Central Asia-2019-Day 4-Lake Issyk-Kul-Cholpan-Alta, Bishkek

Day 4- Wednesday, April 24

We have left the tower and are on our way a short distance up the road, surrounded by tall thin trees. The view is endless and rain can be seen falling from the clouds in the distance.

The field is wet from the rain last night.

There is someone waiting for us here. Who might it be?

The bus pulls over next to a field filled with what appears to be local horsemen.

Oh yes, the horse wrestlers are waiting for us.

Think of hockey on horse back and a dead goat.

There are what look like stone wells about three feet tall and four or five feet in diameter at each end of the field.

The object of the game is to get the goat into the well no matter what you encounter on the way. It is an interesting and dangerous sport for all involved.

The men are of different stature and the smallest seems to be the one carrying the fifty pound goat while trying to get to the goal.

The other members of his team run defense and bump and grab the opponents on horseback to prevent them from stealing the dead goat.

The men grab each others forearms and pull and tug to get the other to fall from his horse. They often do.

All the while his team mates are blocking and pushing each other.

The horses get excited as well as the men, and they run all the faster with white foam spilling from their mouths as they run and jostle each other while trying to help their masters. Their eyes are wide with fear or excitement.

It looks a little like a calvary charge and what a battle might look like here on the flat land. Oh, I almost forgot. These are the progeny of Genghis Khan.

The goat is tenderized through this “game” and is consumed afterwards by all of the tired players.

The cell phone rings. “Yes dear, I’ll be home soon. We are just finishing the goat. I know honey, I’ll get that gate fixed today no matter what. I know dear, I’ve just had one beer.”

What a way to spend an afternoon. It beats golf by a long way.