Our trip around Lake Issyk-Kol brings us to the old boundary post town of Karakol, and its animal market which runs every Sunday from 6am to 10am.

Locals load their Ladas (and anything else that has wheels) with livestock; a spectacle, particularly if the animal refuses to be forced into a boot or back seat!

Fat tailed sheep (their value measured by the size of their tails) jostle cheek to jowl with goats and other livestock, while next door another area is reserved for used cars and parts. A good price for a Lada would be +- USD 350 while a sheep can be as much as USD 120 depending on age, weight, sex and tail size.

And then there are the “ubiquitous” vodka stands which sell vodka by the double tot and are patronised from 6am onwards.

Nothing like a shot or two of Vodka before serious haggling….


Animals arrive by horse drawn cart .


And three wheelers.



By foot.



And anything with wheels.


Even wheels with aspirations.


Shoppers arrive in a similar manner.


Vodka and cigarettes before the haggling.



Bargaining happens everywhere.


Some remain poker faced.



While others just get on with it.






These are fat tailed sheep. A traditional breed.


Mother and offspring are sold as a pair.



Some take it in their stride.


While others resist.


A last shot of vodka.


And the last horse shoe sale.


Before animals are loaded back into the boot.



And taken home with little dignity.


This one was spared the trip home & seems to be rather destined for the pot.


One wonders if the cow is any luckier.


Or these.