August 13: Kyrgyz Fergana Valley, Kyrgyzstan
8:06 We have another 285 km drive today. This one could take as long as eight hours due to some very sketchy road conditions. We’ll see a lot of varied landscapes – from lush river valleys to rocky mountain passes and possibly some desert-like conditons.
16:00 We are hoping to camp beside a reservoir but finding a suitable spot proves tricky. Most of the land is very rocky and not really suited for erecting tents. We find one place that looks okay but just when we are about to get off the truck a man approaches and claims that he is the caretaker of the property. He says that he’d allow a small group to camp overnight but certainly not a whole truck full of filthy backpackers. Back on the truck it is.
4:18 Duncan is able to find a suitable campsite just a few hundred meters down the road from the first spot. The tents go up and the cool group gets to work in no time. There is nothing remarkable about the rest of the night, unless you are one of the sober ones who has to listen to overlapping discussions of life after death, frozen fish sticks, extra terrestrial life, the death penalty in various countries, the alcohol content of dozens of brands of beer and vodka, Asenal vs. Manchester United, who invented Scrabble, the best way to slice aubergine, lime vs lemon in a range of drinks, why some freshwater lakes don’t freeze, Grafield the Cat’s middle name, Nigela Lawson’s health, Christianity, paganism, yoga, Cristiano Rinaldo’s testicles, etc.
23:50 I can’t take it any longer and manage to fashion a set of ear plugs from a small plastic bag, two chocolate covered almonds, and four elastic bands.