The Taj – Kyrgyz Boarder was fairly uneventful. The Gents were asked for several contributions to the boarder guards’ cognac fund (presented with convincingly fake “Compulsory” Vetinary Declaration Forms) which were met with a jovial but firm “jog on sunshine”. Otherwise we had made it to Kyrgyzstan! To make up for our early start and lack of breakfast, we stopped, Peak Lenin in the background, to made eggy bread and butter fried Stroop Waffles. Arteries straining, we bombed down the road to Osh, Kat getting the stunning stretch of down hill switch backs. (Jezzer Clarkson – eat your heart out). Kyrgystan boasted road, actual tarmac with markings that denoted the diffrent lanes. Moral was high!
We got to Osh and the couples divided. Kat and Tom headed to a homestay while Jon and I lowered the tone by checking into the dirtiest hotel the town has to offer. Lowering the tone further we enjoyed beer and two dill (why must everything have dill on it?) infested pizzas at the local Hookka Bar.
Osh, Kyrgystan’s second biggest city, is backed by Suleiman Too (Soloman’s Throne) a craggy mountain. Our morning began with a jaunt up said hill, Jon and I disappointed by how much our legs complained despite the altitude training we had completed in Taj. We were rewarded by a peek in the Dom Babura (prayer house) and a spectacular view of Osh and the surrounding relief. We then headed to the infamous Osh Bazaar. It did not disappoint. Every item known to man must be housed under these patchy roofs. We came away with some fleece lined, over the elbow marigolds, 1/2 kilo of dried apricots and an akwardly long cuddle from a gorgeous Babushka.
The team pilled in the car and started the drive out of Osh towards Arslanbob. And then it happened. “BOSH” We had survided the aggressive Albanians, the gently incompetent Georgians and the lackadaisical Uzbecks. We did not survive the downright drunk Kyrgyzs. On a narrowish lane we meet a truck. The driver displayed as much spacial awareness as a yummy mummy picking up Antigone from fencing practice and, scraping past us, he took one of our rear door hinges with him. Much to our dismay our gappy door was even gappier and no longer really working as a door. Despite a half hearted rant at the offending driver we were aware there was little we could do so we got back on the road. Next stop – a large walnut forest. And maybe a welder.