20.05.2008 - 21.05.2008
View Route Olympia - China on Lent's travel map.
Commerce in Osh in 1906 (Photo from Mannerheim collection)
Commerce in Osh May 20, 2008
Last night crossing the border to Kyrgyzstan, a three hour procedure that compares favourably with border formalities in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They didn't even screen our luggage. The city of Osh is located right behind the border, geographically still part of the Ferghana valley but already at close to 1000m altitude. Thinking positively, 1000m less to climb to the Taldyk pass at 3615m on the upcoming crossing of the Tien-Shan during the next eight days. (It took Mannerheim and Pelliot three months for the same journey but of course they had other business to attend to in 1906.)
So our stay in Kyrgyzstan is short, but Osh is a really lively town with a huge bazaar area and food choice is wider than it was in Uzbekistan - writing this after the first pizza I have had in two months.
Tour management is now busy to sell our support vehicle (Mercedes Sprinter) as it can't be taken into China and everybody has been requested to revise personal luggage and prepare for an indefinite number of kilometres after the Chinese border with all luggage on bike! The time schedule is now to set out into the mountains tomorrow Wednesday May 21, cross the border to China on Monday 26 May and arrive the following Wednesday in Kashgar.
The passes on the way are Chigirchik (KG, 2406m), Taldyk (KG, 3615m) and Karabel (CN, 2931m). We expect very poor road conditions. In fact the entire way up to Irqesh Tam is remainder of the Cold War between the USSR and China. So conditions are really little better than what Mannerheim experienced a hundred years ago...
Rest day in Osh/Kyrgyzstan: preparing for crossing Tien-Shan