Oitel to Lake Taktagol 40km
I'm tired. I'm smelly. I havent had a shower or proper wash for five days. My clothes stink. I need a break. After another meaty lunch, I spot a beach on a lake, 1km down from the road, and say goodbye to the boys, and head down a rough track to the water. I set up my chair, then plunge fully clothed into the water.
It feels soooo good to be cleaner, and after a rinse my clothes smell so much better. During the course of the afternoon I swim three more times, and snooze in the sun in my chair...oops, I even get a little sunburnt.
The beach isn't flash. Kyrgyzstani are just like so many other Asians. They don't take their rubbish with them. There are both plastic and glass bottles lying around, bags of picnic rubbish just left from yesterday's picnic, and remains of watermelon feasts. And there is stuff floating in the water as well. But it's a beach, and I'm relaxing.
A family arrives in two cars, and parks 50m along the shore. They are thrilled to be here. They've employed a taxi driver, and he brings a small stool over and sits and chats with me. Well mostly we just sit, as we don't speak a common language, but it's nice to have company. Then one of the Dads comes over. He has a big blow up water toy he needs inflating. Have I a pump? We get pumping with my mini cycle pump. We pump lots. Nothing happens. We pump lots more. Blimmen thing has a hole. Duct tape, mine, covers the hole, and pumping is completed. Another toy is produced. More pumping. The dads go away happy, to amuse the kids.
The wind gets up, and creates a 30cm swell. I've never heard a bunch of adults so excited in waves. They were seriously enjoying themselves.
I'm invited to join the family for their evening meal. There is a big rug. Thrown in the centre are biscuits and bread, and there are some salads, and potatoes, and one guy is doing a circuit of the group, insisting they scull a vodka. I get away with a Kyrgyzstani concoction something between coke and sasparala, not much yummier than vodka, but not as much kick.
I'm almost full, and then am led to a fire pit. On top is a cast iron wok. Inside at least half a cow, including head, plus potatoes. This is dug out and the oily fatty meat, is placed on huge platers, and spread around the "table". Everyone tucks in, including the babies, gnawing on fatty rib bones. I can't believe how much meat is consumed. I refuse the fatty ribs, but have huge chunks of steak thrust at me. I'm bloated, and no hot Chai to wash it down.
The sun is setting. As a thank you, I perform a haka. They love it, and that starts the singing and dancing, with vodka shots, of course. I am honored, when one of the brothers offers me his sister for company for the night...."She not married. ..", but I turn down the offer. Only descent thing a gentleman could do........
I'm escorted some very drunk men back to my tent. They all want a ride on Fiona. With the sand so deep, and their drunken state, there is little success. The wives have picked up the families, but not the rubbish, and come and shovel the men into the cars. A great Kyrgyzstani day at the beach.
Some young fellas come over to see what I'm up to. They're also having a party evening, but with chaperone protecting the young ladies. They're fascinated by all my gear, tent, sleeping mat, bike. Before they leave they ask me do I want a woman? Do I look forlorn?
As I'm climbing into bed, another visitor. A fisherman. No woman offered, but he was keen to share his vodka.