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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Kyrgyzstan - 20 August, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bush camp, Jeti-ghz gorge N4217.421' E07817.119' 2,292 meters .
Finish Cholpon-Ata (hotel) N4237.691' E07702.597' 1,621 meters 200 km


2,020 km


Weather: Clear, sunny and hot.  Warm/cool at night.



We wake up to a clear morning sky with the rise of the sun over the mountains around us.  We lay in bed and enjoy the heat generated by the sun's rays hitting our tent.  After struggling out of our sleeping bags, we pack up our tent and go and get some breakfast.  Once we pack up the truck, we are ready to go.


Only one problem - when they try to start the engine - nothing.  The battery is dead for some reason.  What to do - we try to push start the truck.  We all get to the front of the truck and on the count of three, give a hard push.  The truck barely moves - it has sunk down into the soft dirt.  We have to rock her back and forth to finally get her going.  But we are not able to get the required speed, so we are unable to start her.  We cannot push her up the slope, so we need to wait to see if we can get a jump start.


We remember that we had seen some vehicles at the yurt camp up the road, so we volunteer to go see if we can find one that we can use to jump start the truck.  We head up the valley, only to discover that there are no vehicles left there.  So then we turn around, and go to the yurt camp below us.  They have some vehicles and after some discussion, they are willing to bring one of their vans up and give us a jump start.


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We return to the camp site and wait for them to show up.  Once back at the camp, a huge truck shows up and we go see if he can help.  Just after, the van from the yurt camp just below us shows up.  He seems glad that he can return without having to use his van to help us.  At first the driver of the truck wants to give us a tow to push start our truck, but in the end we persuade him to give us a jump start.  It is successful.  All he needs is a couple of dollars and he is off.


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We have a nice drive back down to the main road along the dirt road that weaves it's way down the valley, often crossing the river on rickety bridges.  We also pass by the red rock of the broken heart.


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We spend the rest of the day driving back to Karakol, then going around the edge of the lake and heading west on the north side of the lake.  We stop for lunch at one of the yurt cafes dotting the road.  We have the usual fare - noodle soup and shashlyk.  They also have fish here.  We finally arrive at our destination - Cholpon-Ata at 3:30 PM.


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We check into the hotel and get our rooms.  We had been told that we would be staying in cottages, but for some reason we get some very basic rooms in the hotel block.  Later we noticed that there are some wonderful cottages on the way to the beach - they must have been taken over by some of the local Mafioso types that we saw staying there.  Anyway - time to go down to the beach.


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We spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach at the lake edge.  It is actually very nice sitting there looking over the lake and in the far distance seeing the huge mountains jutting up, all capped with snow.  Scattered on the beach are the beautiful people of Kyrgyzstan all dressed up just like they are on the French Riviera.


We head back to our rooms to wash up before dinner.  Dinner is in a huge hall that must fit over five hundred people.  It is very regimented.  The table is set with all you need, including one toothpick per person.  The food is actually pretty good and you get large portions.  We are unable to finish all that we are given.


After dinner, the two of us head down to the beach and sit on one of the swings.  It is a full moon with clouds covering the southern part of the sky.  It is made even more dramatic with the lightning that lights up the sky on a regular basis.  We are also amazed by a burst of light that streaks across the sky.  We can only guess that it is a small meteorite that has burned up in the sky - it was bright, fiery, short lived and occurred very close to us in the sky (unlike a falling star which seems very high up in the sky).


After a while, the bugs get to us and we decide to retreat to our rooms and to go to bed.  At first we sleep well, but at some point in the night, we are raided by mozzies that greatly disturb our sleep.


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