Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dinner with a Kyrgyz Family

I never thought I would say, "My guess is that this is yak." The idea that I wouldn't be able to instantly ascertain what I was eating, and that my best guess would be something as exotic as yak, certainly never came to mind when I thought about how China might broaden my horizons.
But there I was, in a small building by Lake Karakul (a few hours from Kashgar, which is several hours from Urumqi, which is a province in China that's practically a different country) sitting next to Alex, our driver, and a family of Krygyz eating a fantastic dinner which I couldn't see because the house was only lit by a single lightbulb powered by a battery.

Alex and I signed up to take a two-day trip to Lake Karakul because we thought it sounded fun, but we didn't know how great of a time it would be. By the end of the first day (and just wait until I describe what happened on the second) I was already saying that with the exception of my heater fan, this trip was the best 350 kuai I'd ever spent.

We essentially rented a driver and a car for two days, and luckily, our driver spoke Mandarin, so we could talk to him. We got to the lake by mid-afternoon and it was a beautiful day. The scenery was amazing at the lake, because there was water, and right by it was a mountain covered in snow, and right by that was a series of rocky mountains. Here is one of the pictures I took.

I took it from a camel's back. We toured the lake for an hour by camel and I got that picture. Doesn't it look like it came from a postcard?

As evening came, the view changed a lot and I got this other amazing picture. In the foreground are the yurts that the families stayed in.

We ended up staying in a family's small house because our driver said staying in the yurt that they'd rent us would be too cold. So after dinner (which was capped off by yak milk tea, of which I was pressed to have thirds) they unwrapped some blankets, toned down the stove, and we went to sleep. It seemed like it was the day that was the dream, though.


Sheri said...

Oh man, I'm jealous! Such natural beauty! such adventure!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful countryside. How exciting to be able to experience all of this. Were the camels more fun than the monkeys?
Mrs. Curti

Anonymous said...

Wow, those pictures are amazing! They could be in a calendar. I wish I were there!