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Silk Route Project Craig and Simon are currently travelling from India to Istanbul with the fantastic support of World Nomads. On behalf of Footprints, World Nomad's charity, they will be visiting of a number of projects along the route to deliver supplies of essential medicines to impoverished children.

Wuzzing through the Pamirs

TAJIKISTAN | Saturday, 9 September 2006 | Views [3380] | Comments [4]

What can I say this was a drive of a lifetime, the Pamirs hold some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We started in Murghab which is a small town situated amongst the mountains, it was definately a good introduction to the isolation that these people feel. After we bargained our driver down from the  outrageous price of $500US to a more than reasonable $250 we set of on what was to be an eyeopener of an adventure. Our car of choice for the trip was the mighty Wuz and old Russian built van that can take on anything you throw at them, although later our drivers didn’t share the same sentiment.

At the agreed time of 8 am Simon, our new travleling buddy Nick and myself waited paitiently down at the bazaar only to find out that our driver was working on Dushanbe time which is an hour behind (well that was his excuse anyway). So after this auspicious start we headed for Bolon Kol lake which had been recommended by a fellow traveller. We arrived only to find out that because of the lack of rain the lake was not all that it was cracked up to be, so after a brief stop we headed back to the turn off to the Wakhan valley. This is when it got good and I mean really good. Almost immediately we were surrounded by huge mountains whilst heading down one of the most dusty and rough tracks of the trip so far. We thoroughly enjoyed it but our drivers didn't and as soon as we stopped for some photos they decided to take this opportunity to ask me for more money. I must have looked like an easy target but they were visably dissapointed when I kept on repeating my favorite of Russian words “niet”.

Further into the Wakhan valley the scenery became more and more stunning and at one stage our driver turned round to us and pointed to the mountain range and said with a big smile “Afghanistan!” then proceeded to make gestures of a gun with his hands and pointing them at us. Disappointment was becoming a regular thing for our driver as it had the opposite effect on us and we looked at him with excitement not fear. We actually asked him to stop at one stage so that we could have a bit of a look around for old Osama but unfortunaltey we came up with nothing which was shame because we could have really done with that reward money.

The road twisted and turned through the valley and as we were the only car on the track farmers, that were used to having the thing to themselves, were surprised when our Wuz came round the corner and nearly took out some of their livestock. Our first stop along the Wakhan corridor was a fantastic little oasis called Langar. It truly was one of the most beautiful towns any of us had ever seen, set down in the valley dwarfed by the humongous mountains and filled with some fantastic characters, especially our host for the night who made us all feel very welcome. Much to our drivers irk they thought it was silly little town and kept on pushing us to leave straight away and head to Khorog which was bigger. We flat out refused and told them that we had agreed with them before the trip started that we would be spending the night here and in Ishkashim. Dissapointment again for our drivers (I really think at this point they really stated to hate us and that easy $250 was not so easy anymore), after a fantastic meal we set down for a fantastic nights sleep amoungst the mountains. Our drivers had chosen to sleep out in the van because they didn’t trust the locals.

Next morning we were greeted by the sight two unhappy and tired drivers but this did nothing to get us down as the valley was bathed in the first light of day making the mountains even more stunning than before. We went for a stroll around the small town snapping away with our cameras which nearly all the children of the town wanted to get in as they made their way to school. We set off of for Ishkashim and as we had a large van and only the three of in the back we picked up as many locals as possible making there way between towns. Sometimes we didn’t have a choice as a local policeman just got in and sat in the back without a glance at any of us. Not wanting to upset the local constabulary we just left him to himself and his crossword.

We arrived in Ishkashim and the three of us came to the conclusion to get rid of the dark cloud that had unfortunately followed us from Murghab, so we told our drivers that they could make their way to Khorog and that we would find other means of transport. This was wonderful news to our drivers but we had one last request and that was to drive us to the Afghanistan border so that Nick could continue on his own adventure. As soon as their mission was completed and money was handed over our drivers speed off leaving us in a cloud of dust with woops of glee (we're not that bad are we). Getting Nick across the border was not as simple as we may have thought, mainly because the border guards had gone off on lunch break and that was 2 hrs ago and nobody at the border knew when they would be back. So after another hour waiting around they guards returned but we had to wait while they processed a family and by the time they had finished they told us they were closed but after some pleading they finally let Nick across into the great unknown. He should be on his way to Kabul right now…..hopefully.

So that brings us to the end of trip through the mighty Pamirs If anybody gets a chance to do this grab it with both hands because you will be totally rewarded with some of the most amazing sights this great earth has to offer (just make sure you get better drivers though).

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

that sounds amazing... I'd love to go somewhere like that where tourism is still, obviously, a foreign concept. Question - where did you stay in Langar? is there a hotel or do you have to make other arrangements?

  crustyadventures Sep 11, 2006 10:23 AM

2

I just loved the description that you painted of this part of the trip. It sounds wonderful but must admit I wish you were both home for the Sunday roast.
Love
Mumma

  Mumma Sep 12, 2006 9:51 AM

3

Wow - I knew that adventure book I gave you last Christmas would be of use! This really does outdo all of that. I am really enjoying you escapade - what a fantastic team you are. Well done and keep on with telling us all about your adventures. Love Looeese

  Looeessee!! Sep 13, 2006 9:46 PM

4

for Christy

If you'd "love to go somewhere where tourism is still a foreign concept" forget about hotels! Places like that are usually stunning, with unspoiled nature and amazing scenery, and but also dirty, with no places to exchange your money, with foul public toilets if any, with impoverished houses for accommodation and scruffy kids with hungry eyes. All at the same time. I know cos I was born there. Just thought you should know this since you're considering going to place like that.

to the Author

Really enjoyed your notes, good luck with your adventures!

  talaina Jan 23, 2007 1:19 AM

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