Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hereditary cool?

My late friend Aralbai of Bayan Olgii was sometimes known as "The Coolest Man in the World",  on the strength of this sort of... call it an Internet poster made (not by us) of him:
Here he is in younger days, with his son in 1997 on our first expedition.
He was a dedicated hunter, and like me he could get impatient at the slow pace and artifice of photography and films. Here, on the first trip, he is rolling a cigarette during a break. He grinned up at me, offered me a home- rolled, and delivered an opinion of the proceedings behind with several well- chosen swear words. In English.
He became a mentor to Lauren, shown here with him on her first trip, when she was 16. He was her first eagle teacher.
In her Fulbright year she hunted, but also did things like study nests.
Aralbai and his now- grown son also rode with Cat during those years. A Wyoming cowgirl is as much a member of the club of the horse and the guild of long riders as a Kazakh;  after beating Armanbek in an improvised race, Cat won a silver- embellished riding crop. He is grinning here, and he seems unembarrassed. At this point Aralbai still looked good too...
And then he was gone, quickly, of the cancer that seems to take so many of my generation there. It IS downwind, not too far, from the historic Soviet nuclear test sites in Kazakhstan. Lauren helped him get to the big falconry fiesta in the Arabian Gulf; I would love to have gotten his impressions...

But his son may also explore other shores. The image below, sent again as a found object by a friend, suggests he has inherited the title.


Anonymous said...

To have experienced this wold, these people… You are indeed a fortunate man.

Jim Cornelius

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

To have started this journey by 16, how fortunate is Lauren

Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

"The king is dead. Long live the king!"

Anonymous said...

Some of us are fortunate enough to pass on the knowledge that the coolest are not us. But, we may have cool on speed dial, even get a "contact cool" now and then.
I'm ok with that.

George Graham