Day 38 - Tue 22 Apr 08
Up at 08:00 and collected by my tour guide, a young blonde girl called Sasha (a Scarlett Johansson look-a-like), and today I have a driver as well in a big 5 series BMW. We hack out to a national park about a half hour outside Bishkek. The Ala Archa. We firstly walk up to a picnic spot with nice views down the valley. The Ex-president liked the area so much he built a little hut here, it's very ramshackle now. Then it was back, past the BMW and a steep climb up to visit an old graveyard on the side of a mountain. It was a heck of a climb - both up an down. The highlight had to be the bridge across a river. The walkway had gone, and the only way across was to skip between the rails on either side that used to contain the walkway - Interesting!
Then it was back in the BMW for a high speed run out to the Burana tower which marks the site of an old silk route town. There's not much left, and the tower has been extensively but well renovated, and it offered good views over the site. I'm told that there are usually views of the mountains, but not today as it's very hazy.
The most impressive part of the site are the grave markers some in the shape of men. Not unlike smaller versions of the moai on Easter Island.
Another high speed run gets us back into Bishkek in super quick time. I got them to drop me downtime where I managed to get some more cash out of my favourite ATM! Found a pizza place and had a big pizza all to myself.
All of the subways in the centre of the city double as shopping centres, with lots of little stalls. Most of which appear to be stationery stalls selling pens, paper etc. Back to my tiny hotel to chill out and I pay up ready for an early start tomorrow morning.
The weirdest thing I saw today? Either the old BT phone I saw in a shop, or the Morrisons plastic bag that Sasha used to store her walking boots.