I don’t really know what ‘ebullient’ means and am confident it’s not accurate here. But I like the sound of it, so it’s staying.
Caught an early taxi for the nine-hour ride from Jalalabad back to Bishkek. I hooked up with a charming older Kyrgyz couple (not like that). If they’d been a few years younger, I think I would’ve felt like John Cusack riding with Tim Robbins in The Sure Thing (“And I’m Gary Cooper, but not the Gary Cooper that’s dead.”).
On their request we stopped three times: first for lunch, then to obtain “the freshest water in Kyrgyzstan” on a river flowing down through the Ala-Mel pass at about 3100 meters, and finally, for the best something in Kyrgyzstan (some kind of rooty grass vegetable they wanted to poach) shortly after the Tur-Ashuu pass at around 3500 meters. Vegetable bootleggers. Perhaps this petty larceny is why they preferred not to be photographed.
The passes were cold, crisp, beautiful, and blinding. Crazy-ass cloud formations melded in and out of each other and disguised themselves among the snowy peaks, occasionally popping against the Top Gun blue sky. ‘Popping’ like every graphic designer is told to do.
Made it back in time for a bowl of pelmeni. But then there’s always time for pelmeni.