Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last day in the Stans

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:04 PM
Woke up extra early this morning to explore the resort. I walked down to the beach and being low season there was no crowds on the shore. The beach was clean and the pier had built-in picnic tables on both sides. I thought it was designed very well and imagined how people can enjoy them during summer. The water was tranquil, transparent and clean. I looked back at the Tien Shan serving as a backdrop to the numerous wooden cabins in the resort. The day was fine, sky blue, not a cloud but a bit cold. What a wonderful relaxing place, without the maddening summer crowds. I wandered around the resort complex, saw cabins of different sizes, designs and color, a giant swimming pool, community halls and dinning rooms, and almost got lost in the immensity. Quite impressive with this resort. I wouldnt mind spending summer here, swim in the lake and relax in this quiet setting.

On our way back to Bishkek, we stopped at the Shamsy Valley to see the Burana Tower and the nearby Bal-bals, small statues for the dead. They're scattered in a wide area sorta like the Moais in Easter Island but much much smaller in size and not impressive. I've climbed up to the tower, not so much for the view, but because this was the last tower of the trip and my last climb. I've missed climbing the pylon at Ak Saray because after climbing the Islam Khodja minaret in Khiva, my poor legs hurt for 2 days straight, specially the right one with the bad knee. Greg, of course, climbed every minaret we've seen, including the one of the Ulugbek Madrasa at the Registan. If I've known we could do that, I would have climbed it too.

We happened upon a kyrgyz polo match the local called Kok Bearu. Instead of hitting th e ball, the riders dragged a goat carcass. Most of us went to see it and take photos. I didnt much care to see a bunch of people on horses dragging around a dead animal.

Back at the capital, our local guide took us to shop at the Russian Zum department store. Every time I stepped into one of these, it reminded me of the old department stores in Hong Kong. The first floor sold nothing but electronics and it was buzzing with people. The top floor only sold souvenirs and they didnt barter. As a result I only got 1 tshirt for the lucky fellow at home.

Back to the same hotel Ak Keme for the last day of the trip. I was given the same room and memories of that bad night surfaced and I almost asked for another room.

We dined at the Captain Nemo restaurant and had perch wrapped and cooked in foil. Not too bad. Jonathan surprised Fran by giving her a bathday card signed by all of us, and a local hand embroidered bag and the carpet he was lugging around all through the trip. We now know who he bought it for. Fran wasnt totally surprised but looked quite happy tho.

Tomorrow wake-up time is 3:30am with a 4:30 departure. Not looking forward to the longggggggg flight home. Trip was over. But what a trip it was! My eyes were very content to have feasted on so much magnificent sights!

burana tower

Burana Tower photos

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