Weird Soviet style statue up xxxx Valley
Following the Eagle, we drove the French couple and their very large rucksacks along the border of Issy Kul lake and we slipped up one of the valleys in search of a gorge. After following a rapidly deteriorating track, we parked the car and walked a up a rather indistinct path and got to a hilltop with some stunning views over Issy Kul Lake but we were unimpressed with the gorge.
On returning to the car, I noticed small pesky dirty fingerprints on the driver side door and suspected that a small group of local children had been trying to get into the car. Much to my annoyance I could not unlock the door as they had tried to pick the lock. Another job for the garage!
On arriving at Tamga Homestay, Sonia was feeling a bit off and promptly went to bed and hoped for a better day tomorrow. On waking up Sonia was fine, but Jim was hors de combat and needed a day in bed.
Unfortunately the homestay was full so we found another place nearby and we spent a whole day in bed with the rain pouring down relentlessly. I managed to finish a good book, so very peaceful and Jim has an infinite capacity to sleep!
The family in the second homestay (Tamga Bee) were pretty unique and as we were the only guests we were treated to their undivided attention and spent some time exchanging stories, when we were not asleep!
Our room, thankfully with an en suite, was like a sort of shed in the garden and the whole place looked like a series of garden sheds with projects on the work benches and space made for us to eat or take tea.
One shady shed had power and a modem and boiling water for tea plus bowls of rose petals which were being made into tea leaves in metal bowls. Nikolai was a retired water engineer and was now a volunteer mountain ranger trying to catch poachers who would otherwise kill the snow leopards and Marco Polo sheep. His grandson Gregor, spoke good English after only a year in the International school in Karakul. His aim, at 14 years of age was to do well and become a surgeon. Neither of them would win any prizes for their dress sense but they were an interesting pair to talk to.
The grandmother only appeared at mealtimes with food. Nikolai said his children worked abroad as they could find better jobs.
When we left this little homestay in Tamga, we set off for Karakul town and Jim had picked up a bit and the sun was shining.
Along the road we passed water trucks filling up from pipes diverted from fast flowing mountain streams. Some of the trucks of water were being used to dampen down the dusty road and others I suspect were off to supply a group of yurts perhaps serving food and drinks by the roadside.
Firstly we went in search of xxx waterfall and as it was up a most beautiful valley and close to the road, we made it - just!
That night after a good drive, without 5th gear, we drifted in to a more expensive homestay, with a good washing machine, on the outskirts of Karakul. It is amazing what an extra 10$ can deliver. The main requirement still being an en suite toilet!
Apart from our own health, we were still having problems with the Landy gears and although we circled Issy Kul lake and sampled the delights of Karakol town which included a Russian Orthodox Cathedral and a Chinese influenced mosque, we were drawn back to Bishkek to visit the Toyota garage again to see if the gear problem could be fixed once and for all.
The next day we sped back to Bishkek and booked a camping spot in our favourite Tunduk hostel. The car was taken to the garage on Friday morning and we hoped for a swift diagnosis and cure...........
As there were no rooms in the hostel, we pitched our rather large tent on their lawn thinking we would be on our way quite soon. But it was bad news.
The following day, they diagnosed several new parts were needed to fix our reconditioned gear box from Iran and that these might take two weeks to source and arrive! This news coincided with horrendously hot weather in Bishkek, up to 39 degrees today. So now we could not easily escape into the hills to cool down.
After hanging around in the air-conditioned waiting room in the Toyota garage as long as we could, we had to take ourselves off to an air-conditioned restaurant for a long lunch until the heat of the day abated. I could get used to this!
We then had to work out a plan for the week which took us out of town without our own car or we would become totally stuck in the Tunduk Garden in the oppressive heat. It was still 29 degrees at 10pm!