Day 49 – Shores of Issy-Kul to field 10km up the goldmine road from Barskoon


Distance / 距離: 29.69km
Time / 時間: 2h 48m
Average speed / 平均速度: 10.6km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2187.6km

Still feeling the effects of a sleepless, nauseous night before, I decided to get something to eat for breakfast at the next town. I would have had instant noodles, but I now realise the cause of my diahorrea in China. Those noodles! There is something in the spices in the flavouring that just turn my innards into slime. I was feeling the effects of the noodles the night before this morning. In fact, those effects caused an unplanned dip in the lake to clean up…I’ll leave the details up to your imagination.

Lake Isik-Kol, Kyrgyzstan

So I left the campspot hungry but in good spirits, looking forward to the fresh bread that they would surely have at the next town (there was fresh bread in all the towns I had passed to get to the lake). Unfortunately that hope faded when the next town only had a store that sold pasta and biscuits. They did however have the great fruit tomatoes, so breakfast today was tomatoes and tasteless bicuits. They were sure to have an eatery or at least bread at Barskoon, the main-est looking town on the map enroute to the pass.

Lake Isik-Kol, Kyrgyzstan

The two tomatoes and three biscuits I had for ‘breakfast’ did not last long, and I was just going through the motions to get to Barskoon (which is actually off the main road, slighty up the hill). The monotony of the uphill and hunger was offset however by the friendly local kids who with astounding energy ran all the way through the town alongside me (I was going prtty slow).

To my dismay there was no cafe or bread to be found in the four stores that I tried, so I bought 2kg of tasty-looking pasta, two onions, and a red pepper with plans to make a simple pasta soup using the soup mix I still had from Kazakhstan.

Local kids in Barskoon

Once again it was slightly past 2pm when I stopped just out of Barskoon up the goldmine road for lunch. This lunch introduced me to the great disaster that is cheap Kyrgyzstan pasta (15 som per kg). Once boiled, it becomes a gloggy, tacky lump of flour that takes forever to go away in your mouth, and sticks to your teeth. The soup mix is jolly good though, and when you add about three or four tablespoons of olive oil to the mix, it is actually quite palatable.

This solid lunch including sugary Fanta powered me up the hill until around 4:30pm. There was still time to pedal, but the barometer was dropping, and some rather threatening clouds were coming over the mountains to the east towards me. Just after I had found a recently hay-harvested field (less chance I would be woken early in the morning by workers) and had put the tent up, the first drops of the down-pour started. A cookup of cream of tomoato soup, onions, paprika, olive oil and paprika waited until 6:30pm when the rain had stopped enough to cook outside the tent.

Up the Barskoon River valley, Kyrgyzstan

Once again the pasta was uninspiring. In fact, it was worse this time, as soft blobs of flour in a creamy soup just made the impression that the soup was lumpy, inducing the occassional retch when a ‘lump’ would get stuck halfway down my throat. This pasta really is a disaster. What are they thinking? Someone needs to take pasta making lessons. I guess you can’t expect much however when the pasta comes in sacks…

I left half the lumpy soup for breakfast tomorrow.

Do I suit the Kazakh sunglasses?


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