Travel Letters

Paratethys Sea

Paratethys

Mangystau

West Kazakhstan

October 20, 2018

Hello,

I am standing on the rim that overlooks the ancient seabed and salt basin of the Paratethys Sea.

Even this rim on the edge of the plateau was likely covered by antediluvian waters.

Thirty-five million years ago Paratethys extended as far west as the modern Atlantic Ocean.  The seas covered the land masses east through the areas of the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, across the Caspian Sea and west to the Aral Sea.   Eventually Paratethys flowed into the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Desolate. Not Empty.

 

Mangystau

Kazakhstan

October 18, 2018

 

In the Mangystau Region, 25% larger than France, the desert appears desolate and empty.  

But life abounds.

Three pilgrimage sites built by the Eighteenth Century Sufi mystic, Beket-Ata..

An oasis appears.  Lovely flowers and plants grow alongside a salty stream.  Too salty for fish.

A Yurt Camp provides warm, comfortable bedding and hearty meals. 

Livestock everywhere. 

Secret Places

 

Mangystau

Kazakhstan

October 17, 2018

 

My driver Vladimir must have a GPS embedded in his skull. 

We drive across the desert floor. 

No road signs.

No markers assist us along the multitude of dirt tracks that veer off in all directions.

Yet we find our way through the mountains and to Vladimir’s “secret locations.”

Three Canyons

Almaty Region

Kazakhstan

October 14, 2018

Hello,

On the way to Charyn Canyon, the final site on my South Kazakhstan tour, I make two additional stops.

Ali, a local man and my considerate guide and driver, pulls off the road to find two unmarked canyons that are not visible from the roadway..

Moon Canyon is the first unscheduled stop.  Black Canyon is next,  

The Three Canyons are the perfect finale for an extraordinary journey in South Kazakhstan.

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