Tag Archives: Kyrgyzstan 吉爾吉斯斯坦

West Again: Welcome to the Kyrgyz County of Akqi, Stranger!

2013-06-20 2013-06-20 001 045Travel Log, 20 June.

6PM: I’m in Akqi, near the Kyrgyzstan border, and I couldn’t feel more welcome. I slipped in to this area, also part of the off-limits Kizilsu Kyrgyz Prefecture, by hiring a cab driver in Kashgar who was also up for an adventure, and just as keen to bypass all the police checkpoints we might encounter. We stopped in a couple little towns along the way, chatting with curious shop owners and picking up a couple nice-looking shyrdaks for taking back home. Then, when we arrived in Akqi, I took a walk and then made my way to the PSB, where I fully expected to be booked and shipped out on the next bus to Aksu. Instead I was greeted like a VIP, a status accorded to the first foreigner in anyone’s memory to come through these parts. Apparently the PSB here just never got the memo: foreigners don’t come here because they’re technically not allowed to come here, at least according to the PSB office in Kashgar. I spent a good hour in the PSB office, getting chatted up about what it’s like to be a foreigner, receiving recommendations for a good hike the next morning, and hearing about what development schemes the government has going or planned in these parts (answer: horse breeding, hydropower, and domestic tourism).

It just goes to show: when travelling in China, you never know what you’re in for.   Continue reading

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Postcard from halfway through a bottle of fermented mare’s milk, and to Osh

Place of the KyrgyzWinding our way along the Gulcha River down toward the Fergana Valley, between sips of the kumys we picked up at a yurt camp atop the Taldyk Pass, a simple thought occurred to me: there’s a big difference between a Kyrgyz autonomous county and a Kyrgyz autonomous country.

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The Grass is Always Greener…

Irkeshtam Pass…on the other side of the Chinese border fence. It just takes a bit to get there: a hundred miles of 4-wheel driving through desert mountain moonscape, seven passport checks, a three-hour wait at the final border control (it was lunch break), and a personal PLA-soldier escort down a little goat path and over some old barbed wire to a spot where he wasn’t allowed to go any farther. And then suddenly there we were, in the most beautiful place on earth: Kyrgyzstan!

 

 

 

 

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