Robbie, one of my best friends back home, posted on Facebook reminding me that I’ve been slacking lately:
A few things have conspired to keep me off-line for a couple of weeks (although my beard growing is not one of them) but I’m here now, so without further ado, I went to Toktogol for a weekend recently.
Toktogul – home to the largest hydro-electric dam in Central Asia and my friends Ethan, John, and Emma – is pretty commonly cited as one of the best places to visit in Kyrgyzstan. This weekend, both to celebrate Emma’s birthday and to get some tourist-ing done before winter sets in, a few of us from Talas braved the three hour taxi ride South.
Between dodging herds of sheep and cows, our taxi driver’s uncomfortable lead foot, and getting thrown back and forth on mountain switch-backs, the drive to Toktogul was really pretty cool. The mountains were amazing as always and, this time, the ones we were seeing were even new to me.
In the city we met up with Guka, a woman who, along with her two friends and husband, operates a guest house and taxi service. Everyone there spoke Kyrgyz, Russian, at least some English, and one girl spoke pretty decent French too. And to top it all off, none of them were any older than me. This was a bunch of twenty-something friends running two (successful) businesses in rural Kyrgyzstan. If that’s not impressive I don’t know what is.
We had pretty interesting company at the guest house too: A Swiss guy on his way to Nepal to do some work with an NGO there supporting reconstruction after last Spring’s earthquake and an Austrian backpacking and hitchhiking his way around Central Asia.
Seeing our friends was great, staying at Guka’s guest house was great, and meeting new people was great too. The only thing that was not great was the mild(ish) case of food poisoning that about half of us got from a meal at a café. That was a bummer, but I can’t remember ever being more thankful for access to an indoor bathroom in my life.
After a couple days of exploring Chrissi, Andy, Anna, Kristen and I all headed back to Talas with our same lead-footed driver. I caught that last marshrutka of the evening from Talas City and made it back to Kara Suu in time for dinner.
(Left to Right): Kristen, Anna, Chrissi, and John
Toktogul has a pretty sweet bazaar
Toktogul Reservoir in the valley below town