As has been typical of this trip, plans were thwarted. This time, it wasn't a crooked Krygyz promise or a slipshod Chinese travel agent. It was the kidneys.

Attempting to pass two kidney stones (yes, two...no one's ever accused me of being half-hearted) while battling a case of food poisoning all in a single night makes one ill-disposed to do any canyon-walking.It's been a hellish two days. Any words I find to describe the pain of these sub-centimeter demons are all devoid of meaning for their overuse. Agonizing. Excruciating. Doubled-over. You name it, I felt it.

What this did enable us to do, though, was visit the inner workings of the Kyrgyz medical system.Word to the wise: if you travel, 1) Don't get kidney stones (I mean, really. Who gets kidney stones when they're travelling?), and 2) Avoid the inner workings of the Kyrgyz medical system.

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