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Kyrgyz bazaar

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!?

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