Paul R Byler


Paul R Byler

I love traveling and learning about foreign cultures.

Asia January 7th 2014

December 14th Aktau was overcast, windy and the temperature was slightly below freezing when I stepped outside at 9:30 AM on December 14th to catch a ride to the Mangyshlak train station. Catching a ride in Aktau is pretty easy as people just stick out their hand and some random driver will usually stop in a matter of minutes and today was no different. A small blue Korean made car soon stopped and I quickly stepped back so Jyldyz could negotiate the fare. Most of the locals assume I am one of the many Caucasian Russian/Kazakhs that stayed after the breakup of the Soviet Union as long as they don’t hear me speak. Therefore Jyldyz always does the necessary negotiating because if they find out that I am a foreigner the fare will quickly double or ... read more
The Deaf Lady's Baby

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Yssyk Kol August 2nd 2012

Stop #7 August 2nd 2012 Karkara Valley After a good night’s rest we were once again ready to head out. Being we didn't get to bed until late it was already quite late when we got out to the car. Greeting us there was a very flat tire and being the tires were already bald I didn't want to leave without a spare. I quickly changed it, which I was getting quite good at by now, and we were off again. We looked for a restaurant that was open with not much success and to add to things it began to rain. It seemed the weather was quite unpredictable and could go from very hot to almost cold in a short amount of time. We finally found a tire shop and had the tire fixed and ... read more
Small Shop
1916 Uprising Memorial
San Tash

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Yssyk Kol August 1st 2012

Stop #4 August 1st 2012 Ananevo We soon arrived in Ananevo where there was supposed to be some remnants of an old settlement called the Cossack settlement that was founded in 1890. We asked around and were not able to get any information on it from all of our stops and inquiries. I soon chalked it up as another map error as they seemed to be quite frequent and headed on to what was going to be our next stop, called Svetly Mys. We did stop at a nondescript café out in the middle of nowhere and got some dumplings and tea. The price was 230 SOM, very cheap and the smallest bill I had was a 500 SOM note equaling approximately 10 USD. They told me they didn’t have change and thinking it was a ... read more
Orthodox Monastery
Ancient Armenian Catcombs

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Yssyk Kol July 30th 2012

After marrying my fiancee, a local Kyrgyz lady, we decided to spend a few days traveling around Lake Issyk Kul and the surrounding areas. Not knowing the area very well and being it was difficult to find any relevant information online, I finally found a map in the library in Bishkek. Once I had purchased the map, I discovered that it had listed 20 areas of interest in on the map. There wasn't much information on location or details of any sort so there was not much of a guarantee that we would be able to find these places, but we decided to have and go and see what we could accomplish. We left from Bishkek on July 30th borrowing Meerimbek (my brother-in-law's) car. An old and somewhat of an ill fit for Kyrgyzstan being it ... read more
Treeless Mountains
Dried Fish
Good Lake Resort

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek July 27th 2012

Stop #12 July 27th 2012 Issuk-Ata Resort After striking out at Teplye Kluchy we decided to see if we could find a shortcut over to the next valley, which was named Issuk-Ata as there were supposedly some hot springs there as well at a resort. I was hoping we could find a shortcut without going all the way back to Bishkek then heading east and south up the valley again. After arriving back in Koytash we started asking around and indeed found a road heading to Karagay-Bulak and was supposedly only about 45 minutes away. At the beginning the road seemed fairly nice although it wound around the hills with some steep switchbacks. The further we drove the more remote it became though with long distances between any signs of habitation. It also turned from cracked ... read more
Resort Building
Hot Springs
Watermelon Party

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek July 27th 2012

Stop #11 July 27th 2012 Teplye Kluchy After finishing the wedding preparations fairly early today we decided to head out to Alamedid Vally to relax at Teplye Kluchy (natural hot springs with mineral water) for the evening and maybe spend the night there. It was a beautiful day to be out driving, not to hot but warm enough to be comfortable. After leaving Bishkek we headed south to Koytash and beyond. After Koytash the road began to wind alongside the Alamedid River and I saw more yurts and shepherd tents set up in this valley then anywhere in Kyrgyzstan before. There were herds of sheep and goats everywhere, with some shepherds on horses and some on foot. Most of the yurts had signs out selling a local drink called Kumyz made from sour horse milk with ... read more
Local Family Home
Mountain Resort

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek July 26th 2012

Stop #2 July 26th 2012 Gumbez of Jarkynbay XIX century A.D. Following the success of the previous day of having a great evening driving through the hills of the Chuy Region in I decided to try and locate Jarkynbay’s Gumbez. This proved to be fruitless in spite of hours of driving. We started from Bishkek driving west until reaching the small city of Sokuluk. This city’s population is mainly made up of the Dungan people which are from a different ethnicity then the local Kyrgyz people are and also adhere to a stricter version of Islam. Surprisingly though, this didn't keep an old drunkard from trying to take a nap on the road. This was a quaint little city with animals roaming freely within the city limits. Thinking that upon arriving in Sokuluk and asking around ... read more
Local Transportation
Animals Roaming in the City

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek July 25th 2012

Stop #10 July 25th 2012 Gumbez of Baytik XIX century A.D. It was a hot afternoon after a long day of running around in Bishkek trying to sort out our documents for the wedding, when Jyldyz and I decided to try and locate Baytik’s Tomb. Even though Jyldyz was born and raised in this immediate area she was unaware of his tomb, even though she knew of Baytik, who was the Khan of this area in the 19th century. After driving through various small villages and making numerous stops asking for its location we finally found it in the local cemetery. This was my first time in an Islamic cemetery so this would prove to be an interesting experience in itself. Once we arrived at the cemetery there was no question of which was Baytik’s Tomb ... read more
Gumbez of Baytik
Interior of Gumbez

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