Arslanbob – the biggest walnut forest in the world 全世界最大的核桃森林就在吉爾吉斯

It is unfortunate that there is no transportation between Song Kul and Arslanbob/Osh. We tried to ask a few agency and the price is crazy to hire a private car due to the bad road condition. We had to go back to Bishkek again.. When you are on the main street in Kochkor, there will be many drivers asking if you are going to Bishkek, so we found a seat easily with the price of 500 som.

因為從頌湖到Arslanbob/Osh的路況不好, 沒有大眾交通工具, 計程車又開了天價, 所以我們只好回Bishkek休息再出發. 從Kochkor回Bishkek的車子很好找, 除了小巴, 站在主街上都有人問你要不要去Bishkek, 我們搭了一台計程車,  一個位子是500.

It is the longest journey from Bishkek to Arslanbob – 10 hours. We only had a quick 20 min lunch break and drove non stop to the destination. Our driver is a super young 21 year old boy and he drove super fast with very loud pop music. The view on the way is fantastic, especially it snows a bit and one part of the road and mountain was full of snow. The CBT office in Arslanbob is super small without a sign. There are many homestay there, with different distance from city and language ability. We chose the one closest to center with lovely garden. The room is nice, but the bathroom and toilet are outside. The days we were in Arslanbob were soooo cold that we decided to leave earlier to Osh.

從Bishkek 到 Arslanbob 是會暈車的我最大的挑戰,因為有將近十小時的車程。我們的司機是一個21歲的年輕小伙子,從頭到尾開車時速不低於80公里,還把收音機的搖滾樂開到最大聲,整個車子都在震動,只要音樂一旦不夠嗨,他就立刻轉換頻道,我們就在夜店的環境中以最快速度抵達目的地。中途的風景好美麗,尤其是有一段山路下雪了,整個禿禿的山就像是撒上糖粉一樣,好像巧克力蛋糕!

Arslanbob的CBT辦公室甚麼招牌都沒有 (左下圖),這裡很多間homestay,工作人員介紹了每間的環境、距離市中心的地點、會不會講英文等等,我們選了距離市中心最近的一間,有一個美麗的花園 (右下圖),房間滿溫馨的,只是廁所和洗澡都要跑到外面,我們待的時間都在下雨又好冷,所以比較不方便。對了! 這個村莊是完全沒有wifi的喔!

The city center in Arslanbob is really small and there is a very famous cafe just next to the mosque. Almost all local go there during lunch time and the food was great and cheap! Don’t forget to try the BBQ there, it’s delicious! We hired a CBT guide to take us to the walnut forest with the price of 900 som.

說是市中心呢,其實只是一個十字路口加上幾間商店,這裡是一個很小的村莊,當地人推薦了在清真寺旁邊的小吃店吃午餐,果然好吃又便宜 (必吃BBQ),中午的時候幾乎客滿。這裡的餐廳只有中午營業,晚上所有人都會在家裡吃,也因此我們必須要跟民宿訂晚餐,要不然絕對餓肚子! 這邊有幾個健行步道可以走,我們請了一個CBT導遊帶我們逛核桃森林,價錢是900 som.

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Small town center 這就是市區..

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Ready for walnut excursion! 好險我們去健行的時候放晴了!

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The whole forests are full of walnut trees 整片的核桃森林!

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Our guide leading us to the forest and showing us different kinds of walnut trees 我們的導遊帶我們逛森林以及介紹不同的樹種

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Immediately starting the work to find walnut 馬上實作體驗 看能不能撿一包賺點錢

The walnut harvest season almost ended when we were there. Usually the locals like to collect the walnut after raining days because some of them would already fall after the rain. Basically the women will climb up the trees and shake the trees so that the walnut will fall down. Later they can pick it on the ground. It is definitely not as easy as you think, because the walnut is usually on the ground with the fallen leaves. The leaf, ground, and walnut share the same color so you really need good eyesight and patience while collecting them. We definitely feel the difficulties because we only collect 2 during our tour… but we met a local woman who was collecting and shared a lot of them with us! The locals can go and collect walnut anytime they like, only some land with the fences are managed privately and they will assign one family to collect walnut in the area they select.

十月初抵達這裡已經是核桃豐收的尾聲,當地婦女通常會爬到樹上,用力的搖樹枝,讓核桃掉下來再撿,下雨過後最適合採集,因為很多核桃都被雨水打落。聽起來簡單的工作,等我們真正到了森林裡想撿幾個才知道這不是個簡單的工作。因為這些核桃、泥土和枯枝落葉全都是類似的土黃色,要找到新鮮的核桃不僅得東翻西找還要有極好的眼力,我們這一路走來居然只找到了2個! 半路上遇到一個正在採集核桃的老婦人,她招手把我們叫過去,居然就把她辛苦撿的十幾顆核桃分享給我們,真是太感動了! 這些核桃樹並沒有特別屬於誰的,任何人都可以來採集,不過導遊說現在有些區域被圍起來分配給一些有在這裡投資的公司,公司會選派一戶人家負責在該區域採收。

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Our guide is not only CBT staff but also environmentalist. He was picking up garbage along the way and said, “Some locals start to sell candies and food in the forest, and customers and kids who bought them will just throw the plastic package anywhere. It is bad for the nature and our environment but they don’t know. We are trying to tell them everytime.” When we pass by a small shop, well, more like a stand, he approached the woman and said, “I saw many plastic bags and garbage on the way, can you please clean it and try to tell your customer not to throw it randomly?” the woman said, “ok, I know. Because it was raining so I didn’t clean it.” Not sure if she really will listen, but I felt really touched by his perseverance. He also mentioned that with the small revenue that CBT earns, they are able to buy a bicycle and also hold an event to educate people the importance of clean environment. He tried to show them pictures of scenery without and with garbage. He thought that the people are now starting to be aware of it but still needs time. I told him that I am really impressed by what he is doing and this is really great. I hope he will continue and some day he can achieve his goal.

來說說這位令我印象深刻的導遊吧! 他不僅是CBT的導遊,還是一個環保鬥士! 他一路上看到垃圾就撿,並對我們說: “現在有些居民開始在森林裡賣東西,大家買了糖果甚麼的,就把塑膠袋和包裝紙隨便亂丟,他們不知道這對環境和生態的影響,我們正在慢慢教導他們。” 後來我們經過一個賣飲料糖果的小攤販,導遊就走過去對賣東西的婦女說: “我剛剛來的路上看到很多垃圾,你要跟顧客說不要亂丟這些包裝紙和垃圾,也要幫忙清理環境啊! ” 婦女說: “我知道! 只是這幾天下雨就沒有清垃圾了! ” 也不知道婦女是不是只是應付一下,但對於導遊的毅力和決心真的很佩服。他還說,他們去年用了CBT的一點盈餘買了一台腳踏車,辦了一場活動,展示有垃圾和沒垃圾的環境的照片,告訴大家環境的重要,還有塑膠袋對環境的破壞,他覺得大家開始慢慢理解,但還需要時間。我告訴他,他做的這些事真的很棒也很重要,希望他能繼續下去。後來我們一起吃了午餐,導遊說之前有西班牙志工在CBT工作,借住在他家,他們教他英文還有西班牙菜,他現在慢慢蓋新的房間,希望以後也可以加入homestay,還問我們要怎麼安裝wifi,可不可以託我們把機器從台灣寄來。想想首都Bishkek甚麼都有,再看看這裡整村的人都不知道要怎麼樣才能有wifi,城市差距真的好大。

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正在向婦女宣導環境清潔的導遊

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Arslanbob people are lucky to have this beautiful view, hope they can cherish it 美麗的Arslanbob 希望大家能珍惜這個環境

We also spent one afternoon just to walk around this small village and enjoy the local life. We found more chicken than people… and it’s interesting that all kids here will say “Hello” to you and then “Good bye”. Our guide said it’s because there were tourists who took pictures of some locals and sent the file to CBT. Later CBT gave the photos to the original owner and they were very happy. That’s why kids like to say hello and good bye to you in order to get a photo of themselves!

另一個下午我們在這小村莊的巷弄裡散步,想更貼近當地生活。結果發現雞比人多… 然後小孩子都特別可愛,看到我們就衝著我們說 Hello! Good Bye! 導遊說以前曾經有遊客拍了一些當地人的照片,把檔案寄到CBT,他們把照片送給照片裡的人家,他們超級開心! 所以看到遊客總是很熱絡,希望你幫他們拍些照片。

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