killing fun with pilgrims

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Left Taraz and my perfect hotel today.

And what do you know, the city actually seemed a bit bigger now that I was walking through it.

There was a burger place:

Döner Burgers in Taraz

A church:

church in Taraz

A mosque:

mosque in Taraz

And an amusement park:

amusement park in Taraz

The snow had all but disappeared, and it felt like autumn again:

autumn in Taraz

When I passed the western gate, I noticed that there was quite a lot of residential construction going on:

new residential areas in Taraz

Reminded me of China.

Oh, and here is the gate:

gate to Taraz

This guy stopped his car and showered me with cookies:

friendly metal dude

I obviously wasn’t in on the fact that we were metal heads, otherwise I would have totally gone along.

Saw this dove that had died in a most graceful position:

graceful death

Well, there was not much to look at otherwise:

outside of Taraz

Sometimes I’d see people selling onions:

onion vendor

Or people selling honey:

honey vendor

And then I reached Aisha Bibi, a 12th century mausoleum that had hence been restored:

Aisha Bibi

There was no hotel in the area, but someone pointed me to this place, which was supposed to be “not a hotel but a place like a hotel”:

pilgrim hostel

It took me a while before I understood that it was a pilgrim hostel.

I got a corner in a room, and I thought I was going to be all alone, but then two busloads of pilgrims appeared, and the place got crowded:

door to the pilgrim hostel

They were very nice. We had some tea together, then they said “let’s slaughter a sheep”, and we went and did that.

There was to be a prayer before:

prayer before the slaughtering

Then the sheep met its end:

slaughtering of a sheep

I went back to the mausoleum after this, and when I did I ran into a wedding:

wedding near Aisha Bibi

Or rather it was just the wedding party riding around in their stretch limousine taking pictures:

stretch limousine

Aisha Bibi looked awesome in the dark:

Aisha Bibi at night

I stayed there for a while, then I went back to the pilgrim hostel.

The bus drivers told me about the trip the pilgrims were taking. It was a sort of “Kazakh Hajj” if you want to call it that. Pilgrims took a bus and covered 2000km in four days, seeing holy sites, bathing in holy water, and eating lots of mutton on the way. The bus drivers were very tired:

bus drivers

Then the pilgrims invited me to have dinner with them:

dinner with pilgrims

We had the sheep that had been slaughtered before:

and I mean big fat dinner

And if you want to see me really confused, here I am eating a sheep’s eyeball and some of its brains while the cook goes into a laughing fit about something I don’t understand:

Well, I wasn’t only confused.

There was also this feeling of happiness somewhere between the eyeball and the brain.

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