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Anja

13.08.2005, 15:44
 

News 25: Issyk-Kul lake

After a day in Bishkek Chicko and I said bye to Hagan who flew home the next day and went to the Issyk Kul lake in the north-east of Kyrgyzstan, the wellknown recreation area, on Sunday (August 7). We arrived in Cholpon-Ata on the northern shore. A lot of people greet you and offer private accomendation. And once again because of the political situation there are less tourists than usually. A lot of people from Almaty (capital of Kazhakstan) come here to relax. Chicko went to see three different rooms/houses and the last one was really nice with a garden, lots of flowers and fruit trees (cherries and apricots which we could eat). It belonged to a friendly Russian family that has lived there for over one hundred years. We were received with tea, fresh home-made bread, smetana (sour cream) and honey. There are petroglyphes near Cholpon-Ata which we still wanted to visit in the evening. We got a little bit lost and asked 3 little girls (10 years) for the way. They came with us and even explained all the drawings to us. As we later found out it was one of the girl's birthday. So I sang happy birthday to her in English.

The weather wasn't to good the next day (August 8). Therefore, we went to an islamic gate on the entrance to the town. Arriving in town the day before I had seen a huge outdoor advertising for the local SOS Kinderdorf (children's village), a German sponsered network of children's homes around the world. The philosophy is to have a "Mom" and some kids (orphans but also kids from troubled families) living with her, and aunts to help. And since I already had donated money to that organisation before and I am always curious about things like that we went there to visit it. We we received very friendly and the director showed us around. We visited a house where a Mom lived with 8 kids. Only the younger ones were there and the older ones in a camp. They were eating luch at the time and we were invited to join them. The kids were really shy and only spoke Kyrgyz. But we questioned them a lot and they showed us many pictures. The house was really nice, with high standard as in Germany which is a huge contrast to life around. The director came back after a while and showed us the SOS kindergarten. There are 75 vacancies and only 9 are filled with SOS kids, the rest is for local kids. One child costs US$ 25 a month but the parents only have to pay US$ 12 which is a high price for most of them. It seemed to me that the education is on a high level with great equipment and after the "step by step" method. The littles ones even learn some English in kindergarten. If there is a Russian speaking teacher there ist also a Kyrgyz speaking helper and the other way around. The Russian janitor asked Chicko for help with his computer and meanwhile I played with his 6 year old sweet blonde girl Zlata who was very smart and funny. e had a great time together. Back to our home we decided to take a bath in the Issyk Kul despite the bad weather. The water was quite fresh but clear. Since we had had such a good breakfast in the morning and our family also offered complete meals we decided to have dinner there and we didn't regret it. The babushka (grandma) cooked and baked and the food was so delicious! The evenning was very funny because the guests form Almaty played "word guessing" with pantomime, drawings.... I couldn't play with them but once in a while I just looked over their shoulders and also guessed for myself.

Anja

21.08.2005, 13:02

@ Anja

News 25: Issyk-Kul lake

I am quite behind with telling the news but I will write more in the next few days.

I am in Bishkek now and will be here until Sept. 2 helping in a project for street kids. An Austrian guy sent me a message saying the Soeren and the 2 others could not do the trekking through and over some high mountains in the Pamirs that they had intended to do because they did not manage to cross a river. So they went to the mountain Pik Lenin.

More later on.
Have a nice Sunday!!!

Anja

22.08.2005, 14:52

@ Anja

News 25: Issyk-Kul lake

Okay, I will tell you more about our adventures now.
We left Cholpon-Ata on August 9 and went to Karakol to get some info about our next destination: Jeti-Oguz. There is a village called like this but further into the mountains also a sanatorium. That’s where we ended up that night. It’s still in the old Soviet style and a great place to experience the former typical life. All people eat together in a canteen. There are mainly old people, a lot of proud elders with medals on their jackets and the typical Kyrgyz hat.
We went into the mountains the next day, into the valley of flowers. Actually, I did not see any flowers… We intended to finally stay in a yurt. That was my wish since I have first seen one here. On our way, we stopped at one yurt to have some yoghurt. The old woman who lived there was doing smetana (sour cream) at that time. We had never seen it before. It’s a little equipment where you fill in the fresh milk and turn the crank. It somehow divides the milk into fatty smetana and low/non-fat milk which is used to make yoghurt afterwards. Interesting. And some hours later Torsten (Chicko) had the chance to do it by himself. We took a ride on a horse wagon until we met a known face riding on a horse: Andri from Switzerland who is doing an internship in Bishkek. Later on, we went further up. Arriving at a yurt Torsten was bidden by a dog…
We went up on more yurt and it belonged to the family on the horse wagon. We asked if we could stay with them. That was no problem. But my dream did not come true: The husband’s brother came with some friends to relax there. So we had a funny evening with a bunch of teenagers but had to sleep in our tent.
We went back down the next day and into a side valley. It started to rain…… We again asked at a yurt if we can stay. No problem. The 14year old son was our host and took good care of us: we had to eat all the time. And the best thing he spoke really good Russian. That’s not so common in the villages. Usually, the children don’t speak it. And again guests arrived: the family came to stay a night. But this time my wish came true and I slept in a yurt!!!! Our host showed us the nearby waterfall the next day and then we left. We wanted to try to rent some horses. The first people wanted too much money but then we found another family who would give us horses even without a guide. We liked that idea but unfortunately the horses were kinda slow and one had a left-hand twist (Linksdrall). We rode up a valley and had a wonderful view of the Issyk-Kul. We decided to go onward over meadows to the sanatorium and then back up the valley of flowers. I had to give up because my knee hurt too badly. Therefore, I walked the rest of our round. Chicko and I met again up in the valley. We still wanted to go down a little bit to put up our tent since we wanted to return to Karakol the next day, but we did not come very far. The valley is very open up there with huge meadows which are a popular place for picnics. There was a huge family (more than 20 adults plus children) who waved at us to take a picture together. Okay, let’s take a picture. But it wasn’t only a picture, we had to eat, drink whine, dance, and take more pictures. It was a family from Jeti-Oguz, Karakol and Bishkek. One of the boys asked me how my camera works and took it over. A lot of nice pictures from the family resulted. We already thought he had eaten enough but then the main course was brought: a cooked sheep. Yes, the whole sheep was cooked and it seems like some strange parts like intestines are the best things. Well, the most important part is the head which was distributes among the men. The women sat separately and also on our “table” the oldest one – the babushka (grandmother) – got the best parts first. We ate and drank sheep broth but more vodka… And I have no idea what funny parts of the sheep I ate. But luckily, I am not disgusted by those things. Some meat was cut in peaces and mixed with noodles and some broth: the most Kyrgyz dish was done: Beshbarmak (five fingers) and you also eat it with fingers. It was a great evening and what we though to be a short photo session turned out to be a 2,5 hour party. The family left in some cars and minivans when it got dark but not before inviting us to one of the women’s brother’s house in a little village directly on the Issyk-Kul where they always spent their vacation. We were only able to find a campsite fast because the vodka was showing its effect…
To be continued…

Anja

22.08.2005, 14:59

@ Anja

News 25: Issyk-Kul lake

Well this computer wants to test you.....
Here is the translation for the funny numbers (if it will be shown correctly now):
’ means "'" (apostrophe)
… means ... (dot, dot, dot)
– means - (hyphen)

Anja

23.08.2005, 13:51

@ Anja

News 25: Issyk-Kul lake

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