Missing Aisha Bibi

Giving a try to the ground water pump, so often seen in movies, but never hands-on. “Hey! I can do it!”, while Otarhan supervised. His tip, pour a little water into the pump first to enable the vacuum.
(Kazakhstan … 10.03.05 to 23.04.05)

Can you tell? His wife Rosa, show cooks so well, is also a doctor too! Tonight she has made us the national dish of Kazakh, the ‘Besh Barmak’ (Five Fingers)!

‘Besh Barmak’ got its name because the dish is best eaten with hands, all five fingers into it. Make up of pieces of flat noodles, potatoes, onions, carrots & importantly bones, fats & meat of lamb, goat, cow or best of all, horse! Bon appetite!

Initially we had not given much thought to visit the city of Taraz. When we told that we’ve passed an UNESCO site, the mausoleum of Aisha Bibi, we were strongly encouraged to see Taraz, the city of more than 1500yrs, only 12km away from Chaykuruk village.

Dinmuhamed & his partners were servicing their min-bus when we called to them. With his greasy hands, he signaled to shake his wrist and began instructing his girls to prepare some lunch for us.

This set of bones straightened by a stick through & tied together by strings was hanging on the wall. We found out that his daughter has eaten the meat, from the set of neck bones of a lamb, after her pregnancy so that her new-born child will grow up with an upright posture.

Well, our lunch stretched further into dinner and eventually we stayed the night. Didn’t quite see the history of Taraz, only met its friendly residents, some rich, owned a computer & spoke good English, while some kind & generous ordinary city folks.

This is a game of ‘asik’, played similar to our childhood marble balls, but here, they are the ankle bones of lambs & goats!

Horse meat! An easily available meat found in most markets. Said to be best consume in winter as it improves blood circulation & give warmth to the body.

In Akurtobe, strangely as it seemed, Erlan’s family saw us coming and approached asking if we needed a place to stay. Actually they ran a trucker’s lodge, where pre-arranged truck will stop here for a night before continuing its journey onwards. That night, no bookings were made and they have ample rooms for visitors. They didn’t want any returns from us.

“Shall we slaughter a lamb for you?” Fatimah asked
“No! No!” we were astonished.
“Alright, I’ll made you some ‘Orama’ then.”
‘Orama’ is a dish that resembles the Chinese ‘Zhu Chang Fen’ & equally tasty :)

Abai village has recovered from an earthquake in 2003 that took most of its houses. With assistance from the ‘dovlet’ (government), houses have been rebuilt & school reconstructed.

Artyk & Fatimah, their 3 daughters … & 2 sons *wink*

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