I confess I’d never heard of them until I actually saw them. We were traversing the Silk Road from East to West and after an exciting but arduous (‘bring your sense of humour’) journey we found ourselves near the Ferghana Valley of Eastern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It was vividly spectacular.
Featured Image: Photo(s) courtesy of Sarah Howey.
Fellow professional Maitland veterinarian Digby Rayward is watching milking of the mare with rapt fascination. Mare’s milk is a vitally important commodity in the high country of Kyrghistan! It’s a very long way to the nearest supermarket! Digby might have known fermented mares’ milk provides ‘Kumiss’?; which is the local alcoholic brew! After the mild shock of the first sip its a nice thing to do around the fire in the Yurt at night!
Ferghana Valley Eastern Kyrgyzstan and near the Kamchik Pass, Uzbekistan
Dayuan (Uzbekistan) 130 BCE Ferghana Valley (highlighted) post-1991
To say the journey from Western China (Urumqi and Kashgar) via the Tuergate Port was ‘interesting’ would be the antithesis of hyperbole. It’s at very high altitude for a start (>4000m). Being western tourists we were processed quite quickly during the freezing night. Coming in the opposite direction there was/were a 5 kilometres long string of Chinese trucks queued up waiting for access across the border. These were returning from long journeys from as far away as Western Europe bringing much needed goods and chattels to the new consumers in modern China. Chairman Mao’s enemies-of-the-state capitalist roaders and running dogs are unleashed! It was the Silk Road revisited yet again in the 21st century; after 2000 plus years of successful trading both ways. Our first stop was a fascinating town ‘Naryn’ in Eastern Kyrgyzstan where we stayed at the ’English Boarding House’. The fare was limited because resources were restricted. We ate the best available.