Crossing the Torugart Pass; Tash Rabat
Part 1: Back in the Yurt Camps
Part 2: Issyk Kul and Kyzart Village
"Everything's coming up (roses?)"
Our lovely be-gardened guest house in Tamga village continued delighting us on this new day, with a lovely breakfast in the lovely little dining space surrounded by the beautiful flowers and tons and tons of...bees. Bees? Bees. I guess with flowers come bees. We had forgotten this since bees are super endangered everywhere else in the world save for this garden, apparently. I had oatmeal and watermelon and apples for breakfast so it was a great start, aside from the bees.
For a few hours we drove along (and across!) the most beautiful somehow jade-colored rapids, up and around the rockiest of paths (I almost didn't care because it was so beautiful but man alive that was some shaking) and hills and the scariest little bridges across the river rapids. Those bridges, man alive, I saw the first and was like 'who would be dumb enough to walk across that little plank of a bridge!' and then we DROVE across it, across ALL of them, in an SUV.
Finally, after lots of treacherous rocky crossings and tree branches that gave way when I tried to grasp them, we found the waterfall. IT WAS FINE.
Luckily Sacha has been to every restaurant in town and knew good ones with vegetarian options. If I'm reading my blursula picture of the menu correctly, it was Dastorkan restaurant, a good restaurant and an amazing name for a JK Rowling character. The menu even had 3 green-tipped pages that were all the vegetarian options.
So, I just slept the whole evening and night. Luckily I had some saltines from China in my pack and had those in the morning. Saltines are amazing. You watching The Good Place (also amazing)? You know when Ted Danson is like "I wish I could have tried a saltine"? I feel him.
"Suuuuunday morning TIME FOR CHURCH!"
The mean old lady and the mean old Sacha made me drink tea for breakfast even though I HATE tea especially strong black tea and, guess what, tea makes me nauseous, because they both thought that my drinking bottled water instead of tea was what made me sick. This is the kind of 'bullshit science' that republicans can only DREAM of taking hold in America. FFS. It's funny, actually - our Trans Siberian guidebook mentioned offhand that old Russians in Siberia had a weird rampant distrust of 'dangerous' cold water, warning against its consumption for no reason other than that it had become a rural myth. But now in Kyrgs we actually meet the old (ethnic) Russians who believe this! Ahhhhh! Shut UP!
We had a busy morning planned with lots of activities and somehow we still had to end the day at our guest house in Chon Kemin - more than 300 kilometers away! First we had a visit to Karakol's mosque, called the Dungan Mosque, which is really cool because it was built like a Chinese Buddhist temple! We haven't seen nearly enough of those! No it was really cool to see how the roof had dragons and other traditional Chinese symbols carved all over, and the structure as a whole was very China.
After all the gods and everything, we were to see a local museum in the town of Cholpon Ata, which is a really satisfying name to say. Unfortunately, the museum was closed, despite the sign on the door with the museum's schedule clearly stating that they should be open right now. Guyssss. Sacha made a few calls and we amused ourselves in the small grocery store next door. GUESS WHAT I FOUND.
When we returned to Sacha, he had bad news: The museum people said it was closed today because they had no electricity. Sacha didn't buy their excuse and said "I think it's really because they are sleeping."
We still had more to do though, so no harm no foul. Next up was the Open Air Museum of Petroglyphs - a whole field of rocks and boulders with ancient drawings made from carving or scraping and such. Some had miraculously retained their clarity, but most had faded in the like thousands of years.
The best part was the saddest part - our last gorgeous communal dinner in a yurt with the traditional set up. How wonderful is this kind of meal!
We made some small talk with the other tourists and met some that didn't make us too angry or annoyed (progress) but then, as is our wont, spent most of the night trying to get the weak wifi to connect. We heart wifi. Then we enjoyed our last night's sleep in a shared space! We hate sharing! From here on out - hotels! (Well and hostels but private rooms!) Tomorrow we leave for Bishkek!