D352. May 11. The snow is coming…

On the day when we visited the Tash-Rabat caravenserail, we left Naryn under the sun (should you wonder where are Naryn and Tash-rabat, please click here).

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Quite an arid land, though, isn’t it ? After an hour of ride, we get a glimpse on the white mounts, in the horizon…

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Then, as we get up in altitude, snow covers the floor. It gets colder and colder.

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We meet a shepherd on his horse. As I get off the car to take a picture of him, I freeze…

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I couldn’t be a Khirgize shepherd, that for sure… As I walk alone on the road (the car parked behind a tree), a car stops: a nice couple asks me if I want a ride. Here, hitch-hiking is pretty common, as many people don’t have a car.

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And my horseman disappears in the white mountains…

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Animals seem to cope pretty well with the climate : yaks of course, but also marmots, and, more unexpectedly, chicken !

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This was before the rain falled on Tash-Rabat. We met a group of students, living in Naryn, who where coming here to visit the caravenserail with their classmates. Like us, they were wearing warm clothes.

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As we left Tash-Rabat and our cosy trailer, snow became intense…

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Sheeps were struggling, and cow as well.

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Only their shepherd seemed placid, in the eye of the storm…

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… And we had a very interesting chat…. Worse watching, really !


D252. May 11. Inside a nomad trailer

As snow is starting to fall on Tash-Rabat, a woman offers to shelter us in her trailer…

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Thousands of abandoned train wagons like this one have found a second use in the middle of nowhere…

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The trailer is split in two rooms. Kitchen, stove and table above, bedroom below.

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She will cook for us.

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Capture d’écran 2014-05-13 à 14.07.19 Frieds donuts. They are empty but you can fill them with jam. On every table in the country you will find two cups filled with jams, generally made from red fruits.

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And of course the tea. We will have here a delicious, precious, unbelievable moment.
While Nick and David warm up and dry, I learn to the little girl how to watch pictures on my LSR camera she catches it very quickly, in a moment she won’t need me anymore. Then, we watch different videos on my phone. The touch screen has no secrets anymore.

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I don’t remember their name. I don’t think I even asked I must confess, knowing that anyway I wouldn’t remember, but I will never forget the couple of hours we spent together.

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D252. May 11. Reportage from the Caravenserail…

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The above sketch is Tash-Rabat imagined by my Dad, while reading my stories…
On my side, I think of Ella Maillart, a traveller born in Switzerland one century ago.

Her book, “Des monts célestes aux sables rouges”, made me discover Central Asia twenty years ago – English translation of the book : Either “Turkestan Solo, One Woman’s Expedition” or “Turkestan Solo, A journey through Central Asia”.

In 1932, she passes through Turkestan and Kirghize lands on a horse, she climbs the “Celestial Mounts” (Tien Shan) on skis, next to China. She visits Tachkent, Samarcand, Bukhara, before dealing with the “red sand desert”, East of the Aral Sea, on a camel….

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I am now walking on the very places she passed by, in places that have amazing names : Silk road, caravenserail, Celestial Mounts (Tien Shan), Pamir… Next time I’ll go to China and will pass through Turfan, Uruqmi, Kashgar, and the Tacla Makan Desert. And next week, I should discover the “Red Sands), next to the Aral Sea…

Coming back to my story, I’d like to encourage you in downloading the following videos. It might take some time but it’s less than 10 minutes watching, and, frankly, what you will see is worth it…