14degrees off the beaten track
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September 15th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,highlights,Kyrgyzstan

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Distance / 距離: 62.46km
Time / 時間: 4h 38m
Average speed / 平均速度: 13.5km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2308km

English Summary: Dry pasta for breakfast, lunch and tea made for another tough day physically, but oh man, check out the scenery (in the Photo Gallery). Just massive. Quite definitely makes all that hard work worth it.

今日はやっと回りの景色を楽しむことができました。ここからナリン町まではくだりばっかりだからある意味でリラクスできていました。そして確かに景色が圧倒的でした。壮大な高原の両脇に5000m級の山々が高原から真上に突き破る。高原に馬、牛、羊が共に暮らす。そして所々キルギスの野民が住むテント(ユルタ)があります。

Room with a view at Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

しかし下りといっても、速度はそこまで早く出せませんでした。道路は4区ではないと通れないような道だったし、ほとんどの橋が流されていましたので何回も川に入ってわたらないと行けませんでした。その上、まだ体が食べ物不足で弱っています。今日の朝、昼、晩、3食はすべて生の(ゆでていない)パスタです。ゆでると本当に食べられなくなります。そこまでまずいです。味的なものはスープの粉です。お湯に入れて、オリブオイルを足すと以外においしい。

今現在食べたくてたまらないもの:一番は日本を出発する直前に、日本の親(高校のときにホームステーしたところのお母さんとお父さん)と一緒に食べたお寿司です。二番目はなぜかジャガイモ(チーズたっぷり)。三番目は日本のお母さんの料理(何でもおいしい)。

Morning sun on Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

実は、謝りたいことがあります。僕が日本にいる間、なかなか納得できなかったのは、日本人の食べものに対するこだわりでした。テレビの電源を入れると必ずどこかのチャネルに料理に関する番組がやっていました。そこまでこだわらなくてもいいから!と僕がよく思っていました。しかし、わかってきたのは、そのこだわりは世界一おいしい食べ物につながっています。日本料理は間違いなく最高です。安いものでも、何でもおいしいからです。どうぞ、ご自由にこだわりつづけてください、日本。

Coming down from Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

On the way to Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

Heading into bad weather towards Archali settlement, Kyrgyzstan

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September 14th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,highlights,Kyrgyzstan

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I sit in my tent tonight at the top of the pass (3910m) an exhausted wreck, but relieved and overjoyed that I have made it through one of the most mentally and physically challenging days of the trip so far.

I awoke from my fitful hungry rest since the night before still hungry. No longer able to stomach the pasta cooked, I crunched down on it raw, washing it down with the last of my Gatorade powdered drink mix. As I packed up my sleeping bag and organised my gear for the day, I was torn between going back the way I had come (it was downhill, after all) to get to somewhere with real food, or to push on to the top of the pass. The terrain over the last two days and slow pace had taken its toll on my phsyce and body. I have lost much weight – how much I don’t know. The diahorrea was still at its worst this morning. I cracked and the tears flowed for an instant when an unexpected movement ended up in my pants…

Right, that’s it. I’m going home. Home to New Zealand.

Don’t be so hasty, I told myself, and decided to decide once the tent was all packed up and the bike was loaded.

I stood there with the bike leaning against me, and looked back the way I had come. Two days to get back to where there were other humans around to help if things got tough. Stores where I could buy potatoes, cheese, and all the other things I craved. Out here, there is nothing. No one. I haven’t seen another person in two days.

Kerege-Tash Pass Valley in Kyrgyzstan looking east

I also looked ahead. The top of the pass seemed so close. The slope leveled off too – perhaps I could actually push the bike without hinderance of rocks and steep gullies. As much as I hated the pasta, I knew that I would not die of starvation for at least another four or five days.

I in no way decided there and then that I was going all the way to Naryn, but I did decided to do the same as I had done yesterday – detatch the lowrider panniers, leave the bike, and walk uphill for an hour to see how things would pan out. I decided that after an hour of walking with the front panniers, I would either give up and turn back, or drop the panniers and go back for the bike.

Walking up the pass with my panniers, I lost the track at least three times, and each time ended up walking over large streams of big boulders that would have been impossible to negotiate with the bike with its heavy rear panniers. However each time after crossing the boulders, I would notice the track heading down and away from the obstacles. I saw that the track was actually quite smooth and definitely negotiable if I had stuck to it.

Near Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

Finally I walked up and over a small hill to see a massive high plateau stretch out in front of me. Then I saw it. An old tractor tyre. That was the sign that I was going to be able to make it. If they can get a tractor up here, then it is guranteed to be terrain that is at least half cycleable. Sure enough, ahead in the distance were two perfectly parallel tracks in the grass. After almost three days, I had found my ‘road’.

I dropped my panniers close to the track, and headed back down hill for the bike. Just as I arrived at the bike, a lone hearder on his horse trotted by, uninterested. Watching him as I pushed the bike, I saw where the track was supposed to go when crossing the numerous small streams. Two and a half hours later I reunited my bike with its panniers. From here I could actually ride the bike along the tractor tyre tracks.

The top of the pass was however much further than I had anticipated, and the further up the plateau I got, the boggier and wider the river crossings got. They were never deeper than knee height, with a river bed that consisted of rocks with mud in between, pushing the bike through them was tough going.

Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

At last, after three and a half days of pushing, hauling, carrying and cursing the bike, I was now at the top of the pass. Due to the ferrying of lugguage and bike, I had effectively walked the track three times. Anyone wanting to know about the conditions, I can give you a detailed account, I assure you.

Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

Dinner was again dry pasta, but this time washed down with a salty broth made from the soup mix I have. Add to this the compulsory three or four tablespoons of olive oil and it makes a perfectly palatable dinner. Not at all filling however.

Filtering the water for drinking - Kerege-Tash Pass, Kyrgyzstan

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September 13th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,highlights,Kyrgyzstan

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English Summary: Two hours of severe stomach cramps (lie on the ground and moan type) today set the scene for my most crazy bout of diahorrea so far. Unable to eat much for dinner tonight, I am now just passing water. Made the decision to take some diahorrea medicine kindly supplied by Cessna Drug Store in Beppu City, Japan in a hope to be able to at least retain the fluids I am putting in my body. I am sure I can see the top of the pass from where I am camping, so whether to push on tomorrow or return to Karakol is a decision I will need to make in the morning.

今まで経験したことない胃の調子。昼頃に腹に思いがけない痛みが始まる。盲腸か?

いいえ、結局ただガスがたまっていただけ。しかしその痛みで(ガスが出るまで)、2時間動けなかった。道の横で寝転がって、ときに悲鳴をあげるしかできませんでした。そしてガスが出たあと(1時間おならが連発)、下痢が始まりました。今は夜7時ですが、ほとんどなにも食べれず、水しか飲めない。しかし水は瞬間のように体を通る。うんちしたいかと思ったら、きれいな水しかでない。この状況が明日にも続いたら、脱水症になる可能性が非常に高い。

幸いなことに、別府市のセスナ株式会社(薬の販売と経験のあるアドバイスをしてくれるお店)からいただいた下痢止めがありますので、それを飲んでいます。明日も飲みつづけて、様子を見るしかない。下痢がよくなっていなければ、道を戻るのが一番身のためになるでしょう。

Don't slip - Kerege-Tash Pass route, Kyrgyzstan

下痢のとき、本当は下痢止めを飲まないほうがいいらしいですね。下痢が出ることで、下痢の原因になっている悪いものもでるわけです。しかし、僕の状況では、町に戻ることにしても、進むことにしても、体を重く動かないと行けないので、少なくとも水が体に吸収できるように下痢を絶対に止めないと行けません。薬がちゃんと効くように!

頭では、明日カラコルに戻ることにしています。心では、進んでみたい。

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September 12th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,highlights,Kyrgyzstan

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Distance / 距離: maybe 10km?

Today’s distance is hard to judge since I pushed and carried the bike for maybe 2km…

Kabrybek not only supplied dinner, but also a yummy breakfast of bread, jam, cream and tea (all home made of course – except for the tea). The cream was interesting – very viscous, kind of like a syrup. It went very well with the jam made from small black currrents from around the house.

Kadrybek drew a basic map of where I needed to turn off the main road onto the ‘road’ that would take me across the Kerege-Tash pass to a road that connects to Eki-Naryn and then to the main town of the Narin Oblast – Naryn City.

According to the owner of the Karakol Hostel, this route is not only great for cyclists, but also has magnificent scenery. What a load of rubbish! I don’t know what he was thinking, but how could anyone want to take a fully loaded bicycle over this terrain?!

Tight squeeze - lucky I had walked the low panniers an hour ahead, Kerege-Tash Pass

Yeah the scenery is OK, but it is totally and utterly unridable. On a light, unloaded mountain bike, sure. But for me on my loaded bike, it is kind of like falling into some sort of cyclists’ hell. On one occassion, where the track was too steep and too rocky to push almost 50kg of bike and lugguage up it, I had to remove all the baggage from the bike, and ferry it and the bike over in three goes.

700m from the start of the Kerege-Tash Pass route, Kyrgyzstan

What a mission. Is this really going to take even two days to Naryn? As I sit in my tent after trying to eat some more tacky pasta (I threw it out half way through), I figure I may as well continue, since I’ve come a fair way, and Kadyrbek and Valentine (Yak Tours Hostel in Karakol) are adamant that many cyclists have done this route in the past. I should be in Naryn in a couple of days.

First night campspot on the Kerege-Tash Pass route, Kyrgyzstan

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September 11th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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Distance / 距離: 22km

English Summary:Today I was told that it would take two days and possibly lots of pushing my bike in order to get across the road that I was planning on taking. Oh well, even if it takes more than that, I’ve got plenty of food. How steep can it be anyway?

今日は最初から本当にゆっくりしようと考えていました。カラコルで泊まったホステルのオーナーのお勧めで、金山道路の途中にある滝の近くのユルト(キルギスの野民の伝統的なテント)に泊まるつもりでした。

滝は昨日テントを張った場所から登ってたった10kmのところにあると僕が計算しましたが、その10kmがとても長く感じました。坂がきつくて、所々時速4kmしか出せなかったところもありました。登る途中に結構たくさんの車と金山へ登るダンプが通っていました。道路は砂利道ですけど、間違いなくキルギスの一番きれいな道です。カナダの会社が経営している金山へ行く道なので、手入れがよくあって、路面が平らで車が通っても砂が飛ばない。

計算通り、10kmのところに滝がありました。ま、滝といっても、日本かニュージーランドによくある滝のような滝でしたのでそこまで感動はしませんでした。写真も撮りませんでした。

Further up the Barskoon River valley, Kyrgyzstan

たまたま僕が滝の駐車場に着いたときにフィンランドからのツアーバスが止っていました。20人くらいのフィンランド人が駐車場で昼ご飯を食べていて、僕がやってきたら大騒ぎしました。

「日本から漕いできた?!」

「すげぇ~!」

「なんじゃそりゃ、その乗り物?」

ちなみに、みんなは完璧な英語を話していました。フィンランドの言語は英語ではありませんよ・・・やっぱり日本の教育システムは言語学のほうではまだまだだなと実感しました。僕の勝手な思い込みだけど、フィンランド人の子どもに、なぜ英語を学校で習っていますかと聞いたら、おそらく「英語を話す人とコミュニケーションができるために習っています」と答えるでしょう。一方、日本人の子どもに同じ質問をしたら、試験にでるからという答えが多いのではないかと思います。フィンランド人の子どもと日本人の子どもがおそらく同じような期間英語を習うのに、日本人の子ども(そして大人)は英語がなかなかできない理由はそこにあるのではないかと思われます。

ごめなさい、油断しました。

さて、フィンランド人の食べ物を食べたあと、滝の近くで泊まる計画を捨てて、もうちょっとだけ登りつづけることにしました。

夕方5時ごろにやっと峠(Barskoon Pass)へ登るZig-zagが見えるところまできました。時間的にも体力的にも、今日峠まで登ることはできないと判断して、道路からちょっと離れたところにテントを張る準備をしてたら、近くの家に住む人が馬に乗ってやってきました。

「僕の家にとまりませんか?ドイツのサイクリストはいつも泊まっているよ」と上手な英語で話し掛けました。

おそらくお金は要るだろうと思ったけど、200ソムであっても、この先の道路の情報などは教えてくれるだろうと思って、25歳のカドリベク夫妻とおばあさんのお宅に泊まることにしました。

Kadyrbek family

カドリベクによると、僕が通ろうとしている道は一日ではなくて、少なくとも2日間かかるだろうと言っていました。「自転車を乗らないで、押さなければならないよ。大丈夫ですか。」とカドリベックが聞きました。

押す?

この道は思ったほど簡単な道ではないかもしれません。ま、でも食料がたくさんあるから、4日間かかっても大丈夫。もちろん進むことにしました。

Who is the shaggy one?

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September 10th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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Distance / 距離: 29.69km
Time / 時間: 2h 48m
Average speed / 平均速度: 10.6km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2187.6km

Still feeling the effects of a sleepless, nauseous night before, I decided to get something to eat for breakfast at the next town. I would have had instant noodles, but I now realise the cause of my diahorrea in China. Those noodles! There is something in the spices in the flavouring that just turn my innards into slime. I was feeling the effects of the noodles the night before this morning. In fact, those effects caused an unplanned dip in the lake to clean up…I’ll leave the details up to your imagination.

Lake Isik-Kol, Kyrgyzstan

So I left the campspot hungry but in good spirits, looking forward to the fresh bread that they would surely have at the next town (there was fresh bread in all the towns I had passed to get to the lake). Unfortunately that hope faded when the next town only had a store that sold pasta and biscuits. They did however have the great fruit tomatoes, so breakfast today was tomatoes and tasteless bicuits. They were sure to have an eatery or at least bread at Barskoon, the main-est looking town on the map enroute to the pass.

Lake Isik-Kol, Kyrgyzstan

The two tomatoes and three biscuits I had for ‘breakfast’ did not last long, and I was just going through the motions to get to Barskoon (which is actually off the main road, slighty up the hill). The monotony of the uphill and hunger was offset however by the friendly local kids who with astounding energy ran all the way through the town alongside me (I was going prtty slow).

To my dismay there was no cafe or bread to be found in the four stores that I tried, so I bought 2kg of tasty-looking pasta, two onions, and a red pepper with plans to make a simple pasta soup using the soup mix I still had from Kazakhstan.

Local kids in Barskoon

Once again it was slightly past 2pm when I stopped just out of Barskoon up the goldmine road for lunch. This lunch introduced me to the great disaster that is cheap Kyrgyzstan pasta (15 som per kg). Once boiled, it becomes a gloggy, tacky lump of flour that takes forever to go away in your mouth, and sticks to your teeth. The soup mix is jolly good though, and when you add about three or four tablespoons of olive oil to the mix, it is actually quite palatable.

This solid lunch including sugary Fanta powered me up the hill until around 4:30pm. There was still time to pedal, but the barometer was dropping, and some rather threatening clouds were coming over the mountains to the east towards me. Just after I had found a recently hay-harvested field (less chance I would be woken early in the morning by workers) and had put the tent up, the first drops of the down-pour started. A cookup of cream of tomoato soup, onions, paprika, olive oil and paprika waited until 6:30pm when the rain had stopped enough to cook outside the tent.

Up the Barskoon River valley, Kyrgyzstan

Once again the pasta was uninspiring. In fact, it was worse this time, as soft blobs of flour in a creamy soup just made the impression that the soup was lumpy, inducing the occassional retch when a ‘lump’ would get stuck halfway down my throat. This pasta really is a disaster. What are they thinking? Someone needs to take pasta making lessons. I guess you can’t expect much however when the pasta comes in sacks…

I left half the lumpy soup for breakfast tomorrow.

Do I suit the Kazakh sunglasses?

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September 9th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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Distance / 距離: 58.63km
Time / 時間: 3h 11m
Average speed / 平均速度: 18.4km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2157.9km

English Summary: Left Karakol against all logic according to how my body felt. I left late, after lunch, feeling already very tired. My ‘days off’ in Karakol and Bishkek were too busy with visas and getting to and from Bishkek. Managed to get to a beach on Lake Issy-Kul, but my body was not happy. Ate some Chinese instant noodles for tea and tried to sleep. But sleep evaded me.

Back yard of Yak Tours Hostel in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan / カラコル町のYak Tours Hostelというホステル(キルギス)

今日出発するか、明日出発するか相当迷ってました。別に明日出発してもよかったのに、今日出発することにしました。それは大間違いとなりました。

もともと疲れ気味でした。カラコル町に着いてからずっと。消化不良(胸やけ)が続いていて、ゆっくりしたかった気持ちが強かった。しかし、中央アジアでの旅はあせるものです。なぜかというと、今の国のビザ期間があるし、次に行く国ビザの始まる日が迫ってくるからです。とにかく、そのビザのプレッシャーを感じて、今日カラコルを出発することにしました。まずイシクル湖の湖岸まで行って、明日ナーリン町(Narin)へ伸びる山道の途中まで行こうと思っていました。

一応イシクル湖の湖岸まで行けました。しかし何という疲れです!テントを張って、食事(中国のインスタントラーメン)を食べたあと、ちょうど寝ようとしたところ、大きな四区の車が近くまでやってきました。出てきたのはヴォドカを持つ5人の男性。こりゃやばいと思って、僕は気づいていない振りをします。こいつらはやさしいやつなのか、トラブルを起こすやつなのか、わかりません。

気づいていない振りは無理です。

「オイ!おまえ!どこから来たんかい?アメリカンか?」

「いいえ、アメリカ人じゃないです。ニュージーランドです。」

といって、向こうが大喜びしました。

「そりゃよく遠いところからおおいでになりましたな!ぜひともヴォドカいっぱい一緒に飲もう!」

いくらでも自分が非常に疲れていますと強調しても、「キルギスのヴォドカだから、飲みなさい!」と何回も言われて、結局一杯飲みました。

今日の疲れの上に、ヴォドカを注ぐのが大間違いでした。向こうがそれで満足して、僕がテントに戻ることができましたが、寝るのは不可能でした。一晩中吐き気が続いていました。何回もテントを出て、吐こうとしたが、何もでない。今はその翌朝ですが、体がだるい。今日は本当にゆっくりしよう・・・

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September 8th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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What can I say? Rugby played on horses where the ball is a goat carcass. The game is called ‘Buzkashi’. They are a hard bunch here in Kyrgyzstan!

Buzkashi - just like rugby except the ball is a goat carcass, and the players ride horses / ブズカシ - ラグビーみたいなもんだけど、ボールの代わりにヤギの遺体で選手は馬に乗る

Buzkashi - just like rugby except the ball is a goat carcass, and the players ride horses / ブズカシ - ラグビーみたいなもんだけど、ボールの代わりにヤギの遺体で選手は馬に乗る

Buzkashi - just like rugby except the ball is a goat carcass, and the players ride horses / ブズカシ - ラグビーみたいなもんだけど、ボールの代わりにヤギの遺体で選手は馬に乗る

Buzkashi - just like rugby except the ball is a goat carcass, and the players ride horses / ブズカシ - ラグビーみたいなもんだけど、ボールの代わりにヤギの遺体で選手は馬に乗る

Buzkashi - just like rugby except the ball is a goat carcass, and the players ride horses / ブズカシ - ラグビーみたいなもんだけど、ボールの代わりにヤギの遺体で選手は馬に乗る

The plan from here is to head towards Naryn in central Kyrgyzstan tomorrow. It is about 200km to Naryn, so hopefully I should be able to do a quick update there in about three or so days. If not, the update will be from Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest city.

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September 6th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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Generally feeling worn out after little sleep on the bus the night before and a busy day at the Tajikistan Embassy, I spent the day here in Bishkek sleeping at the hostel.

A cozy guesthouse in Bishkek / ビシュケックのホステル(キルギス)

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September 4th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Kyrgyzstan

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English Summary: A bout of diahorrea half way through the night made for a rather uncomfortable bus ride to Bishkek. However this was made up for by the fact that I managed to get my Tajikistan visa in one day (for a fee of US$100). Decided to head for the high passes in Tajikistan sooner rather than later, so will be getting my Uzbek visa in Dushanbe (Tajikistan).

夜間バス+下痢=不快的な移動

途中から始まりました。午前1時前でした。ちょっとおなかの調子がおかしいな・・・そして1時半ごろにバスを止めるように、運転手に頼みました。バスの横の畑で必要な行動を済ませました。バスのみなさんにご迷惑をおかけしました。

そのあとは何とか大丈夫でした。朝6:30に無事にビシュケックについたら、一緒にバスを乗っていたイギリス人のトムさんと一緒にビシュケックの中心まで歩きました。まずその日の宿を探すのが目的でした。そしてそのあとはタジキスタン大使館。

宿泊(Sabrybek’s B&B)はすぐ見つけましたが、タジキスタン大使館はもうちょっと難しかった。まず、僕がインターネットで調べた場所が間違っていました。そしてほかの人が持っていたガイドブックに乗っていた場所も間違っていました。結局親切なお店の人が電話で調べてくれて、ロシア語で場所を書いてくれました。これをタクシーの運転手に見せたらすぐにたどり着きました。そして大使館にUS$100を払ったら同じ日にビザを発行してくれました。

本当はビシュケックでウズベキスタンのビザも申請するように計画しましたが、ニュージーランド人は現地の旅行会社からの招待状が必要で、その招待状が発行されるまで時間がかかるのでウズベキスタンのビザはタジキスタンで申請することに決めました。

とりあえず今日はビシュケックに泊まって、明日かあさってにカラコルに戻るように考えています。

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