Land and Freedom

Dushanbe (Tajikistan capital) is 525 km from Khorog and takes about 20h in a proper 4WD. I made it in 2 days on a truck that was going from China do Afghanistan. The driver who took me was a good man, he was stocking water that later he would give to the thirsty herders or soldiers on the way. The scenery is spectacular. The road goes along a river canyon with Afghanistan on the other side and if the Tajik road is in a bad condition you have to see how the paths on the Afghan side look. The Pamir highway was definitely a big highlight of this trip.

P1030643Even with the language barrier I felt a good connection and have a great time with that truck driver. He was complaining as well about corrupt police officers and how much he had to pay in bribes. We even were waiting 5 hours at a tea house till the evening till officers would leave a checkpoint in the evening to avoid paying. At another checkpoint, a soldier gave me a piece of melon. The police officers saw him and to beat the soldier gave me a big bread and a huge watermelon.

I slept the first night in the truck as there were two beds. For the 2nd the driver invited me to his son´s flat in a pretty khrushchyovka in Kurgonteppa. When he knew where I was from he exclaimed “No pasarán!”. My left fist raised automatically towards the roof and I repeated “No pasarán”. This small gesture made me really happy. When telling my origin I am used to hearing football remarks like “Barcelona-Messi-Real Madrid-Ronaldo” to which I reply “No! Deportivo-Manuel Pablo”. The driver’s son could speak a quite decent English and we spent a nice evening talking politics over some vodka served from a bottle with Stalin (I am not saying I support Stalin) portrait. Ваше здоровье товарищ! Ни шагу назад!

P1030687As this post has no much content here a couple of Central Asian interesting traditions that I didn’t have the luck to witness:

  • Hunting with eagles
  • Buzkashi (not to be mistaken with bukkake). A game played on horseback with a goat carcass, similar to polo I guess
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