Posts Tagged ‘Khorog’

A fun, whirlwind week of touring the Pamirs with our own driver(s) finished up today with a 6 hour drive back from Murghab in the eastern Pamirs, and I’m back in Khorog. Tomorrow the plan is to take a day trip up one of the valleys and see some more petroglyphs and Ismaili shrines.

It was an extensively documented trip thanks to an 8 GB memory card.  No pictures to be posted yet, however, as I can’t seem to find a way to upload them from the internet cafe (and the tots playing GTA next to me are too engrossed to help), but lots and lots to share when the time comes.  I’m sure some of them will even be cool-looking.  In the meantime, some more of my trip, by the numbers:

  • Three sticks of yak shashlik consumed (and a yak samosa for good measure);
  • Three Pamiri children who acted as impromptu guides for us (they bound from stone to stone like mountain goats);
  • Three pairs of Pamiri socks purchased;
  • Two different 4×4 vehicles used;
  • One homestay we stayed at that was without a bathroom or an outhouse (when we asked where the toilet was, our host swept his arm across the horizon);
  • One snow/hail storm we got caught in outside of Murghab on the Chinese border;
  • One book I finished reading (Animal Farm, can’t believe I had never read it before); and
  • Zero places to check internet.

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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.

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