May 272010
 

We are now in Karakol in Kyrgyzstan up by the mountains. Its been a bit weird since leaving the city which is a weird thing to say. We spent a night in Cholpon-Ata which is meant to be the ‘Costa Del Sol’ of Kyrgyzstan, but it was a bit depressing to be honest, and I wish I wasn’t writing that! We were too early in the season, and despite being next to the second biggest lake in Central Asia (Issy-Kul) we found it incredibly hard to find access to the shore, unless it was through the run down and closed camp site next to our hotel which had nothing around it.
We’re in Karakol today as we left there pretty sharpish..especially after not having water this morning and the owner thinking we broke his boiler by leaving the water heater on (he left it on). It was a pleasure to speak in English to people in the tourist office and CBT office, however despite booking a ‘day trip’ with CBT to Jeti Oguz canyon we found out by chance we had just booked a taxi to take us there and wait…..unfortunately this seems to be happening a lot to us, which is getting a tad depressing! If you ever end up in Karakol book your housing through the Tourist Information as CBT houses seem to be miles away (30-40 minute walk) and ours overlooks some derelict concrete building!
Added to that we cannot get our flight to Mongolia confirmed for a week on Friday due to the airline (SCAT!)….so we are having to consider alternatives just in case such as trying to get a Russian transit visa and a lot of expensive trains through Russia, or getting the train through China and missing out Western Mongolia.
Hopefully it won’t come to that but I don’t think we’ll know until the last minute, meaning we can’t book any tours in Mongolia yet.
Yes it’s been an ‘interesting’ few days (read into that what you want)….I’ve even considered the potential of a drastic alternative, but well……the only place apart from Beijing to fly to seems to be erm…..Bangkok!
Beijing to Ulanbataar in Mongolia was going to cost over $1000 USD, around $700 for going up through Russia……
It saddens me to be writing probably my most down travel blog post. Ever. On the bright side, at least there are shops in this town and we’ve seen quite a few people. Over and out!

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