Posted by Pat on September 25, 2022 in Travel |

24 September 2022

After breakfast in Kokand, we face the short drive and possibly grueling border crossings from Uzbekistan into the fourth of the Stans: Tajikistan.

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Day-Tripping in Uzbekistan – the White Car Khanate

Posted by Pat on September 24, 2022 in Travel |

23 September 2022

What a difference a border makes. Although it looks chaotic, was a bit slow and bureaucratic, and the temperatures were heating up, it was clear we had entered into a new country and a new culture. Immediately one begins to see the Persian influence in faces and architecture.

The White Car Khanate and vibrant commerce of Uzbekistan

There were few smiles getting stamped out of Kyrgyzstan. However, the “Welcome to Uzbekistan” and smile from Uzbek immigration was refreshing. He asked a few questions, like was I from the United States and do I speak English. Strange considering he was looking at my American passport, but welcome all the same. Quite a contrast to what we’ve seen in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Posted by Pat on September 23, 2022 in Travel |

22 September 2022

This morning I am flown out of Bishkek’s Manas International Airport for Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. With a population a little over 208,000, Osh is located in the Fergana Valley. I was prepared for chaos at airport but it went smoothly. Security to enter and security at every doorway, had to remove shoes and still have a pat down. Short 45 minute flight to Osh, didn’t leave on time, but quick exit at Osh and on time for lunch.

Short flight Bishkek to Osh

First, a few words about flying in Kyrgyzstan:

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Posted by Pat on September 22, 2022 in Travel |

20-21 September 2022

This morning we depart lovely Lake Issyk Kul and retrace some of our route west before turning north to Bishkek. There are not a lot of roads here, basically up and down the valleys with little more than hiking trails over the mountains. I think locals like it that way.

Muslim cemetery and mountain glaciers of Kyrgyzstan

Along this 160-mile route, following the twisting Chu River and running parallel to the Kazakhstan border for miles, is the true land of the Kyrgyz: Muslim cemeteries, mosques, small villages, farmers, smelly toilets, interesting and decorative landslide barriers, and truck stops. At a border crossing into Kazakhstan, trucks are lined up for miles. No one seems to care that bureaucracy is creating chaos with goods and services. A trucker could sit in line for days.

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Mountains and Valleys of Kyrgyzstan

Posted by Pat on September 20, 2022 in Travel |

18 – 19 September 2022

It’s Sunday and after a hearty breakfast we board our large and comfortable bus and drive to Issyk-Kul Lake. The road travels west within the valley before rounding the mountains in a southerly direction and looping east around the mountain to go up the next valley and the northern shore of the lake. All the while we are bracketed by tall mountains. The drive is about 100 miles but takes us over three hours. Passage is slow.

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Posted by Pat on September 18, 2022 in Travel |

17 September 2022

The day begins with a large, delicious breakfast including flaky pastries, potato pancakes filled with cheese, homemade honey and raspberry spreads, bread, quiche and more – homemade and from their gardens. I’m not a breakfast person but one has to indulge here. As for coffee, we’ll, let’s say there is room for improvement. Roger, our supreme leader and caregiver, buys us cream to replace the fermented mare’s milk.

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Posted by Pat on September 17, 2022 in Travel |

16 September 2022

I am spirited off, by van, to the Kazakhstan border with neighboring Kyrgyzstan. Except for the spelling, how does the history and culture of this country differ? Kyrgyzstan flies a brighter national flag, is more rugged and mountainous, is home to 6 million Kyrgyz, does not share a border with Russia, hosts a population over three times denser over far fewer square miles and has but a small fraction of the GDP of its oil-rich neighbor Kazakhstan.

Turquoise Chon-Kevin River on our way to the small village of Kolmakov Aashu, part of Chüy Region of Chon-Kemin Valley.
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