September. I was impressed (and happy to hear) that though he is living in Tajikistan, he still has the opportunity to go to university in Kyrgyzstan. It was also remarkable to me to imagine this teenage boy, who is way out here now in the mountains herding sheep, will go to the big city soon and attend university. Seems like two different worlds that would never cross. But I guess for this boy, it doesn’t seem so strange.

Finally I got back onto nice road, approaching the dazzling, mystical lake of Lake KaraKul. I set up camp somewhere on the shores of the lake but I didn’t sleep well all night because of my cough. When I couldn’t fall asleep though, I marvelled at the incredible clear night sky full of stars.

P1020690P1020692the shores of Lake Karakul

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8/7 Kara-Kul -> camp with Moshii @ 10 km before Kyrgyz border

In the morning, I arrived at a police checkpoint and was stopped by barbed wire and this STOP barrier.

P1020699STOP hammertime! at military checkpoint

With MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”  playing in my head, I walked up to the barbed wire gate. Everything was eerily silent at 8am. I called out “Tourist!” No response. “Tourist!” A voice grumbles. A soldier pokes his head out of the tent and beckons me inside. The space was damp, dark, and musty with only a small kerosene lamp providing a glimpse of life. I could imagine the harsh living conditions of army barracks.

There was another soldier still sleeping in bed. He was the soldier in charge. He was shirtless but had a blanket cover. While still in bed, he checked my passport, asked me the standard questions of my purpose of travel, and filled out his registration book. After he finished he bid me “Udachi! Good luck!” and rolled over to sleep again. “Sleep well!” I said.

Indeed. Hammertime!

P1020700Karakul village playground. Lake Karakul behind.

In Karakul, I found breakfast at one of the guesthouses. Breakfast was fried eggs, bread and apricot jam, and chai. I was very excited about the fried eggs. Normally at home, I don’t often eat eggs for breakfast, but here in Central Asia I crave them. PROTEIN. Other travellers staying at the guesthouse were also having breakfast, so we had a nice chat together.

P1020702Other travellers at the guesthouse in Karakul

P1020709P1020715360 degrees panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, turqoise blue Lake Karakul, and green plains

Back on the road, I met a few other groups of travellers. One was a Swiss-Malawi couple traveling in a giant RV camper from Switzerland around Central Asia. Another was an older German couple on bikes.

After some flat I headed uphill to the border with Kyrgyzstan 50 km away. As I was riding on a steep uphill, PING. Oh no! Another BROKEN SPOKE!

P1020734Broken spoke #2 on the Pamir Highway

Again, the broken spoke was on the non-cassette side. While sitting by the side of the road replacing the spoke, I heard a familiar voice. Looking up, I was greeted by Moshii. Moshii! I was sure he was somewhere in front of me and that I wouldn’t see him again. Turns out he spent 2 nights in Murgab. We joked that Moshii would show up every time I broke a spoke.

Since this was my second broken spoke, I started worrying about whether my bike would survive the rest of the journey. I didn’t have any more replacement spokes. Moshii reassured me that one broken spoke wasn’t going to make much of a difference. If the wheel is strong, it’s meant to handle a lot more. As we set up camp, he continued to tell me of all the wheels he’s destroyed on previous bike trips–across the Great Divide and in South America. His stories eased my fears and I was convinced my bike was going to be OK. I just needed to buy some extra spokes in the next city.

P1020735P1020737biking/camping with Moshii again

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8/8 10 km before Kyrgyz border -> camp with Moshii @ Sary-Tash, Kyrgystan

Next morning, Moshii and I followed our own schedules again. Couple kilometers down the road, I met an organized tour group of cyclists. They were nice and let me have breakfast with them at their camp. They were also headed to Kyrgyzstan and Osh.

P1020739P1020741To the Kyrgyz border and beyond! The snowcapped mountains on the right are in China.

The Tajikistan border post was just before the top of the mountain pass. The Kyrgyzstan border post would another 20km after the pass. To get there would be a crazy-insane-rumbling downhill on gravel road.

P1020750Hello Kyrgyzstan! Top of Kyzl-Art Pass, the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgystan.

P1020752P1020753Kyrgyzstan is GREEN

P1020755P1020756On the downhill, there was a gigantic mudslide that completely blocked the road. Trucks and cars were parked on both sides, unable to pass. Here trying to cross is the organized bike tour group and an Israeli motorcyclist.

P1020765P1020767Looking back at the Pamirs and Tajikistan

P1020768P1020773Onto the plains before Sary-Tash. Organized bike tour group has lunch. Two strange domes that seemed to be someone’s house or animal stable.

P1020774P1020775Sary-Tash village

By the time I got to Sary-Tash village, it was 3.30pm. I had been fighting a strong headwind for several hours and was waiting until Sary-Tash to have lunch.

P1020777Really hungry by the time I got to Sary-Tash. Lunch-dinner at a restaurant. This is manti–steamed dumplings filled with meat and onion. Good, but I still prefer Xiaolongbao.

After lunch-dinner, Moshii found me again by the side of the road and we decided to find camp together.

P1020780Chinese construction camp. I love the little shack that says “Shang dian/ Magazin” which means “shop” in Chinese and Russian, respectively.

P1020781camp with Moshii just after Sary-Tash

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8/9 Sary-Tash -> camp with Moshii @ after Gulcha

The next day started off with a huge climb up another mountain pass. Not just a regular mountain pass, but a DOUBLE pass. You climb up one, then descend 100m, then have to climb back up even higher. Boo.

Good news was after the pass was pretty much downhill all the way to Osh. A day and a half of downhill! Like.

P1020782yakety-yak!

P1020784Chinese construction crews on the way up the mountain pass. Many of the workers didn’t look Han Chinese, but rather Uyghur or Kyrgyz.

P1020785Uphill, again, for a double-peak mountain pass. Kyryz yurts in the valley.

P1020787Finally! Big serpentine downhill!

P1020788P1020791Kyrgyz villages. Also, painted lines and asphalt roads!!

P1020792P1020794colorful valley with cool rocks. The valley kept changing colors too. There was a strong headwind, but the downhill overpowered it.

P1020797beshbarmak for lunch. meat with noodles.

That evening, when I was walking around a river looking for a campsite, I saw something move between the trees. It was Moshii again! Peek a boo! Moshii had already set up camp. It was funny that Moshii and I unexpectedly found each other for the last 4 days in a row.

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8/10 Gulcha -> Osh

When I said it was downhill all the way to Osh, it was actually not true. There was one more mountain pass this day. Nothing like thinking you’re at the top of the pass, when suddenly the valley opens up and you see a wall in front of you with switchbacks.

You can tell how tired I was when I got to Osh by the lack of photos.

P1020800pilmen for lunch. dumpling soup.

P1020801P1020802riding into Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Official end of the Pamir Highway.

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Pamir Highway Summary:

– two broken spokes

– not much proper food. in the shops, everything (i mean everything) was expired including snickers bars, pasta, juice, and instant noodles.

– a nasty cough + mentally and physically drained to the limit. the Wakhan valley route was definitely a lot rougher and tougher than the alternative Gunt Valley route.

– BUT take a look at this elevation chart. Really really really proud I made it! And that makes all the difference!!!