It was a crisp, clear morning on the Karakorum highway, the snowy peaks of the Pamirs made a stunning backdrop to the ever winding highway linking China with Pakistan.
There were rumours of violence in Taxkorgan, but I wanted to visit the Kyrgyz community at Karakul Lake.
At the lake a traditional yurt sat on the shore with women sitting outside. The stunning, snow covered peaks Mustag Ata were mirrored in the still waters of the lake. I was soon breaking bread and enjoying a little ‘ihran’, a kind of yoghurt, with Mahja and her family.
As I left the yurt someone shouted, “Kyrgyz bazaar”!
Some enterprising boys had set up a stall with an assortment of necklaces, polished stones and ‘kalpak’ hats for sale. A small, hand-carved sheep with large horns caught my eye, but the boy who made it was reluctant to trade.
After some hard bargaining it was mine, together with a few necklaces I didn’t really want!
I gave a silver necklace to Mahja to thank her for her family’s hospitality. The boys found this very funny, and I left wondering if I had I had just proposed!?