Our next stop is a home stay in the village of Kochkor. Good to get a warm shower. And to get a much better idea of the living conditions for a family here. The hospitality is terrific but the food not so much.
The next morning we visit a women's cooperative that specializes in felt work and embroidery. The felt work of the Kyrgyz is distinctive. We watch the process then participate. I especially appreciate a felt hat that will keep my head warm during the freezing nights camping. The weather has been colder than I anticipated.
The following nights we sleep out alongside wild mountain rivers before reaching the Ferghana Valley, an Uzbek enclave within Kyrgyzstan. Stalin wasn't too particular about ethnic identities when laying out the borders of the Central Asian Republics, so this area is occasionally beset with a bit of violence.
Arslanbob is a remote village that seems a bit closer in time to the Afghan villages I remember. The chaikhanas (tea houses) are the same. Arslanbob is famous for its walnut groves which are the most extensive in the world.
We have pleasant home stays and an enjoyable hike through the groves. Tomorrow we leave Kyrgyzstan for Uzbekistan. We say goodbye to Said who has been our local guide for the past 2 weeks. Great guy and a true mountain goat on the hikes.