In the next two days I plan to go through a remote mountain region over a pass above 3000 m to Kasarman in the middle of Kyrgyzstan. For a safe ride, I depend however on good and especially dry weather, which was not the case today, therefore I spent a day in Jalal Abad.
Why dry weather is important
As many of the roads in the backcountry are not paved and secured, they are very sensitive to heavy rain falls and landslides are likely. Therefore I do not want to through these mountains when the ground is wet. E.g. two days ago it rained a lot and a landslide blocked the mountain road at one location. It has not been cleared yet this morning, but I hope they will do so today or tomorrow.
Today the weather forecast predicted lots of rain, so I decided not to start cycling into that direction. Now that the day is almost over, I have to say that the forecast was a bit too pessimistic. There was a bit of rain, but only in the morning. Now in the evening the sun is shining again, and it should do so for the next 2-3 days, which is good for crossing the pass.
Fixing bicycle bags on the bazaar
When arriving yesterday, I noticed that one of my rear bags lost a screw and hence could not properly be attached to the bicycle anymore. Good that I have a full day here in Jalal Abad to find the necessary screws on the bazaar. Once I located the proper area of the bazaar for screws, I had plenty of choice from who I want to buy the necessary screw.
I am still impressed about the bazaars in this region: Every time I visit a bazaar with a specific need, I only have modest hopes that I might actually find it. This was the case with the cell phone battery, the replacement tube, the bicycle pump, and now with some special screws. But each time I was proven wrong to doubt.
And since I was already on the bazaar, I was also going through the other sections of it: Clothes, food, electronics, and so on. The attached pictures give you a small impression, but to really experience it, you have to see it with your own eyes.
Sightseeing without sights
Already Osh did not have a lot to offer, but Jalal Abad really does not have any sights. So instead of sightseeing, I simply went to the local amusement park and spotted some quite old-fashioned rollercoasters and similar installations. Similar to playing old computer games however, it was nice to see that people here still had a lot of fun going on those first generation rollercoasters and fun does not really depend on the technological advances.
When cycling from Gulcha to Osh 4 days ago, I met Kermanbek, a Kyrgyz guy from Bishkek, on top of one of the passes. Today afternoon, he called me to ask where I am because he would be in Jalal Abad as well tonight. When I told him that I am still in Jalal Abad, he invited me to go for dinner with him and his family from Jalal Abad. So in the end we were ten persons and we had a traditional dinner in one of the restaurants near the city. As it was Ramadan, we only started to eat after sunset.