First off, let me apologize for being so bad about posting on this blog. Part of the reason is that I was trying to wrap up everything at my job in Dushanbe in anticipation of the end of my contract on 1 June. Another part is related to the new blog I’ve started about wine auctions (niche, I know) sucking my time — I’d be chuffed, as the Brits say, if you’d check it out at http://www.wineauctionspy.com. Finally, I’ve been a bit preoccupied about moving to Africa in a couple of weeks (how’s that drop a bombshell as an aside) to be with my girl. I promise, plenty more on that and my last days in TJ are to come.
But right now I’m on vacation in the Pamir Mountains in the Gorno-Badashan Autonomous Oblast (“GBAO”) of Tajikistan. This is the famous mountainous eastern half of the country that I’ve been meaning to visit ever since I came here, and I was damned if I’d leave Tajikistan without coming. So now I’m tapping this out from an internet cafe in the capital of GBAO, Khorog, a pleasant, leafy city surrounded by majestic peaks on all sides.
Getting here took some doing though. Twenty-one hours by a beaten-up Land Cruiser to be exact. That’s a long day of driving my friends, and it was a bit more intense than the yearly car trips my family took from Boston to South Florida at Christmastime when I was a kid. The trip included, in no particular order:
- Three stops by the Tajik traffic police (not that many actually);
- Two flat tires, one on our car and the other on another car in our convoy;
- Two bowls of shurbo, one each for lunch and dinner;
- Two tea cups full of fine, fine Tajik vodka;
- One mini-medical emergency solved by pepto and/or zantac;
- One mudslide blocking the road for over an hour until it was bulldozed out of the way; and
- A partridge in a pear tree (well, not really, but I felt like we had to include it).
Photos to follow at some point, though possibly not until I get back to Dushanbe in 10 days or so. Off to Ishkashim and the Wakhan Corridor tomorrow.