By the time we finished with the yak wrangling it was pretty late in the evening and well after dark. I assumed we were heading back to Pamir’s house to leave the yaks in one of his stables, but instead we took a route I didn’t recognize and stopped at a seemingly random house.
“Ok, maybe we’re leaving them all here?”
Instead of herding all of the yaks out of the trailer only one got pulled out and directed to a barn. We all shook hands with the owner of the house and took off again.
“Ok, now we’re going home, right?”
Nope. We stopped at another house and repeated the process. By this point it was around 11:00 PM.
“Alright, what is this? Are we just delivering yaks now?”
As it turned out, that’s exactly what we were doing. For the next two hours or so we dropped off five of the seven yaks. Finally, we made our way to Kalibek’s house were we dropped of the remainder of the yaks and – mercifully – Nuraklyi and I drove home and I passed out.
The next day was relatively slow and normal (or whatever normal means now) until Nurkalyi got home from work in the evening. Barely stopping to change out of his work clothes Nurkalyi rushed me to the StepWagon and we drove back to Kalibek’s house where I found myself intimately involved in the soi-ing (cleaning and butchering) of one of the previous night’s yaks.
All gruesomeness aside, it was really pretty interesting. Back home I did a fair bit of bird hunting as a kid which I helped clean, but I’d never worked with anything as big as a yak before. (For those of you keeping score, I have helped clean a sheep, two marmots, and a yak since I got to Talas.)
I’ll spare the squeamish the details, but after we finished piecing the yak into manageable cuts and the women finished cleaning the organs out, some besh barmok (the Kyrgyz national dish) complete with intact yak head was prepared.
We had a really great meal and, even though besh barmok isn’t really my favorite, yak soi-ing really works up an appetite. Who knew?