We got a few pictures with the yurts, the beach, and the mountains, and started making our way towards the Kazakh border.
We didn't get very far before we saw a random sign for some holy springs. We stopped to check them out but it was a pretty big disappointment and we were pretty sure the water we were told to drink and would heal all ailments would actually make us ill instead. Confirmed, it did.
Not even 10 minutes later, we saw another random sign for "Fairy Tale Canyon". How do you ignore that? We paid the entrance fee having no clue what we were going into. It was stunning. A huge canyon with what we thought was the equivalent of the Chinese Wall remnants, turned out to be all nature-built and not man made at all which made it that much cooler. Absolutely incredible, and of course with the lack of security in this country, we flew the drone from the highest climable point. It was funny to watch over the canyon and see all these people who came to see the canyon just stand, point, and stare at the drone instead. Also, there was some cheesy equivalent of a power rangers movie fight scene, costumes and all, being shot on site.
We spent much longer at the canyon than we expected, and got bombarded by people with questions and advice for the rest of our trip.
We kept driving until we saw a huge statue of a man meditating up in the mountains near some sort of abandoned fortress? So we got the drone out, made some coffee in our handy dandy car kettle, and took a bathroom break. Can't wait for the footage - got some really neat things today!
We continued driving on and realized the lake was coming to an end, as big as it was. We desperately needed a shower from the last week of off-roading. You can't even imagine how many times I'd wash my hands or baby wipe them, only to grab my seat belt, pick up my phone, or even just rest my hand on my lap and be completely brown-grey again. It was a permanent texture of chalk on our hands, on our feet, and our hair was literally hard like straw. We didn't know when we'd see water again, so despite being 5000ft up, we jumped into the freezing water and both cried and rejoiced at the same time.
We stopped for some lunch, and drove on to the border.
The only other stop we made was to canoodle with the ridiculous amount of wild weed growing on the sides of the road. Amazing, I could recognize these plants a mile away yet I managed to get stung by stinging nettle AGAIN while sniffing these guys. Apparently Kyrgyzstan has 7,000 hectares of wild weed growing despite it being VERY illegal here. Too bad.
Overall, Kyrgyzstan stole our hearts. What a beautiful country!
We did notice that every time we had car troubles in Kazakhstan, almost every car stopped to ask if we needed help. Not a single car stopped in Kyrgyzstan in the last 3 days; however, we've coasted through 6 speed traps in ridiculously low speed limit zones because EVERY car flashed us.
We also noted the difference in tech. Kazakh cops were completely decked out with gadgets in brand new cars: audio, camera, radar, etc. The Kyrgyz police were in old shitty vehicles with almost no gadgets and every single speed trap was a guy standing holding up the radar gun.
Kyrgyzstan seemed poorer based on lack of wifi in the entire country even in places that claimed they had it. There were 3 places in 3 days that claimed to have wifi, and all 3 were "down for the day". Convenient. Most gas stations weren't working and if they were, they didn't have high enough quality gas. Except one brand new gas station, no one took credit card. Restaurants would only have 2 of the listed menu items at any point, etc.
And lastly, everyone wore Adidas track suits. Why. Why is this a thing?! Many cars even had full on decked out stickers saying ADIDAS across the whole back window. The soviet influence is still strong here.