Running the gauntlet in Cholpon Ata - Kyrgyz roads
Bashir - fearsome guard dog
Two happy chappies, up the valley for the day for the festivities.
The resident three-year old. Shy, at first, but soon graduated to charming slaps at breakfast.
My stay in the yurts near Cholpon Ata happily coincided with a festival in the Gregorievka valley. The felt hats, when wet, have a strong smell of wet dog.
Pillow fights on horseback
Aha yes, the national sport! Look for the headless goat carcass in dead centre. The game is rather similar to rugby - but again, on horseback.
Team Militsia make a grab for the carcass but the boys in red steal the show with a 4-1 win
After the games are over, we all sit down to a nice cup of fermented mare's milk. Our policeman friend (brought along for crowd control) ensures us it tastes wonderful
A schelp up the valley on Orligh, my trusty steed, and we are rewarded with a sea-green alpine lake
Orligh looks on, wistfully
With my guard down for the photo, Shogur, my guide, goes for the right nipple grab in full view of his (gold-toothed) wife.
A now all too familiar scene - crammed in the back of an ancient Lada heading to the next destination
Up the mountain to Altyn Arashan, courtesy of a decrepid old army truck. Obviously this broke down more times than you could imagine. To the left is Valentin, a rare shot without cigarette.
PROOF! Guess what this is, folks? Guess??
China lies somewhere in the distance
The guys picked up a couple of bargains at the livestock market
A feisty ewe shows her new owner who's boss.