Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We're Back (sort of...)

We thought crossing the border was the hardest part...

We arrived safely in China, and found ourseleves blocked and censored on all sides. We are having a lot of trouble updating.

Don't feel left out, we have uploaded our photos to Flickr. Enjoy!


We'll come back to the regular format ASAP. Bare with us for now...


Saturday, September 26, 2009


We made it over the border and after ten days in a no-communication zone... we're back! Right now, we're having some trouble posting, hope to sort it out soon.

T and R

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On The Move

It's been over a month in Central Asia and we are finally moving onto the the last leg of the Silk Road: CHINA!
We are currently in transit, passing through the high peaks and low valleys of Kyrgyzstan, back to Osh and onto the Chinese border.
Rumours have reached us that Internet access is difficult to come by these days around the Republic. We'll try our best to keep updating our whereabouts and experiences, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What They Wore... On Horseback


We spent two nights in the Ranger's Cabin, on the other side of the river. It's a great choice among the few guesthouses that are dotted around the valley (but dress warmly...). Altyn-Arashan is known for its hot sulfur springs attached to every house and its a great way to keep warm. The ranger dropped us the key when we met him riding his horse into town, and we had the place to ourselves.

And Back Again.

The moral of the story: we don't do more than three days in nature.

Our cook, our guide.

There... 3 Day Horse Trek, Karakol

We thought we'd give our legs a rest and embarked on a 3 day horse trek to Altyn-Arashan Valley. We were sorely mistaken, sorely. We hired two horses, a cook and a guide, to take us up the mountains, where we followed the stream to the valley 3000 meters above sea level. We arrived at sunset and the temperature began to drop. As there was no heating in the cabin, we packed on the layers and slept under all the blankets we could find. Lucky for us we were snowed in the next morning and spent the day sipping tea.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What They Ate... Ashlyanfu Noodles

Karakol has a large population of Dungan, an ethnic group of Muslim Chinese found in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang province in China. Their cuisine combines Central Asian cooking and Far Eastern spices. 

Ashlyanfu Noodles: A light delicious Dungan treat. A mix of cold wheat noodles and gelatine bean noodles drowned in a vinegary sauce. Cold vegetable broth is then added and topped with a bit of red chili paste. Eat it with the locals on a bench at the market, and soak in the oriental atmosphere.  

Wanna see more? Go to our sister food blog: www.theroyalkitchen.blogspot.com

What They Wore... Chic Children

Animal Migration, Karakol

About this time of year, when the snow begins to fall in the mountains, many birds migrate from Siberia to South Africa. On their way they pass through the region. We found a flock of migrating geese sitting in a local puddle disturbing the neighborhood with their loud cries. Other livestock also roam the streets.

Karakol Houses

On The Way... From Bishkek to Karakol

Running to the toilet, Marshutka stop on the highway.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Way to Bishkek

The ride from Arslanbob to Bishkek took no less than 10 hours in a cramped shared taxi. Nonetheless, the road passed through high altitude mountain scenery, grasslands, nomads and cattle traffic. It even snowed at one point.
Pumping the tires for a safer(?) journey.
A Yurt!

Traffic Jam.

What They Wore... First Day of School II

Country Kids.

What They Wore... First Day of School.

Uniforms and City Kids.

A Hike in Arslanbob, Kyrgyzstan

Arriving in Arslanbob was like entering an adventurous fairytale. This small Uzbek village high up in the mountains, inhabits cloaked grey-beards and donkey riding children. We ventured into the wilderness, yet again, walking above the village where the locals begged us to take their photo.

Bazaar Close-ups

Sweets and Bread Stamps.

Jayma Bazaar, Osh, Kyrgyzstan

One afternoon we crossed the border to Kyrgyzstan. The crossing was relatively smooth and included a thorough explanation of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" to the Uzbek guard who suspected it to be political propaganda.

On the other side we skipped off to the Jayma Bazaar in Osh for some people-watching.

Yodgorlik Silk Factory, Margilon

A short Marshutka ride from Fergana is this little factory in Margilon that produces silk textiles. There, we were ushered around by a 15 year old boy who adamantly described the silk making process.

After boiling the cocoons in water, the thread is unravelled, dyed and spun into spools. It is then hand-woven into fabric by a collective of 40 women.

The dyeing process.