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Thursday, 17 October 2013

DAY 14, SILENCE OF THE ROAD: SARY TASH – BOR DOBO – KARA KUL (163KM)


4th June 2013
It was a beautiful day as I checked out from the guest house and rode to the nearby petrol station. Since I had been warned by Noah, I was not surprised when being told that the one and only petrol station in Sary Tash only had RON80. This meant that I had to divert all the way to Sary Moghul purposely to get RON91. I didn’t want the same problem to happen again when DREAM’s engine lost power while ascending the high passes because I used RON80 as its fuel.
The dining area at the GH in Sary Tash

The road to Sary Moghul was good and flat. It took me about 1 hour to cover the 70km distance (return). Before reaching Sary Tash small settlement, I took a right turning to Bor Dobo, the Kyrgyz border. The paved road started to deteriorate, but after what I had been through, this is still tolerable.

Road washed away again.....I hv to cross the stream and climbed up the steep track.....
This road washed away part is about 70m long

I reached the border and took about 20 minutes to clear my passport. Once done, I climbed up Kyzyl Art Pass (4280m), which was totally a dirt track, winding its way for another 20kms to the Tajikistan border. The view was superb, and totally different from what I had seen in Kyrgyzstan.

The starting of Kyzyl Art Pass

The border guards in Tajikistan were so nice and friendly, but they took a while before they let me go. They were so fond of me and wanted to talk to me even though our conversations were limited due to language barrier. It was funny to think of how the authorities simply ignored the customs fees OR overcharging foreigners as they liked. In my case, I didn’t have to pay USD15 for taking DREAM into Tajik.
WELCOME TO TAJIKISTAN....the Marco Polo sheep welcomes you.....

After about 45 minutes, I was done, and started to descend the dirt road for another 5kms before I met the famous ‘paved M41 highway’. Yuuhuuu....finally.
Over the fence is China
The so called paved road was nothing like ours in Malaysia. It was a bitumen uneven road, bad patches and pot holes here and there. The wind was quite strong that I can only manage to ride at 60kmh. All along the way, I could see the fence which bordered Tajik and China. At certain parts, it was very close to the main road, in less than 20m away. Gone were the greenish and blueish Kyrgyz mountains that I had feasted my eyes for the past week. The mountains surrounding me here were grey and brown in colour.The road was totally deserted and very very quiet. All I could hear was the sound of the howling wind. I felt as if I am not on earth.
"Silence of the Road"....no worries, the hit and run case wont happen here.....
Finally, I saw the glimpse of Kara Kul Lake and I screamed with joy upon seeing the beautiful blue lake from far away. It was still early before sunset, but due to the acclimatization (as I will be climbing up to more than 4600m tomorrow), I decided to pull over and checked in at Sadat GH.

Kara Kul Lake fr a distance, also known as the Black Lake (it indeed looks black when the sun is hidden by clouds)
In late afternoon, I took a stroll at the lake which was frozen at certain parts. It was beautiful, however the wind was very strong and I felt so cold. I made a mistake by stepping on the frozen part of the lake when suddenly it cracked, and I fall inside the cold water. My camera was wet too. Fortunately the water was not very deep, but instantly, I felt a stinging pain due to the cold burn.
 
 
The highest salt lake in the world
Snow + salt
The last pic before I fall in the frozen lake
 
I hurriedly got back to the GH to dry up. I took a short nap since I felt as if I’m catching a fever after falling in the lake just now. The rest of the day was spent chatting and exchanging infos with another guest, Ben, an Israeli cyclist.
 
p/s: A more detailed story about my journey will be told in my upcoming book. More beautiful pics of course. STAY TUNED.....

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Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')
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