October 24, 2017, afternoon. I was cycling along the shores of Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan. It was a beautiful autumn day. The air was fresh and smelled of apples. By a series of coincidences (which seemed unfortunate at the time) I found myself in that precise place at that precise time. The next small city (Karakol) was at about 30 km. I almost reached my destination. Suddenly 3 puppies on the side of the road. They had been abandoned. I couldn’t turn a blind eye. I stopped and tried to put the puppies in my bags and take them to a safer place. No way, they were too big.
For two hours I stopped passing cars asking if anyone wanted to adopt a puppy. No luck. The first thing people checked was the sex. Females. All of them. Nobody wants females. They stay pregnant. Sterilisation is too expensive. I was sad and frustrated. The sun was about to set. Out of nowhere came a boy. He maybe was16 years old. He observed the scene of me stopping the cars. He smiled. At one point he said ‘koshka’. I didn’t understand. He spoke to me and repeated the word ‘koshka’ many times. I smiled and let him know that I didn’t understand. The boy turned towards the shores of the lake and pointed to a bush: ‘koshka’.
Two frightened blue/grey eyes looked at me from the bush and when I got closer he started hissing at me. A flutter of soft hair stood on one of my hands (and I have small hands).
I didn’t hesitate for a second. I couldn’t save the little dogs, but I could give the kitty a chance. I left the puppies to their sad fate. A stream of tears ran down my cheeks. That night it was freezing cold …
This is the story of Dimitri. My travelling companion. My little world. A very special bond. For him I changed my travel itinerary completely: instead of entering in China and then South-East Asia I flew to the end of the world: Ushuaia, Argentina and we cycled 6’000 km together between Argentina, Chile and Europe (more in the posts from November 2017).