Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Distance: 0 miles
Time on bikes: 0 hours

As we’ve now decided to delay our entry into China by seven days, this gives us a bit of time to see some other places in Kyrgyzstan. We have a look at the map, but are in a bit of a conundrum. We’d like to see some of the parts to the west, including the largest walnut tree grove in the World, extending to 11,000 Ha. However, this would be a ride of about 600 miles round trip and that’s a long way in anyone’s book to see some trees for a couple of days.

Our other option is just to take things easy and travel south to spend some time around the Lake Song Kol, which is apparently the jewel in the crown of Kyrgyzstan. But we’ve got plenty of time to do that and it doesn’t take long to decide to just stay another night in the guesthouse. It’s been really good to catch up with James & Emily and a last night with the rest of the group would be great.

Our agenda will be to see the mountains and a gorge located south of Bishkek, before heading further south to see Song Kol. That should be relaxed and much easier than trying to squeeze too much in.

After getting a few things sorted on the bikes, we head out to the post office to try and get some things sent back to Béné’s parents. This includes an unused camera mount, old paperwork from previous countries and some maps. This seems to be much easier than our attempt in Kazakhstan – just like the visas, which kind of sums up the difference with bureaucracy between the two countries. You get the feeling that this place is just a little less stiff, and it makes life a bit easier. That’s not to say that posting a parcel was easy – it still took about an hour of form filling and a girl behind the counter to make a nice box and sew a cotton bag for the contents to go in. We’ve never seen a sewing machine behind the counter in England, so this was interesting to watch. The cotton bag was then wax sealed and stamped ready for transit. That should look good when it hopefully arrives in France.

We then head down to the park to just relax and catch up on a couple of weeks of expenses. First we attract the attention of a local tramp, but he speaks a few words of English and we give him the equivalent of about 10p which he seemed happy with. Next up are three kids who wake Carl up with a chorus of what sounds like either a religious chant or a political song. They’re handing out newsletters and posters for one of the Political parties up for election and Carl tries to find out a bit more by leafing through the newsletter and asking a few questions. Of course, with no language in common this is a bit difficult, but the kids seem to be surprised we’re actually taking an interest.

We then head back to the guesthouse for about 7 pm, but then find out our meeting with the rest of the group has been postponed until 8 pm. While getting ready, Béné gets chatting to a group of French guys that have just recently come over the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. The good news is that out of five bridges, four have now been repaired. The bad news is that the remaining bridge only has a steel rope across for transporting pedestrians and luggage. They seem very negative about us getting the bikes across, but we seem to think they’re not allowing for the ingenuity and determination we have for getting through. Well, we’ll see.

We head out for 8 pm to the usual bar where we meet Fabian who’s unfortunately been waiting for 45 minutes as he didn’t get the email about meeting up later. The French guys and another French couple have joined us for the evening, so there’s about twelve of us around the table. It’s a good night and it’s again nice to enjoy a few beers in the company of some really nice people.

Jour 123 – Jeudi 19 Aout 2010. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Distance: 0 km – Temps a moto: 0 heures

Nous avons decide de retarder notre départ en Chine et nous avons donc plus de temps au Kyrgyzstan, nous regardons les guides et les cartes et hésitons a aller a la foret la plus grande du monde (11 000ha), mais c’est a 600 kilomètres, ca serai faisable, mais nous décidons de rester un jour de plus et d’aller dans les montagnes au sud de Bishkek le lendemain et d’aller a Song kol pour deux jours après ou James et Emily nous rejoidront, les autres vont rester plus longtemps a Bishkek.

Carl passe du temps avec James a bricoler sur les motos pendant que je traduis un peu du journal et nous allons a la poste pour essayer d’envoyer un paquet de paperasses chez mes parents car nous espérons ne pas avoir a les jetter. Nous avions essaye sans succes au Kazakhstan. Nous arrivons a la poste avec un sachet en main, la jeune femme de la poste verifie ce qu’il y a dedans et me fais remplire des papiers ou il faut faire une liste du contenu et du poids individuel des choses, puis elle fait une boite sur mesure avec une boite en carton trop grande et une autre femme couds un sachet en toile de la taille exacte pour l’emballer et la sceller a la cire. Le tout prends une heure et nous ne sommes pas 100% surs que ca arrivera en alsace, mais avec un peu de chance…

Nous allons nous installer dans un des jardins de la ville et nous faisons les comptes des dernieres semaines avant de retourner a l’hôtel. Nous y trouvons un groupe d’Alpinistes francais qui nous donnent des informations fraiches sur la route du Pakistan dont ils reviennent, et il y a un problème avec un pont qui est partiellement detruit, mais nous pensons qu’il sera repare quand nous y passerons dans une douzaine de jours. Avec James et Emily nous allons ensuite retrouver Fabien, Stephano et Marcella dans un bar ou nous passons une soiree agréable.