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:
And an amusement park:
The snow had all but disappeared, and it felt like autumn again:
When I passed the western gate, I noticed that there was quite a lot of residential construction going on:
Reminded me of China.
Oh, and here is the gate:
This guy stopped his car and showered me with cookies:
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:
Well, there was not much to look at otherwise:
Sometimes I’d see people selling onions:
Or people selling honey:
And then I reached Aisha Bibi, a 12th century mausoleum that had hence been restored:
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”:
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:
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:
Then the sheep met its end:
I went back to the mausoleum after this, and when I did I ran into a wedding:
Or rather it was just the wedding party riding around in their stretch limousine taking pictures:
Aisha Bibi looked awesome in the dark:
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:
Then the pilgrims invited me to have dinner with them:
We had the sheep that had been slaughtered before:
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.