This is my fourth time visiting Osh and there’s nothing new I really want to see. Plus I’ve got a wound on my foot that needs to heal and the prospect of just relaxing for a while seems pretty sweet, and some of the fellow hostel guests are good to kill time with. It takes about a week before I hit the road again, through the mountains to the old caravanserai at Tash Rabat. One of the very few ancient buildings in this land long inhabited by nomads.
It’s a slow road, and while the road conditions are better than in Tajikistan the traffic seems even sparser. And I’m back to my strategy of not sticking my thumb out, but just walking until someone offers me a free ride. I mostly get rides from shepherds heading back to their summer pastures. They tell me the Chinese are building new roads and tunnels in the area and soon the ride won’t have to take so long.
The third day after leaving Osh happens to be Kurman Ait, which means there are people on the road heading out to visit their relatives. One family even invites me over to their house to spend the night with them and treat me to a traditional holiday sheep’s rib while watching musicians retell the Kyrgyz national epic on TV. Though the wife seems to be doing most of the work I don’t talk to her. I’m not sure if there’s a language barrier or if it is a cultural thing: perhaps a bit of both. Meanwhile her husband is sitting on the sofa going through the pictures on my phone. In any case as welcoming as the family is and as grateful as I feel for their hospitality, I don’t feel entirely comfortable and call it a night early.
A few hours after leaving the family I end up in the town of Naryn, renting a room from a local tourist office. There’s not a whole lot to do in the town which consists of little more than one road. But it does have the world’s shortest trolleybus line servicing said road, and the local museum is a strange mix of Soviet-era displays with some bits of modernity shoved in between.
After visiting the old trading post together with a fellow tourist who’s staying at the same apartment as I am I hitch to Bishkek where I plan to spend the winter. I end up getting a ride from two parents and their kids selling socks, stopping many times on the way to show off their wares to potential customers. I join them for a brief visit to the Burana tower before finding my last ride into the city.