Friday, July 31: Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan
7:15 I’m up good and early and devour a breakfast of steaming hot semolina (?), fried eggs, several types of deep-fried dough and a selection of homemade preserves and local honey. I come close to losing a tooth when I bite down on my toast. I wasn’t expecting pits in the black cherry jam.
8:10 Some of the group opt to go horseback riding. I’ve done this several times in the last few months so I stay at camp and observe the baby yak who thinks he’s a dog. His mother died in labour and he was raised around dogs. He now runs in circles and wags his tail whenever a human approaches.
10:15 After one last “quiet moment” in the caravansary, I’m on the truck and waving goodbye to our hosts. We’ve only been here about 16 hours but it’s been great. From cute puppies to the baby yak, the historic caravansary and two homemade meals, it was a fantastic welcome to Kyrgyzstan.
10:18 We leave Tash Rabat and will drive 180 kilometres to Naryn where we will shop for food. Heather, Bridie and I will cook dinner tonight on a budget of 2400 com for 24 people or $2.10 per person. We should be able to have a proper feast on this budget.
12:40 After 40 minutes in the market we have stocked up on meat, vegetables, bread, butter and cheese. We came in well under budget and return 860 com to the kitty.
14:08 We stop at a business-class restaurant in Naryn. The meal is great but the atmosphere reminds me of the funeral parlour in my hometown, circa 1975. Kyrgyzstan appears to be the western world’s dumping ground for lace doilies, needle-point pillows and plastic covered lamp shades.
17:50 We set up camp by a reservoir and watch the sunset while eating dinner. There are no complaints when we produce stir-fried beef and veggies and mashed potatoes with butter and cream cheese.
9;30 Andy enthusiastically volunteers to light a campfire. Someone comments that he’s very interested in fires. I breathe a sigh of relief as I’ll no longer be the #1 suspect when cereal boxes and beer cartons go missing.