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Kyrgyz Bazaar

I was woken by the sound of the town’s loud speaker system blaring out messages. In other parts of China where I have witnessed this I was told it is the way news is passed on.

Whatever it was - no one took any notice.

After a breakfast of steamed dumplings we set out for Karakul Lake again. We had to stop at another checkpoint and this time had to get out of the vehicle and walk through the road block.

A small puppy came over to us and kept biting at our ankles – showing a bit too much interest in one of our group. This attracted the attention of the armed guards, but it was funny (and a relief) to see them laughing when one of us pick the over-excited little dog up by the scruff of the neck and walk it over to the compound.

It was clear weather again at Karakul Lake and some of us took trips around the lake by horseback, camel and even motorbike. I explored the settlement in the hope of meeting more of the people.

I soon met Arsia and Gulkier, who lived in stone built houses rather than yurts, and shared some bread and yoghurt whilst attempting to communicate with the few Kyrgyz phrases I’d picked up. After a while they had to gather up their cattle and walk them around the lake.

I continued my exploration around the settlement. The kids here seem to love the simplest of toys; one lad was busy playing with a pair of wheels made out of an old bit of wire - two wheels and a long steering column with another wheel at the other end. Who needs a Play station or WII?

I was beckoned over by the two enterprising young boys (proper little ‘Del Boys’) that I had met the day before. They had set up an impromptu stall using an old table – “Kyrgyz Bazaar” as they called it, and were keen to sell me all manner of necklaces, polished stones or a kalpak.

I had previously tried to buy a small hand-carved goat-like animal with large horns – an ibex I think. One of the boys had made this himself and had not been too keen to part with it – a few dollars and some hard bargaining later it was mine - along with a few necklaces I didn’t really need!

Much to the boys amusement I gave one of my purchases (a silver necklace) to Mahja as a thank you for her family’s hospitality the day before.

As we waved good bye I was left with a strong to desire to return to this lake-side idyll and live out my days there, but of course visiting is one thing, the harsh reality of living there for real is another...

See China - Karakul Lake

Karakul Lake, Xinjiang Kyrgyz bazaar Kyrgyz women bring out souvenirs Kyrgyz girl in doorway Kyrgyz del boys

Location: Karakul Lake, Xinjiang, China

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Retrospective Traveller is my way of recalling some of my travel memories through photography… and features tales from my overland adventures.

Retrospective Traveller

Retrospective Traveller - the travel memories and other traveller tales of @retrotraveller. Mainly ‘after the event’ – a retrospective look back at journeys past. You’ll find short stories, thoughts, travel experiences (some sanitised) and plenty of travel photography too... you can also find more photography on Flickr -