(Kyrgyzstan) Let’s have party at the middle of the mountain.

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To enter into Osh, the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan was chaotic to me because I didn’t see the big city for one month. Also, the weather was suddenly too hot that it was totally opposite from high land.

 

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Tes hostel was a popular place for people traveling by bicycle, camping car or motorcycle. At the entrance, I met Dutch Couple again whom I had met in Tajikistan two times. They had made even the cake to celebrate my fifth years of the trip in Tajikistan. I wanted to stay with everybody at the hostel, but it was full with some group having a conference. So I just went to another hostel, which was 5 km (3.1 mi) far. There was a lovely dog around Tes hostel that I was playing with the dog while discussing how we should meet again in the night to have a party.

 

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In the night, we gathered together at a bar and had the party. The red bottle was a local vodka.

 

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Just a few days ago, I had to take the water from the river and there was nothing on the road.  It was unbelievable that suddenly I had everything here.

In Pamir highway, it was really fun to see the same traveler again and again. I have met all of them in Tajikistan except Szymon, the guy holding vodka at the end.

 

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The bar changed to the club later and I had so much fun. It was not that nice place but I really liked because it was surprising to be in civilization suddenly with people I liked.

 

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In Osh, I went to an animal market with Szimon, Marleen, and Roderick.

 

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The market was held only one time a week. I had never been the place like full of people and animals that it was such a new thing to me.

 

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I could see local people and their culture that it was such a good experience.

 

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Sheep’s butt was so fluffy with a heart shape that it looked so cute to watch always.

 

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They didn’t trade only animal, but also equipment.

 

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At the corner, there was restaurant and people had fresh bread from the stone oven. In Kyrgyzstan, males wore a white hat.

 

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People traded sheep, goat, cow, yak, and horse.  I could try to ride horse thank to local people.

 

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Thanks to horse and owner for kindness.

 

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People touched a few different parts of the animal before buying. Then when they liked, they paid to local people.

 

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They carried animal to their car. The traffic was crazy with animals, people, and cars.

 

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Actually, it was a bit bitter to watch local people dragging cows and other animals on the way to their car although I appreciated to them that thank to them I could eat meat. One time was enough to have a new experience that I didn’t want to visit animal market anymore.

 

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I went to Lenin Peak’s base camp with Szymon, Mrleen, and Roderick.

Lenin Peak was near Kyrgyzstan border. When I stayed one night near the border on my way to Osh, I wanted to go to Lenin Peak, but a tour was expensive and I didn’t want to cycle and sleep there alone. But they said they would go there and let’s go together from Osh. Francesco was sick that he didn’t go. And actually, I had to hurry to China before winter coming so I was not sure going or leaving to the next city. But it was the place I wanted to go that I decided to join them. Lenin Peak was at 7.134 m (23,405 ft) above sea level and the base camp we would go was at 3,500 m (11,482 ft) above sea level.

 

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To go from Osh to Lenin Peak’s base camp meant I had to go back to the border where I came from. I traveled by camping car with German guys in the U.S. So it was the second time to travel like this.

In my eyes, they had everything like the egg, cheese, butter, jam and more in their fridge. It was a different way to travel from me that I enjoyed.

 

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The way to Lenin Peak was really beautiful and quiet that there was no any house near base camp. Osh was at 963 m (3,159 ft) above sea level but I didn’t have any problem with altitude sickness. Maybe the reason was I was used to high altitude after one month cycling.

 

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We tried to find wood but there was not much around. I tried to make big wood to small peace but it was not easy with a small ax.

 

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We started with Irish alcohol coffee.

 

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And having camping fire

 

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They had an amp that we had very loud weird music.

 

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We were having so much fun with red local vodka, other alcohol, dancing, and loud music. There was no any people or house around that it was our own party place.

 

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At the next day, we had the hangover that the morning was slow. Dutch couple had an oven that we had a nice breakfast.

 

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Once we got better from the hangover, we started hiking.

I was surprised at Szymon because he brought his drone all the way to Central Asia. I had a drone too but I sold before coming to Central Asia. All countries in Central Asia had very strict control that I didn’t want to be in trouble with a drone. He said Uzbek immigration opened his drone’s box, but it was no problem because they thought it was just a toy.

There was strong wind on the top that we couldn’t fly it.

 

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We found a very nice spot to watch high mountain. I had seen many high mountains, but unfortunately I had never been at the top of any peak. But still, I really liked to see the high mountain with the snow.

 

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I guessed that there were yurts around white rocks at the season. It was the middle of Sept that nomad people were moving. So, I saw many empty grounds like it often.

 

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The good thing to travel with other friends was I didn’t feel lonely anymore. But there was no time for myself. So, I asked them to go first to enjoy hiking alone at the last part.

 

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Once I walked alone, I could see and feel more nature and mountain. I thought it would be no problem to travel with many people if I can have my own time like this.

After hiking, the night came. We were a bit tired from last night party that we had chat and cooked dinner together quietly.

 

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The next morning was so clear that I could see the mountain better. It was so relax morning that I enjoyed breakfast with them. Once I got off from my bicycle, things became so easy and relax. I liked this kind of balance between adventure and easy travel.

 

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On the way back to Osh, I saw a solo female cyclist. She was from Malaysia and she had slept on the mountain around four days. I asked her it was not scary. She said people were always nice and everything was fine. Whenever I met a solo female cyclist like her who was not afraid of wild camping, I took my hat off to them because I had too much fear than anyone.

 

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I met Malaysian girl again in Osh and we went to Sushi restaurant together.

 

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I felt like I drank every day in Osh because of good friends I met. One night we went to Korean restaurant together.

There was one thing make me shocked. There were menus in Korean and Kyrgyz with English. In Korean menu, I found dog meat which was not in Kyrgyz Menu. In Korea, dog meat was not popular that people could have it in only specific restaurant. I didn’t have any friend or family eating dog meat, so it was shocking to see for the first time.

Actually, I never like people asking or treating me eating dog because it made the mistake of hasty generalization. However, I was not against people eating dog because I ate cow, pig, and other animals. The pig was one of smartest animals and I saw cow crying. So if I was against people eating dog, I would be a hypocrite. It sounded always the weird topic, so I didn’t like to talk about it. But I could not stop people making fun of me because I was Korean. To meet people from the world meant I had to be patient with all kind of jokes, the mistake of hasty generalization. People always tried to make fun of me with North Korea, Dog Meat, and Chinese words (Many people thought there was only one country, China in Asia and they treated me Chinese all the time). I had never liked this kind of jokes that I always wish I become more patient person.

Anyway after culture shocking, we ordered many Korean different dish and shared together (of course, not dog meat). It meant I could have all different kind of Korean dish! We ordered Korean alcohol which was called Soju, 18%. But we were used to drink Kyrgyz vodka 45% that Korean Soju was weak drink to us. So later we ordered local vodka and had chat until late.

 

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Norwegian guy I was cycling together to Osh met his parents who brought new tire. So he gave me one of his old tire. I was cycling with very cheap 3$ tire and carried extra $10 tire. His tire was old one but it was way better than my extra new tire that I was happy to get his one. I decided to sell my other tire because I didn’t feel I needed extra tire. There was no any bicycle shop except street market. I sold my extra tire for 2$ and bought some other stuff I needed.

I had carried all kind of thing which I didn’t use. But when I had cycled with other cyclists on Wakhan valley, it was so useful for everyone. I carried extra part for pannier as well. When Francesco’s pannier was broken, I could give my extra part. But this time I got help from Francesco. He was also about to meet his parents in Osh that I could ask earlier his parents to get the same jacket from Decathlon shop.

I had dinner with him and his parents later and got my winter jacket. I didn’t need to worry about winter jacket anymore. They were so sweet that they gave me chocolate, jerked ham, and cheese to me. I told them I would share it with other friends.

 

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After 10 days around Osh, I was about to cycle again. But I was too shocked in the morning because there was a dog waiting for me. It was the dog I stroked at the first day in front of the hostel in Osh. My hostel was 5 km (3.01 mi) far and actually I didn’t see the dog again after the first day although I went there quite often to hang out with other friends. I sent the picture of the dog to Dutch couple to ask and they told me it was the dog staying around the hostel. I was so happy to see the dog before leaving. What a surprise!

 

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But there was something happened. It was unbelievable that the dog was following me. I couldn’t understand because I didn’t feed when we met first. I just said hello and stroked. I was happy to have a friend but on the other hand, I was a bit afraid because there were many cars to get out of the city. I thought that the dog would go back at some point.

 

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Once I got out of the city, the road became quiet. But the problem was dog kept following me. I felt bad for the dog because it looked hard.

 

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When I stopped, the dog went to ditch to have water. I was worried about the dog because the dog didn’t go back to the hostel. It would be nice to have the dog as a friend, but for sure I cannot be responsible of the dog for the whole time. I didn’t want to have a dog for fun and throw away later. For the dog, the hostel would be the best place to stay for the safety. So I threw stones and shouted to scare the dog. Then the dog stopped to follow me. I thought the dog went away. But once I looked at back, the dog was following me again. I had to be bad at the dog and cycle fast. Then I didn’t see the dog again. I hoped it went back to the hostel safely.

 

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Around the sunset, I was thinking where to set up my tent. I decided to go to the next city where I might find the guest house.

 

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When I got into the city and there was a cheap hotel.

 

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Aslanbob was a small village which was known for walnut trees. I met Dutch couple and Polish guy traveling by camping car again.

 

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It was so interesting to see walnut tree because I had never seen it. It was a sedate village with walnut. There were everywhere walnuts on the forest. Fresh walnut had similar taste to chestnut that I really liked fresh walnut more than dry walnut.

 

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The village looked so peaceful and quiet that I really enjoyed hiking. But ironically I heard Max and Tex, Belgium cyclist friends got robbed at the village while having wild camping. To make a long story short, they went to mosques to ask people giving their stuff back at the next day. At the next day morning, they got a few of them back in front of their tent. One of them told me being robbed made them actually go back home earlier with some reasons.

 

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There were people staying at every walnut farm for taking care. So when I walked around, I had chances and talked to them.

 

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We went to the market to have bbq later. The boy made face like “If you touch my sister, I am going to kick you”

 

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Again I had the fun night with these European friends. We were in the village, so we didn’t play any music but only had a chat.

 

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At the entrance of the village, there was an information center and we saw horse riding. It was not expensive at all that I wanted to try. It was whole day tour on the mountain.

 

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I tried to ride a horse in Mexico a bit for the first time and in Central Asia for two hours riding. But this was definitely the best because we were riding on a beautiful mountain for all day. Actually, I felt like I was heroine on a fairy tail because of pretty scenery.

 

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Sometimes we had to ride very steep uphill or crossed the river.

 

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It was a really amazing experience that I wanted to travel for a few days with horse and other friends without a guide.

 

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I really enjoyed traveling with those European friends that we had many good memories together.

 

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I could see and feel the autumn.

 

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We visited one lake and saw local people having the time to take the picture. It was interesting to see a guy wearing a traditional hat.

 

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There was tombstone near the lake. It was their unique culture that they put a black and white picture. I had seen it since Uzbekistan that I could feel they shared some culture although it was a different tribe. I guessed because they had cultural exchange a long time ago.

 

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Finally, I shared chocolate, jerked ham, and cheese which I got in Osh. It reminded me of Canadian lake I had been because it was so calm and large.

 

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It was time to say goodbye to them. We shared the picture and write the letter to each other.

 

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One picture was at Polish guy’s car.

It was the end of September that I felt like I had to hurry. All cyclists I met in Pamir already went to China that I was only one still staying in Pamir. But I really enjoyed traveling with them. Sometimes the important thing can be changed. This time the important thing was to travel and have fun with good friends than cycling fast on the road.

My plan was to be in China at the end of September. But the plan was changed. From now I would move to China.

2 Comments
  1. Love your pics of Kyrgyzstan ..what maps are you using and do you post your actual cycling route anywhere?

  2. all the beautiful scenery and mountains, you are so lucky, i would want to go there someday with bicycle

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