Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It was another rather dreary day. The countryside was lovely but with cold, damp weather it was not so much fun cycling.

Over the course of the previous afternoon we had lost nearly 2000m of painfully gained altitude. This morning we took some of it back by going up the Chyrchyk pass. It wasn't as high at 2404m as most of those done in recent weeks but it wasn't easy. It was freezing cold at the top. 2000m seems to be where the yurts begin & the fields around the top of the pass where dotted with them. There was always someone whistling or waving at us.

We arrived at the top at noon (the truth, I arrived at noon the other 2 before me). The previous day we'd found a great truckers cafй at just the right time for lunch. We assumed that we'd be able to find something similar today as well. Unfortunately it wasn't until nearly in Osh that something appeared & they were mostly out of food when we arrived. It was good that the road was going down so little energy was required.

Sebastien, Roman & I parted company shortly after our the late lunch. Their plan was to camp just outside Osh & only spend a few hours in town, while I wanted to stay somewhere with electricity & for 2 nights.

The last few kilometres into Osh was rich agricultural land such that I hadn't seen since Uzbekistan. I was now in the Fergana valley, ethnically Uzbek but parceled up by the Soviets between the republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan & Uzbekistan. Shortly before the breakup of the Soviet Union there was some nasty unrest with clashes between Uzbeks & Kyrgyz, with the former being chaffed by a corrupt
administration dominated by the latter.

I arrived in Osh via the bazaar. It was tantalising to see all the food for sale after the lean period that had lasted since Khorog in Tajikistan. I looked forward to eating good food on the coming rest day.

I went to a homestay on the recommendation of a pair of cyclists that I met going in the opposite direction the previous day. It was a bit of a mess as the husband worked (or moonlighted) as a car wrecker. His workshop for this was the entrance way & courtyard of the house. Scattered around the yard were several cars that had been written off in accidents, as well as car parts & tools. It was cheap & they were very friendly.

I cycled 95 km in 6 hours & 26 minutes
Total so far 8538 km in 125 days

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