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17 September 2011 / leggypeggy

Yurts really are a way of life

Yurts at Lake Song-køl in Naryn Province in Kyrgyzstan.

During our last few days in Kyrgyzstan, we had the chance to camp in and around some authentic yurts on the shores of Lake Song-Köl in the Naryn Province.

While the yurts we visited cater primarily for tourists, the owners really do live in them year round. To cope with the harshness of the climate, they relocate, as needed, to ensure the comfort of their families and livestock. We arrived in the dying days of summer and already the nights were quite cold, so I’m guessing ‘our’ yurts have already moved on to a winter spot that is warmer and more sheltered.

Yurts are surprisingly portable. We watched in amazement as an additional yurt was assembled in less than 90 minutes. That made a total of five yurts in our camp, plus a dining tent, a lone green long-drop toilet and a somewhat-distant handpump for water. Not bad considering that in addition to our group of 25 there was another French group of about 15.

Poor John and I spent time in the yurts, but didn’t actually sleep in one, although most of our group did. No doubt, we would have appreciated the warmth there (in the morning it was 3°C in our tent and the exterior was encrusted in ice). But we have warm thermals, and reckon it’s often better to sleep with your own burps, farts, snores and body odors, than share those of 16-17 other people.

In spite of the wind and chill in the air, the weather was sunny and glorious. Just about everyone pumped buckets of water so they could do huge batches of laundry. The dunny (outdoor toilet) made a perfect anchor for the array clotheslines we strung around. And our clothes dried in no time.

The second night was a bit scary. People staying at the yurts could rent horses to ride, and a couple of the French fellows took up an evening option. They galloped around our tent at high speed for about 30 minutes. We crossed our fingers and hoped they could clearly see our glow-in-the-dark guy-wires.

The slideshow here includes (not necessarily in order) some food shots, the collection of yurts (the yurt on the right is being assembled), a yurt interior, the truck and its shower stall hanging off the back, and a scenic view of everyone’s laundry.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NOTE: If you have access to Facebook, please feel free to share this post with others. I can’t get on Facebook in China, so it’s impossible for me to let people know I am adding to the blog now. Thanks.

One Comment

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  1. Sy S. NYC / Sep 18 2011 3:19 pm

    Hello Leggy Peggy,

    Reading about Yurts is very interesting…. and the series of images viewed on the slide show makes this one of your best posts… along with you good writing skills and commentary!!!!

    Sy S.

    Like

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