Happy 2016, all! I’m actually typing this from the lobby of the SSR Airport in Mahébourg, as I’m finally returning to the States after a two-week trip in Mauritius and Madagascar. Bless the free wifi in this airport. Even though I’m a bit travelled-out for the time being, in the spirit of the new year, I’ve made a resolution to blog more (my 2014 and 2015 self is snorting so hard right now), among other #goals. Hope all of you have had restful and fun-filled holiday seasons. 🙂
Hey! Hi! SUP. Yo. You’re reading about a trip that took place 6 months ago (May – June 2015), which means that I am sadly no longer in Central Asia. However, that trip was awesome enough that I feel compelled to write about it in a series of blog posts, because it’s unsurprisingly … kind of difficult to talk about three different countries’ worth of text and photos and consolidate that sucker into one blog entry. Also, I’m likely a) nostalgic, b) itching to travel again, c) guilty about having so many orphaned photos on my HD, or d) all of the above. Anyway, let’s do this, before I start getting random plov cravings.
Also, larger versions of all the photos can be found in my Kyrgyzstan photoset.
Out of all my #lifegoals, one of them is to camp in a yurt. Yurts are perhaps second to only treehouses when it comes to ideal overnight lodging. LOOK AT THIS ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY. How can you say no to this.
I mean, I certainly couldn’t.
So when Rebekah and I were planning our trip, the one thing that was practically non-negotiable was horseback riding and camping out in a yurt in Kyrgzystan. We could forgo the Door to Hell because of tourist restrictions in Turkmenistan. We could save Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, &c for another trip because of distance and visa reasons. But goddamnit, we were not going to give up this one thing.
The whole affair consisted of a drive from Bishkek to Kochkor, a horseback ride from Kochkor to the yurt, and then back again. When we left Kochkor, it was a nice, sunny morning smack-dab in the middle of May:
The beauty above is Burana Tower, a minaret with one hell of an indoor winding stairway. Do not let that staircase outside deceive you. The view of Chuy Valley that you get at the very top is totally worth it, though.
However, once we got on the horses, that sunny morning was no more, as I managed to experience all of the below that same afternoon, I kid you not:
Rinse, repeat, etc. I thought San Francisco weather had its fair share of crazies in a single day, but this really took the cake, as my fleece-lined waterproof jacket went from too stuffy to useful to not-really-useful to not-fleece-lined-enough to not-waterproof-enough to useful back again — all in the span of a few hours.
But any indication of my body thermometer going haywire was quickly dispelled as I crawled under those glorious, glorious layers of blanket inside the yurt. You want warm? Because it doesn’t get any warmer than a sushirrito of blankets curled around you like a hug from the Michelin Man, especially when it’s in the ~40s (˚F) and there’s a dog barking mercilessly from outside.
Awww, yeah, look at them blankets.
Of course, that was just the endpoint. I’d be remiss in leaving out the actual horseback ride, which led us into the Ala-Too mountains. Balancing a camera and trying not to fall off a horse while traversing a river is a true test of my multitasking abilities, but, hey, I managed.
A shoutout goes to the home-cooked (yurt-cooked?) meals that I had during my trip, aka the carb-heaven goodness known as Kyrgyz flatbread (often called naan, like the Indian counterpart).
And snaps to this shorpo (Kyrgyz soup, usually consisting of lamb) for all its tummy-warming delicious. And dill and beets, for playing a very prominent starring role in nearly everything we ate. But mostly dill.
So — yeah. Yurts? 10/10, would do again.