At the beginning of today I had a few random ideas about how I was going to get to Bishkek to get my Tajikisan and Uzbekistan visas. One plan was to bike to Bishkek (the original plan), and the other was to leave the bike here in Karakol, catch a bus to Bishkek, get the visas and then return to Karakol. The reason for the two options came down to which route I wanted to take from Karakol to Osh, Osh being in the south-west ish part of Kyrgyzstan (I put that in for you, Aunty Les).
The prefered route for me was to cut diagonally across the mountains on a gravel road via towns Naryn and Kazerman. This way would not only be picturesque, but also have less traffic and would save more than 350km of biking compared to biking to Bishkek and then to Osh.
The other route went via Bishkek on paved roads, but there would be many more cars on this road, and less places to camp. I have by the way camped every night since China. It is very easy to find a spot just out of sight of the road to set up the tent for the night.
Due to my dislike of large cities, I decided in the end to take the bus to Bishkek for what I expect to be a two week stint waiting for visas. This decision was helped by Tom, a British army officer on holiday who had been mugged the previous day and needed to get to Bishkek to organise a new passport to replace the one stolen. He was going to catch the 11pm night bus to Bishkek that night (7 hour journey, providing the bus didn’t break down, which apparently they often did), so I promptly went and bought a ticket for the same bus.
So with all that sorted, I spent the rest of the day sleeping in my tent in the back yard of the Yak Tours Hostel, waiting for my clothes to dry. Lucky for me, right above my tent was a greengage tree (is that how you spell those green plum things). Every now and then I would hear one fall from the tree – my cue to rush out and consume it before any bird could get to it. Very sweet.