Day 62 – Monday, May 21 – Yurt Camp at Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan – Dave

Woke up in our yurt – all bloody freezing and feeling the altitude.  Looked out to find snow on the ground and bikes.  Whose idea was this anyway?

But the views and sense of isolation were stunning.  Here are some local yak wandering close to our yurt…

Yak, Yak, Yak...

We read and chatted while we waited for a break in the weather so we could visit the  Tash Rabat caravanserai a few kilometers up the valley.  It is 15th century – a stop off for Silk Route caravans – with roots back in a 10th century monastery.

Just as we prepared to make the short ride up the valley we heard the putting of a small engine, looked out of the yurt and saw Ernest, our Swiss pal, on his Suzuki 91 making his slow way up the valley!!!!  We hailed him and he stopped.  A happy reunion, but the poor guy was shivering furiously, having been battling his way through rain and snow on the terrible road up from Narin for 4 hours!  His plan was to see the caravanserai and then immediately make the 4 hour trip back, but we persuaded him to stay with us and gave him hot food and drink and some dry clothes.

When he stopped shivering, we all set off for the caravanserai.  Here’s Ernest on the moped – I think we can all agree that he is a total lunatic, no?  But a great guy and an  inspiring free spirit.

The caravanserai was impressive – imposing, isolated and rich in history…

Inside it was a little eerie as each room (for travelers and their horses and camels ) had a small mound of snow in the middle of the floor, lit brilliantly by the light from the smoke hole directly above.

Then it was back to the yurt camp for dinner…

Yack, yack, yack...

A group of Aussie travelers showed up and joined us in the dinner yurt.  Among their number was Ian, a diving expert who had formerly been with the Australian SAS.  He now has a sideline euthanizing beached whales by placing explosive charges on their heads and blowing them up!  He even showed us a diagram of exactly how it should be done…shaping the charge, placing the sandbags, running the wires…

As we stared numbly at the diagram, unsure exactly what to say about blowing up whales, Ian launched into a series of tales (accompanied by photos) of his SAS combat in Vietnam, of holding up a Saigon brothel at gunpoint because he “paid for the night but only got one shag” and of joining the Rhodesian Army.  “Oh”, I said, “looking at the photo of him in 1960s Rhodesian army uniform, “what were you doing in the Rhodesian Army?”  He smiled and replied “Shooting blacks”.  Then, on seeing our jaws hit the floor, he hastily added “but they were all commie blacks”.

Suddenly it was time for bed.

Best to you all.

4 thoughts on “Day 62 – Monday, May 21 – Yurt Camp at Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan – Dave

  1. I’m pretty sure this is one of the few times I have a legitimate reason to post a video of what happens when you decide to blow up a whale carcass. Is this what his diagram showed?

    • Hi Ben – mercifully we were spared evidence of the result,but it was nearly as shocking, being a simple line drawing (with a few explanatory notes) of a very sad-looking whale with an explosive charge strapped to his head, secured by sandbags

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