Sunday, 28 April 2013

Bishkek Beckoning

It's sunny above the clouds. We've come down into the wet of Spring, the damp cost of descent. In exchange there are cities and trees; weird discos and foraged campfires we no longer need. In Bishkek the trees are budding young again and I wonder ignorantly if bearing steadily North East for the next couple of thousand miles means I'll chase the season breaking.

Will and I made a week of the most direct(!) paved road from Osh to Bishkek. We rode fast on artificial energy; I've learnt his habit of necking condensed milk tins for the climbs and compromised to instant coffee mix for the mornings. Meals two parts butter to three generic carb and egg. After a difficult day up into snowy headwinds we made one of the passes at sunset. It was suddenly extremely beautiful and cold; I had to piss along my gear cables to get moving only to find the brakes frozen. William flew ahead, downhill, night fell and I found myself rescued by an enormous rising moon, full across virgin snow. 

I'm exhausted in Bishkek. Last night, removing the layers of a week outside and moving, I noticed all the tiny ants in my hair. Skin returns to my nose and lip. There's the immediate relief of a capital city. Of mountains left and a chapter closed. I'm detained here until Friday when Will's mate arrives with road tyres and my coffee re-up. Meanwhile it is visas, of course. Kazakhstan in the morning, a Chinese agent at noon...  Mongolia has to wait until Almaty. The guesthouse is the scene of constant visa debriefing. All sorts of Europeans take the sitting area while the Japanese tend towards eachother. Top tips exchanged, difficult countries trophied about. At breakfast I was pleased by general astonishment over my Russian success in Dushanbe.

My gang is dissolving. Lingering in backpackery Bishkek or taking seperate ways. I'll miss them, our rituals of movement. The bad running jokes and not always making my own breakfast. But coffee and thoughts will go further.

on cycling

the strange nuance of motion, the moment when a slipstream carries you freewheeling somehow faster than the one whose stream you're slipping; the automatic veer to correct it

a blur in my eye's corner and a young horseman overtakes our race with easy speed, leant way back in the saddle his back across the horse's he flings his head and arm with a yaaaaaaaaa! to give us a magnificent middle finger

cresting a hill, fit beneath last week's rarified air, thoughtless with effort and blind with sweat a sleeve across the brow revealing for a moment the curl of climbs ahead

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Got to Osh. Found young William. Supermarket has gin. 

Afghan hillside!

there wasn't one

border dogs

Kyrgyz kiddies