: views from the Hill

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kazakh gers

Here's a click of the inside of a Kazakh ger.

Kazakh ger... not a "yurt" we were told by our Kazakh informant ...

Note the supports holding up the roof and the cross hatching of woven work holding everything together. The Kazakh felt work on the walls and floor liven up the interior. Warm. Cozy. Clean. A place for everything and everything in its place.

The ger exterior is heavy duty felt sometimes covered by decorated/painted canvas for added protection from the elements.

We ran into this ger and several others on our way back to Altay/Aletai from Kanas Lake.

The upcoming week would be a combination of National Day holiday (Oct 1st) -- a week-long celebration of fifty-seven years of the PRC -- and Autumn Moon Festival, which fell on the Friday (Oct 6th).

Because of the double holiday, everyone, it seemed, would be heading home or going off somewhere on vacation. Every shop had moon cakes. The government was limiting entrance to popular tourist areas in anticipation of flocking holiday crowds and allowing charter flights to book trips to/fro Taiwan for the week so that families could reunite for the holidays.

Luckily we were heading off within the next day or so to Kashgar and then on to Tashkurgan and over the Khunjerab Pass via the Karakoram Highway into Hunza (Pakistan) for the bulk of the holiday period and would miss the holiday crowds.

The days and nights were getting colder up in the mountain pasturelands. Most of the Kazakh families had already folded up their temporary summer homes and headed back to their winter quarters with their flocks and herds. Some were still moseying home.

Our Kazakh entrepreneurs with the gers and their herds had decided to stay on until after the Autumn Moon soze to make a little cash by renting shelter for the holiday makers before heading back to winter quarters.

ger for rent

Gers for rent.

We didn't stay here, alas. There wasn't enough room for us, for one thing. Additionally, heck, there was enough hoohah within the band of travelers over less-than-clean public squat toilets and hotel digs without 24-hour hot running water to even consider spending a night somewhere where there was no running water at all and the toilets were not only not American-style but were rudimentary and requiring a trek out into the cold night and the wild outdoors.

These photos plus additional ...

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