ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-08-2013, 12:45 PM   #466
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVAN38 View Post
Each of your photos offers me a little of dream...

Especially change nothing...

You are my idols....

I am jealous

Thank you for all you magnificent photos

Continue, please, your road and has very soon
Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
Love the update! Really looking forward to the Pamir..
Here's a scoop on what's going to come in the next weeks/months :)













mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2013, 12:49 PM   #467
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Collateral damage

(by Ana) I'm, as you well know, a rookie motorcyclist. I left Bucharest less than two months ago with less than 600 km done on a motorbike. By car I have clocked even less, perhaps a little over 150 km, driven more than a decade ago. In May I had zero traffic experience, and I struggled even on a lowered DRZ with my vertically challenged silhouette. But while it is scary, testing myself is also lots of fun. It brings excitement to my life, smashing through the smug facade of everyday routine. As I ride out of Dushanbe to my inevitable apex of motorcycling, the mighty Pamir, I'm still having a blast trying to imagine how this geological trial will go down - the way the rocks will crumble and the waterfalls will thaw, and how my fears and weaknesses of today will be incinerated by doing, while my virtues will be spared.

John is helping me negotiate the morning rush hour. But after 10 days of rest, I feel less confident. My tongue is swallowed as if stung by a hive of wasps, my limbs are stiff, my left arm is squeezing the clutch while my right index is desperately reaching for the hand brake. Have I forgotten how to ride this thing already? And frankly, this is the worst day to doubt myself. The tarmac provides some sort of comfort only for a few hours of sweaty riding. The last friendly face is of this Austrian girl, who is at the end of her cycling tour along the Wakhan corridor.





After we say our good byes, we turn right, off the tar and into the Russian roulette of whatever this next week will bring upon us. There is no traffic to speak of, only a few jeeps pass us, forcing us off the trail. For the rest of the time we are alone, and might I say miserable. I go slow, John goes mad. I struggle to make again the connection that I feel got lost while skype-ing and hiking in Dushanbe. Come on, girl, encourage yourself!









There have been quite a few rains lately, so we find the road mushy and damp. Most hairpins are decorated with a slush of loose gravel mixed with sand and in the apex there is usually a stream overflowing into the valley.



With every kilometer I doubt that we will make it to Tavildara today. We have chosen this route - called the summer route- because it is supposed to be more scenic and rough. And scenic it is, indeed. About the roughness of it, only my sore bum and wrists can say a lot!

We stop often. It is so hot and we are sweating so profusely that we are easily drained of energy. If only we could switch to third gear perhaps we'd find some relief in the cool air, but where there are no streams to cross...





... there are steep climbs or rocky stretches to munch.







So we must rehydrate a lot, and soon our dried fruits bags that we thought would serve for emergency food who knows where, are visibly dwindling.

As I remember from Africa, the hardest stretch of a road will be at the end of a hard day of riding.



So, in a way, when we see the river we should cross as the sun is setting down, we are little surprised. John passes first. I watch him jiggle and his feet and wheels sinking under the water. I open my helmet to hear the current. It is strong, but not scary strong. Before I could get anymore spooked, I pull the clutch, bring it into gear and slide my bike into the river. I cannot say how hyped I am to find myself on the other side, after about 15 meters of variable depth and rockbed structure. I've made it! I am so excited that I continue on for another kilometers. After I cross a small village John catches up and signals that I should pull over. He tells me that Greg, the French on recumbent bike from Dushanbe and his g-friend are in the village before the river crossing and that he invited us to join them at the guesthouse they've found. It's only 2 euro per person a bed, it's a truckers' joint, he says, and we could use some company. But that means I have to do this river again, and not only once, but twice. I gotta say that this ruins my mood.



At the guesthouse Greg and Cyrielle are nicely installed in a shabby dorm. The bed sheets must be the same since the last year and the last hundred of truck drivers, but outside it's damp and soon quite cold, so we'd better stay. While we order a pot of tea, rain starts pouring. It's raining cats and dogs through the night, and none is venturing outside for a pee in the horrendous toilet. The power cut brings some relief from the equally horrendous music playing on TV: it's the national day in Tajikistan, and they are broadcasting the festivities from Dushanbe. Nobody will miss the screechy voice and the queer dancing of the Tajik Michale Jackson impersonator.

In the morning the rain is on and off. Our group packs up our stuff and ponders the situation on the veranda. Greg is joggling with his wet socks pretending that it's the best day of his life :) This attracts the attention of some local kids, who must think we have lost our marbles.





We decide to ride on, the cyclists decide to linger and wait for the weather to improve. Our Rukka gear is awesome. Drenched in showers from the outside, and in sweat from the inside, we stay dry and clean. In our former gear this day would be a nightmare, in this gear it is slightly inconvenient. We pass another couple of French cyclists, and then we hit the ascent. The valley narrows up into a swift mass of rock. Strange flowers dot the mountain, water is surging across the land and we start seeing the snow on top of the pass.





We cross into the first GBAO district. The road still shows no mercy and the humid weather keeps at it. But this nasty clay is just what the doctor ordered for our Dunlops.

















We climb at 3252 m and as we do, the clouds assemble a hazy snow storm.







The views must be fantastic on fair weather, but even now its' a breathtaking sight of shadows and light.



We are already wearing everything that we have: the warm layers, the wind-stoppers, the goretex gloves. And we've switched on the heating, but it hardly make any difference. Its surely below zero, and we are crunching our teeth and trembling with cold. We stop for a brief photo. The only way back to sanity is down, beyond the pass, so we give it gas.

As the road becomes curvier, the air temperature becomes gentler. Once we can zip off and stretch our bones, I feel alive again.







The second half of the road downhill is all rock.









And curves, and hairpins, and adrenaline.



We stop in Tavildara to refuel. We were also hoping to find a restaurant where we could have a warm meal. But all we find is this joint that sells tea in a discreet cubicles decorated as if a show-girl will pop from behind the scarlet curtains any minute now.





When finally the Pamir's domes come in sight, I am still incredulous. It's one of our most vivid encounters with the vastness of nature. It's a lot for us to take in. We pass another group of cyclists. This time all dudes, who've done the Wakhan. If yesterday I was doubting myself that I could do it, today I am sure that I must.



In the thick summer air the distant crests beyond the river Panj appear as a hazy beige shadow, not entirely solid, but a tempting line of reference. Then we ride closer. There is no sign of humans. Looking around full circle all we can see is mountain, extending out in all directions, until it joins the sky. Then we ride even closer, and we see it.





The Afghani side of the river. A wonderland. It soon becomes dark, and the people in the village light up their mud-brick houses. We will stop here tonight.
mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2013, 01:56 PM   #468
TwilightZone
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Oddometer: 2,641
Wonderful stuff !

>"I go slow, John goes mad. "

IMHO: Going slow is far better than falling off !
__________________
"I don't really know, I've been too busy falling down."
TwilightZone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2013, 01:00 AM   #469
mr.joke
Adventurer
 
mr.joke's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2011
Location: Barcelona, Catalonia
Oddometer: 22
awesome pics bravo !!
__________________
http://www.trincats.org
mr.joke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2013, 02:32 AM   #470
dallastx
Gnarly Adventurer
 
dallastx's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Holland
Oddometer: 400
Still awesome pics and mucho respect for Ana, riding her maiden trip on her own bike!
__________________
XT rules! Make the world beautiful, get a tattoo!

XT660Z Tenere '08 http://dallastx.smugmug.com

Visit www.xt660.com and www.hank3.com
dallastx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #471
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Afghanistan Takes The Prize



This is where we camped. It's our first night on the Wakhan corridor.





Let us zoom in. This narrow stretch of land lies between Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. What we can see over the river Panj is surely more charming than what we have going on on our side.





And it's not what we would have expected to see. Afghanistan is the most beautiful country we have not visited, of course, we are only talking about this bit of Afghanistan. So instead of packing our bags and continuing our journey, we linger for hours, unable to help ourselves from staring at the curious life-show beyond the water.











The village is so close. Less than 50 meters separate us from another life, another era. On our side there are still bits of tarmac and soon we'll reach a big town, Khorog,. On the Afghan side we see dirt roads zig-zaggingup and down the mountain and dung fires. As the sun starts illuminating and warming up the valley, the village wakes up. Other villagers show up, walking impetuously from some neighboring settlement. The women wear long purple dresses. The men have their heads covered in turbans, and they are wearing long shirts, wide belts, baggy trousers and vests. It feels like looking back a few centuries into the past. We wonder if the older man who is being invited by that women to enter inside the house could be some respected relative. or if she is cooking for him a welcome meal. We wonder what those two men who have stopped their donkeys on a trail are debating so passionately. The entire mountain is blanketed in gardens. Terraces bear golden crops. And further up there is the blue deep sky, where peaks impossibly steep are powdered with snow.





Unfortunately we do not have a double entry visa for Tajikistan, otherwise we would try to get a permit and cross on the other side. We spend our riding day gesturing to the Afghani and gawking at the fabulous landscapes that follow the mighty river.












As we cross into another GBAO district, the Wakhan starts really flexing its muscles. But sand it's my prime territory, and Ana is quite entertained by my drills.







After we cross the sandy stretch and the river Panj, we meet a nice bistro owner who feeds us fresh milk, fresh kaymak and hot bread. The protein load keeps us pumping until we hit Khorog.





We pass many cyclists: Japanese, French, German, Ukrainian, and even 3 Polish riders on 1200 GS, Super Tenere and 990, who may I say have not chosen the best bikes for the job. Actually after Khorog they ony made their way to Ishkashim, then they turned back, exhausted and pissed because of the hard off-road.









Khorog is the main hub into the region, where all travelers meet and where the last proper shopping and the last arrangements can be made. Around us, just bare rock. In stark contrast to what we will experience beyond this town, the roads are mostly paved and in good shape. But Ana is spent. She sits on the platform of the only gas station in town. I promise her a hot shower and a full tank tonight. But tomorrow, my darling...



mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 01:35 AM   #472
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Laugh

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwilightZone View Post

>"I go slow, John goes mad. "

IMHO: Going slow is far better than falling off !
True, anyway the Pamir is so beautiful that the slower you ride, the more you take in. We were quite jealous with the cyclists who do slower and richer stints in the region. Not when we hit a steep slope, tho', where we were quite happy to be riding a motor vehicle rather than having to push 50 kg uphill :)
As for what I said, I must say sometimes I was feeling quite guilty for stalling the pace of our team, as John could have done this astonishing road in a different manner if I was not a rookie. Being so consumed with the riding experience, I also missed some of what the place gives back to the rider. I made a promise to myself to come back one day and ride it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallastx View Post
Still awesome pics and mucho respect for Ana, riding her maiden trip on her own bike!
Cheers, riding in Central Asia is the best crash course for a newbie. I was lucky to enjoy different terrain and all weather conditions in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes. I guess it beats doing 200k everyday to work :)
mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 01:37 AM   #473
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Sand Trials



The sun proves capricious and cruel: hiding behind clouds, yet fiercely toning down colors and burning our skin. Every single centimeter that remains exposed, hurts like hell. Our swagger is less dashing. Ana's riding off-road reveals my brand new girlfriend: disciplined, focused above her usual morning haze. I feel that this is more than an act of bravery, it is part of her desire to recover abilities that were slipping away.







The road is always changing: after the gravel sections that Ana enjoys so much, we hit some patches of soft, deep sand, mixed with glitter-stone.





Beyond the angry Panj river, the Afghan trails are no longer wilder than our tadjik road.



Luckily the sandy bits are quite short and there are not so many of them anyway. The cyclists must suffer more than we do, having to push their super charged two wheelers across.











Back on the gravel, we kick it until we feel a water and pee break is in order. Who is not convinced that these two are the most awesome feelings of relief, has not suffered of real thirst, nor have they sat in a saddle for long enough.



Some kids stop to check us out. Their mum soon joins them. Hello ma'am, do you know where we could drink some tea? Tea?? she is visibly surprised; Well, there is no restaurant or tea house around here, she says. But her face lights up. Come, I make tea for you. Rosa is home alone, her husband is working in Russia. Most men do; this is not place for employment opportunities. While their father is living a double life many thousands of kilometers away, the kids keep company to their mother: Dilangez, the eldest daughter (19), Eradj (15), Sheroz (12) and Surajd (10).



Their house is a huneuni chid. A traditional Pamiri house, built by the grandfather of Roza's husband. The large room where we are invited is illuminated through a skylight (tsorkhona). The most notable detail here are the four concentric squares that represent the four elements: water, fire, earth and air.



The roof is supported by five pillars. This is also symbolic, suggesting the five pillars of Islam, the 5 prophets and 5 Zoroastrian deities. The number of roof beams is about the number of imams and prophets in Ishmael-ism, a shot-off of Islam that is prevalent in the Pamir valley. These people really care for Aga Khan, whose portrait is adorning one of the pillars. So our gift - a photo of the Aga - is received with much joy, Rosa even kisses the piece of paper and sticks it next to the other one. In the meantime the older daughter has prepared a proper feast: black tea, shir choy (milk with a bit of tea and some melted butter) and a large plate of boiled buckwheat. Rosa takes the homemade bread and tears it into pieces, then places them in front of each of us, a symbolic invitation to enjoy their humbling and moving hospitality.



We try to think of a nice gesture to thank for this, but no matter what we do, Rosa is one step ahead. We pull out a box of dates, she pulls out a charcoal pencil and starts beautifying Ana. She draws deep shadows under her blue eyes and darkens her eyebrows. Now you look like a Tajik woman, she says. It is fun and pleasant inside, we find it difficult to leave. Outside the riding conditions are brilliant: dry gravel, crazy sun, winding road.



















In the first petrol station - a hole in the wall with the dubious liquid in plastic cans of course - we meet a cute potential play-pal for our adorable Adele; he older sister who is dealing the fuel tells us that the cutie pie is called. This photo shoot allows me to showcased a newly beautified Ana; wearing tajik make-up that is. :)





Once her tank is filled, Ana takes off. Her growing confidence is ever more obvious.







We pass the last village on the map until Kargush Pass..



The road takes a swift turn uphill; which costs us a DRZ clutch



A few tight hairpins later we are treated to an awesome panorama;



We climb a few more hundreds of meter. The air is so sharp and cold that it makes our lungs hurt. We decide it would not be a wise idea to push any further, as the weather must be even more harsh as we would draw closer to the pass. We will set camp and see about that tomorrow.







While we do our business around the camp, we hear the sound of motorcycle engine. Two bikers on 650 BMWs show up on the trail. The first guy lifts up his arm for hello, but shortly they both disappear behind a curve. Where are they from, why are they in such a hurry? No idea.

mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2013, 08:32 AM   #474
LusoViking
Aspiring Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Copenhagen/Portugal/CA/AZ
Oddometer: 30
Thumb

A question about communication - I am curious as you seem to be able to communicate with the locals to a much better degree than most travellers I have known. What languages do you speak and do you actively try and learn the local tongue? You mentioned this in Mocambique I think? It could be interesting to know what languages you resort to in your encounters with locals. From your african travels and Romanian background I assume one of you speaks French - how good is your Russian?
LusoViking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2013, 07:32 PM   #475
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by LusoViking View Post
A question about communication - I am curious as you seem to be able to communicate with the locals to a much better degree than most travellers I have known. What languages do you speak and do you actively try and learn the local tongue? You mentioned this in Mocambique I think? It could be interesting to know what languages you resort to in your encounters with locals. From your african travels and Romanian background I assume one of you speaks French - how good is your Russian?
Cheers LusoViking. More electronic gear failing on us is preventing us from updating our RR as often as we'd wish. So thanks for still tuning in.

Only in a few countries we found that language is a true barrier - for simple comunication that is. We normally manage to learn a couple of dozen practical words to help us cope with the basic: numbers, where/when type of questions, staple foods in that area etc. Ana likes to write down the new words, so many times when people notice that they start teaching us more stuff. Kids are the best teachers in our experience, they love to play and exchange this kind of info. Making simple sketches also helps,and of course the mother-of-all sign language. Mind you though: not all signs mean the same in all countries! Sadly we eventually forget those basic words once we leave the native territory and experiences dim into just memories. For exemple we can manage a rudimentary Italian and since we have been riding in Central Asia and Russia an even more rudimentary Russian (we love this language BTW! and our parents hated it). We understand quite a bit of Turkish and can handle communication in markets and restaurants. While in East Africa we could do an acceptable Swahili, now we barely remember some words. In Central Asia the easiest language to memorize words in was Kyrgyz, because it resembles Turkish so much. The most difficult was Mongolian. Georgian was untouchable for us.
After years of travels there are actually only a couple of languages we speak properly: English and French. The others I mentioned cannot serve us enough in more meaningful conversations, except maybe for Russian, and that is largely due to the amazing desire of the Russian people to talk and their friendly curiosity. Our Russian has evolved from a few scattered words picked up from memory of communist era TV to short phrases. Actually our communication skills improve over time along with the level of confidence that allows us to risk making a fool of ourselves and saying something wrong or stupid. It's also up to the local customs: some people are eager to talk and curious about travelers, others are more shy and difficult to interract with. As a rule of thumb I'd say you must try and make yourself understood, learn a few greeting and practicalities and be daring. Ana has her tricks for kicking up a conversation that lacks pizzaz (notebook, games with kids...). In our experience African people are the best communicators: they are all multilingual and have amazing musical ear, they can pick up what you mean even if you say it in a very truncated accent, they are the most forgiving with grammar and they embrace you if you show the minimal willingness to learn their language.
As a side note, music must be one of the best communication tools: we met a Japanese guy (we talked about him a while nack from Nairobi) who was barely speaking any english, yet he had made some extraordinary encounters on his solo travels while playing his guitar and singing.
mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #476
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Happiness Hurts

Rain wakes us up. Then a roar of shouting - must be some shepherds passing by. Before we could decide to check out the weather, something hits our tent. So I pull the zipper. A bleak blizzard is consuming the valley, now mountains almost invisible through the fog. My stomach is my emotional gauge and it gurgles as I look around me. Out in the distance, where last night there was bare brown rock, now there's is fresh snow.

We inspect the tent: next to the canopy lies a wood stick, and about half a meter from the ground the rainfly has been slashed open. The cut is perhaps 5 cm long. We are not happy. Last night we didn't eat anything so hunger is the first thing to tend for. While we boil our porridge and brew our tea, we have plenty of time to feel sorry for ourselves, then regroup and decide on our game-plan. Two hours later we make a move; rain and wind haven't loosen their grip since morning. But the Pamir retains its beauty eve under inclement weather.





The anemic sun could fool us into thinking that the day is ending, but it's just noon. We ride carefully, hands gripped on the frozen levers, lips almost blackened by cold.







If it were not so damn cold, we'd be on cloud nine. This road is awesome. But happiness... hurts, man.

















70 kilometers before the first pass we spot a tent pitched next to the road and a bicycle lying next. We meet the owner: a Hungarian who has opted to wait here for the weather to improve. We exchange information about the distance to the next presumable settlement where there might be a shop for food supplies, about who else might be coming this way from one direction or the other. Then we take a hasty photo and wish each other the best of luck.



Higher up we are riding in thin air, among the clouds.



Nobody still, and we are freezing alive.







We are not able to stop often enough to take pics, and it's a shame, cause the landscape changes with almost every bend.













So varies the distance to the Wakhan river: it's either far, munching deeper on the bottom of the abyss, or very close, almost spraying onto our tires. Something like this:







The road is deceiving: it sometimes feels like we are crawling across a plateau surrounded by gentle hills, but in fact we are hoovering around 4000 meters altitude.





















We arrive at an unmanned barrier. As we bang and rattle, two soldiers show up, heavily dressed in winter clothing.









But only up the Kargush pass, at 4344m, the weather unleashes its doom. It's snowing; our riding gets nervous, we roll on a slippery mix of mud and gravel, taking our left arms off the lever only as long as it takes to swipe the dirty flurry of ice off our visors.





Suddenly we hit asphalt. The junction with the Pamir Highway is so unexpected that we forget to take a finish photo, and keep on riding like robots. Then I remember about my GoPro.



As we descend we feel normal again. The road is smooth and flat, and there are many Chinese lorries loaded with merchandise. It still feels like we have come from another planet, and at 3863m the village of Alichur does little to alleviate this feeling.



Before entering the village we pass two phantasmal creatures: two cyclists, one of them on recumbent bike. We wave hello, then regroup 30 minutes later in front of the same restaurant for a triumphant pic. We are sporting no frostbites, nor eyebrow icicles, our butts, heads and limbs are numb with pain, but hell we're happy!



In the restaurant we decide together with JP and Jacques to treat ourselves to a generous dinner of everything they have on the menu and in the kitchen. It's an unspoken truth among us: this is one of the best days of our lives.
In the restaurant we decide together with JP and Jacques to treat ourselves to a
generous dinner of everything they have on the menu and in the kitchen. It's an
unspoken truth among us: hands down this is one of the best days of our lives.
mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2013, 06:50 AM   #477
TwilightZone
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Oddometer: 2,641
Everytime I come to this thread... the adventures and photos are awesome. Up there on the pass... there's nothing to build a fire from... except motorcycle tires!
__________________
"I don't really know, I've been too busy falling down."
TwilightZone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2013, 06:02 AM   #478
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwilightZone View Post
Everytime I come to this thread... the adventures and photos are awesome. Up there on the pass... there's nothing to build a fire from... except motorcycle tires!
Cheers, Twilight! It's true, tires or Chinese border poles as you can see in the next post :P.
mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2013, 06:17 AM   #479
mrwwwhite OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Bucharest or RTW
Oddometer: 282
In The Middle Of Bloody Nowhere





Let's cut to the chase: this is real yak blood left to rot in the middle of the street, and an actual yak hoof left to rot in the dumpster. Both nothing short of boring details in the life of Murghab. A town sitting in the middle of bloody nowhere.





Last night, when we rolled into this place we thought it sucked ass. It was cold, we were wet and we had been riding for two hours behind a pack of uber-charged Kamaz trucks. But rest assured:even if the camels have been replaced by the 4-wheelers and the silk by the heroin, the Silk Road has remained as relevant as ever. So have the towns scattered along this famous network of roads. Murghab is one of them. We have raced up to here hoping for a hot shower and a cheap bed, as other travelers promised, yet we found little more than a pricey hotel where the watchman can't be bothered to heat us a bucket of water. Oh, well... Maybe should've stayed behind with our cyclists friends, but frankly sleeping another night at altitude in a dripping wet tent sounded nightmarish.







The good thing is that in the morning we are awaken by brilliant sun and clear sky. So everything looks good. On closer inspection, the market is plentiful and there are many cafes zooming with hungry workingmen. We enjoy a nice cuppa and a steaming plate of yak dumplings with.







The bazaar is a cluster of metal containers arranged on three rows. We restock on canned fish, dried fruits and nuts, fresh vegetables, condensed milk and crackers... you know, a traveler's staple. Ana locates a small dairy shop selling exclusively yak products: butter, kurut (curd cheese), milk, yoghurt.









The market is a riot. But as Murghab is a kyrgyz enclave, the tajik brick houses have been replaced by the yurts of the nomads. People with high cheekbones burnt by the sun, slanted eyes, the kind of features that seem to appear indigenously in Asia, right alongside the Pamir mountains and the yaks. All women cover theirs faces in colorful scarves to protect their skin from the merciless wind; men wear quirky embroidered hats that were said to have been introduced to the nation by a kyrgyz king who wanted to hide his donkey ears under. But this is a story for another time.













Just hours after our arrival at our second attempt at a cheap home-stay in Murghab, down reveals the stunning contours of mountains against a rosy sky. 93% of Tajikistan territory is mountainous and its glaciers feed the crops of many of its Central Asian neighbors. Yet, as the night-time blackout kicks in, it reminds us that much of the population has electricity only 2 hours per day. So I feel ashamed to complain that our Apple charger bought in Tbilisi was roasted during the blackout. People here have much bigger problems to cope with than updating travel blogs.

After registering the minor disaster, we hit the sack. We sleep like rocks. We grab a morning bite. We pack fast. The sky is spotless. An eerie light melts the horizon. Time to rev up them bikes and explore.

mrwwwhite is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 01:30 PM   #480
sion
sigh-own
 
sion's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Hocking Hills
Oddometer: 3,468
being foodies, I thought you might like this:

http://www.demilked.com/delicatessen...le-galimberti/
__________________
I say, there's no such thing as a bad day's riding. -metaljockey

whats the value of good gear?: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...ostcount=49301
sion is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 12:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014