Kicking it with the Kyrgyz


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Asia » Kyrgyzstan
July 4th 2008
Published: July 4th 2008
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The old man with the wooden leg grinned across the low table at me, a mouthful of gold teeth gleaming in the candle-light. Raising his shot glass high, he waited for the rest of the table to fall silent, then looked me right in the eye and barked something in Kyrgyz, eliciting growls of assent from the men around me. I didn't recognise the word, but his sentiment was clear enough; it didn't matter... Read Full Entry



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Flowers in the garden of Marzey's Guesthouse, (Karakol)Flowers in the garden of Marzey's Guesthouse, (Karakol)
Flowers in the garden of Marzey's Guesthouse, (Karakol)

And this one's not a secret. =P Korolkova str 86, (phone: 5-55-55 or 5-55-54).
There's a swing-seat right at the end of the gardenThere's a swing-seat right at the end of the garden
There's a swing-seat right at the end of the garden

The perfect spot to relax at the end of a long day.
I got up early Sunday morning, to walk out to the huge Animal MarketI got up early Sunday morning, to walk out to the huge Animal Market
I got up early Sunday morning, to walk out to the huge Animal Market

Apparently one of the largest in Central Asia, it had large sections set aside for horses, cattle & sheep, (as well as a few station-wagons loaded with squealing piglets).
Horses being shod, at Karakol's weekly animal marketHorses being shod, at Karakol's weekly animal market
Horses being shod, at Karakol's weekly animal market

Apparently one of the largest in Central Asia.
Karakol's Holy Trinity CathedralKarakol's Holy Trinity Cathedral
Karakol's Holy Trinity Cathedral

Russian Orthodox services have been conducted on this site, (initially in a yurt), since the town was first founded.
Horses grazing, beneath the red-stone bluffs of Jeti-OrguzHorses grazing, beneath the red-stone bluffs of Jeti-Orguz
Horses grazing, beneath the red-stone bluffs of Jeti-Orguz

'Jeti-Orguz' means 'seven bulls' in Kyrgyz; reflecting a legend in which the stone bluffs were originally bulls.
The road north to KarakolThe road north to Karakol
The road north to Karakol

I'd hitched a ride down this road, from the nearest town, with a trio of disturbingly-drunk locals, all hugs & beery sentiment. =/
The road south past Razbitoye Serdtse, ('Broken Heart')The road south past Razbitoye Serdtse, ('Broken Heart')
The road south past Razbitoye Serdtse, ('Broken Heart')

Legend has it that two men fought over a woman here, staining the ground red with their blood before they both died. The cleft rock is her broken heart...
Jeti-Orguz sanatoriumJeti-Orguz sanatorium
Jeti-Orguz sanatorium

Lonely Planet calls it "Central Asia's leading contender as the most likely place to be haunted". =P Definitely a strange place.
The sanatorium's 'mineral pool'The sanatorium's 'mineral pool'
The sanatorium's 'mineral pool'

Slimy walls, dark corners & a dank, musty smell... Relaxing indeed. =P



4th July 2008

well written
I really enjoyed reading your experience in Krygyz. Nice photos too. I would love to see more pics from your hike, and the Krygyz countryside.
4th July 2008

Hey man, never read any of your entries but this one was great! Very engaging narrative.
4th July 2008

HBK!
haha loved the story of the gold miners and the beautiful young kyrgyz woman! cheers for the insightful, informative and above all entertaining first blog on central asia. eagerly anticipating the next installment!!! :P
4th July 2008

Look out for shepherds!!
So glad you are back into writing blogs!! I have missed them, and this one certainly makes up for the break. You have a happy way of making friends and attracting attention!
4th July 2008

What an entertaining blog. :) I am going to Kyrgyzstan in September. I am relieved to hear that the visa on arrival can be easily got but am getting concerned about those drunken men I keep reading about in blogs about Kyrgyzstan. Hopefully they leave women alone. Or hopefully I can at least avoid them by not wandering around at night. Mel
5th July 2008

Thanks for the postcard Michael. Enjoyed your blog - like you I knew little of Central Asia and you have, as always, engaged my interest and infomed my intellect. Also like the mix of travelogue and poetic prose. We are off to the Svalbard islands week after next - a rather tame cruise compared to your adventures! Look forward to the next installment.
5th July 2008

Nice Blog !
I really enjoyed reading your fascinating stories about the Kyrgyz culture, especially about the "Bride Kidnapping" 'cos it actually happened to my grandfather's sister. Although bride kidnapping is not a tradition or even remotely a cultural thing back in our country, my great aunt was kidnapped by an obssesed suitor and tried to force her to marry him....my great aunt thought she'd rather kill herself and be shamed to eternity than marry a "Psycho"... to make the long story short, she pressed charges and got him jailed ...
5th July 2008

What!
What happened to the fight?! I was all geared up and excited! Welcome back to blogging though, ive been waiting for ages :)
5th July 2008

I've been waiting for your return to blogging!
Well-worth waiting for, Michael! You have met some very interesting people along the way and your vivid descriptions certainly bring them to life. Hope the next installment is up soon! Watch out for drunken shepherds and vodka-drinking women!
5th July 2008

Thanks Pradipta
thanks very much pradipta, and i'll definitely try and put up a new blog soon about the time up in the mountains!
5th July 2008

Thank you Michael :) I am looking forward to your next blog.
6th July 2008

what a wonderful country
Michael, I can understand your disappointment with the bathes at Karakol - a once was beautiful place. Did you go to Burana Towers? Well worth it - steeped in history on the silk route. I like you writing style, you should be a travel writer. Then you whole family could write the articles. You have all treaveled so much. Bless ya Nick
9th July 2008

Love your work...
Hey Michael, awesome blog as always. I wish I could write as well as you! Look forward to your next blogs. - Kate.
29th April 2009

beautiful writing
very interesting place ...

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