TWC'S Odyssey
Tan Wee Cheng's Travels in the Central Asian Republics of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan


9 Jul   Altyn Arashan - Karakol
Woke up early and went for a hot bath.  Very refreshing.  I certainly like this place.  Those in charge of the hot spring offer nothing else apart from a bath and basic accommodation in their spartan building.  Perhaps, they could have made some money by stocking some food and beverages.  I'm sure that visitors, especially those who do the six-day treks, would pay a little more for a coke upon arrival, or hot soup in the cold evenings.  I suggested this to Sergey, but he appeared shocked, or even scandalized by the idea.  Perhaps the very notion of making money from visitors and mountaineers was immoral in these parts which were only socialist less than ten years ago.
A last look at the Golden Spa before returning to Karakol. The nomadic-like coat of arms of Kyrgyzstan on the 10 Tyn banknote.  Arak, Sergey, I and Robert (from left to right) taking a short break while hiking back.
1 som banknote (5 cents) with traditional musical instruments. Mission accompanished: Our team and a German group at the end of the hike. National costumes on Kyrgyz stamps.
We set off for Karakol along the same river but this time via a somewhat different route.  By mid-afternoon, we were back in Karakol and went to the bazaar again.  This time we tried kymys, which was fermented mare's milk, and mildly alcoholic.  We consumed only half the bowl - it's certainly a cultivated taste.  Had more manti and soupa, kind of a beef and potato soup.
Russian Orthodox Church in Karakol: Very serene.  hard to imagine the Kyrgyz rebellion of 1916 during which the town was besieged. Kyrgyzstan has lesser mineral deposits than its Central Asian neighbours, but what little it has are an important contributor to its GNP. Our flat in Karakol.

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