22 June 2012

Kyrgyzstan: Osh

We spent 2 days in Osh at the Osh Guesthouse.  It felt nice to finally be in a different country with a different landscape; we have moved from the arid/desert climate of Uzbekistan to a more verdant/mountainous one.  Inner conflicts have plagued Kyrgyzstan over the past 2 decades.  Just 2 years ago was the last one in which unofficial estimates put the death toll at 3.000 people.  In a country of only 3.5 million (unofficial) this is a lot.  We had heard of this conflict when it happened but we had a minimal idea of the physical and psychological damage caused until we started to wander around the city and speak with people who lived through the conflict. 

There are still remnants of the war that happened only 2 years ago

Upon arriving, HJ asked Nissar (the helper at the Osh Guesthouse) if he knew someone who could fix/look at the front fork.  After a bit, he came back and said he knew someone and that the next day they would go there together to see if the guy could fix it.

The market in Osh is one of the largest in Cental Asia

This old soviet plane was placed in the main park in Osh

We ended up running into Jeremy the first night on the street and he joined us for a bit of dinner.  Eric also came down for a bit before heading back to the hotel to where he had just checked in.  It was nice running into some of the Tashkent crew again in a different city.  We are still amazed at how these guys make their way cycling little by little. 

HJ and Nassir getting ready to get his fork seal fixed
The next day HJ went with Nassir to the “master”.  The first guy worked on car suspensions and when he saw the motorcycle suspension, he recommended going to see another guy.  They headed to the other shop where they met a large Russian guy with a Kawasaki 1400 and a big iron cross tee shirt .  He said he could fix the fork and walked away.  After about 20 minutes, Nassir asked again about fixing the fork and the guy said to follow him.  They jumped on the bike trying to keep up with the guy down a dirt road.  They finally arrived at a sort of house where there were bikes and parts.  There were three (HA-looking) guys there that saw the fork, took it off and apart and realized that the BMW dealership in Tashkent had put in the seal upside down, which was causing the leak.  They affirmed that the oil was indeed good oil, put everything back together and even commented that the bottom part of the fork was quite old looking – a bit strange since the forks were rebuilt before we left. 
The Osh skyline from Solomon's Throne
Still not feeling that well, HJ decided to stay back while Scott, Jeremy and Eric climbed Solomon’s Throne for an evening view of the city. 

Eric, Scott, Jeremy - cyclist friends from Tashkent

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