This is Kosh Agach, 2000 meter above sea level. And I can see Mongolia at a distance.
But before getting here I still had to fight off millions of white butterflies.
They only disappeared when I was gaining altitude.
It is a sheer joy ride through the Altai Republic.
A mountainous area under the personal protection of Vladimir Putin who invested a huge amount of money to develop this area by building roads, activate tourism and build new infrastructures. There is clearly a difference with Siberia. Russia Ecological Year 2017.
Huge billboards everywhere.
I met this little boy at a "Magasin", a small grocery shop.
A few elder women, who where sitting on the ground in front of the shop, didn't want their pictures taken.
Whatever, I need to respect their opinion. But they did authorize me to picture the boy. So I think the reason for not having their picture had nothing to do with soul stealing. Only reversed vanity.
At least 300 km where winding roads through the Altai Mountains. After going more than 6000 km strait east this was very welcome. Finally some curves to handle!
And slowly the landscape turned arid and dry, roads are straitening, and trees go missing. Lots of eagles soaring in the sky and scavenging on the ground. Sounds like Mongolia, right?
When I arrived at the hotel, I entered the reception hall where no one was around. So I just sat there for almost a whole hour before the owner appeared.
What else could I do?
She was a very nice woman of a certain age who, not even for a second, stopped talking. And only in native Altai, .... I think.
No credit cards only cash, that was clear. She drove me to the local ATM, I ran out of cash because I was spending the last coin before leaving the country. Then to a grocery shop so I could prepare my own evening dinner.
But no evening dinner to prepare before she went to pick up her daughter Samira and some friends. And taking the friends back to their home.
I know the whole town of Kosh Agach by now.
The only weird thing was the fact that she added 100 Ruble to my bill. "Why?" I asked . "такси" was her swift reply. (russian for taxi.) And a huge smile on her face stopped me from any further discussion. Like i said, a very nice woman.