Arslanbab: Relaxing in a friendly Chaihane    

The road to Arslanbob was a fairly smooth, newer road, shared with flocks of sheep and herds of cows.

The closer we got to Arslanbob, the prettier it became. We climbed towards the mountains and there were more green plants and taller trees. In the center, we ran into Daniel and Louisa who were just leaving. They recommended the guest house they had stayed at saying the host was a great chef. So we walked with Marufdzhan, our new host, towards a hill where his house was located.

Arslanbob should be a mountain resort town. It offers comfortable coolness when Jalalabad and the towns in the lowlands sizzle. It rests in the foothills of high jagged mountains. A river runs through the town which is nestled in a tree filled valley. There were a couple holiday areas built by the Soviets but aside from those (probably falling into decay like all the other Soviet institutions), it is just a regular working town, surprisingly humble about its beauty. In the hills above the town is the world's largest walnut forest. Unfortunately, the walnut harvest isn't until Mid-September through November.

CBT has a presence here so, although it isn't a resort town for the people of Kyrgyzsta, it has become a destination for European tourists (as well as a few from other locations).

Our guest house is up a hill in the shade of trees. Our host served us tea on an outside porch covered with cushioned mats. We both almost dozed off there with the pleasant breeze and the view of our host's fields, chickens clucking, and an occasional donkey braying in the distance. Later Marufdjan served a delicious meal of fried potatoes.

Later, we took a walk into town. Arslanbob is mostly Uzbek so the culture (and clothing) of people, is different from Kyrgyz towns. The bazaar was closing but there was still a decent amount of activity. Children begged Rowshan to take their photos, taxis waited in the square, and old men sat having tea and melon at a chaihane overlooking the river.

We eventually took a seat there ourselves and just watched

the people and relaxed drinking tea and listening to the river. Rowshan pointed out a town elder, marked by a long white beard, an important, wise walk and the respect of people who approached him.

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