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Published: November 20th 2019
Day 2 Dushanbe Fast Facts
• Population 679 400
• Elevation 800m
• Settlement- 5th century BC
• Dushanbe evolved in 1929 with establishment of a railway, aka Stalinabad- capital of new Soviet Tajik republic
• 1950's back to Dushanbe (which means Monday), Tajik immigrants from Uzbekistan, German POW's and Russian exiles
• 1990's civil war with the fall of the Soviet Union
• 2002 peace prevails, city transforms
Wake up after not enough sleep with a cold, unfortunate timing but I can deal with it... My room in the daylight- big, white, spacious, old Persian rugs, big puffy curtains (hmm). white linen, navy privacy curtain into small ante room and bathroom, all very spotless, very, very spotless. I love it (with the exception of the puffy curtains), art on the walls-local eurasian, really love it. Wander down the wide grand open staircase to the dining room. It is fully set up with fried eggs, bread, fruit, jam, juice, yoghurt and coffee. Chat with another guest- a Polish girl who has been here in TJ for 6 months, she is multilingual and working on a uni project, I love this place.
Set off with a plan for the morning
Massive grounds, beautiful spaces
(getting hotter by the minute)- acquire money, get local SIM and general explore of Rudaki Street, the main avenue of Dushanbe. "It's actually easy (!) 3 traffic lights up and turn right- here will be phone shops and a bank" says Shorukh. Problem 1- no signs, no obvious anythings let alone a bank or phone shop. I do find a traffic light and I do turn right. I do stumble sweatily into the foyer of a shiny tall building, kaching, a foreign exchange counter! USD $100 changed into 940 TJS (Tajikistani Somoni). Actually on my travels up or down Rudaki none of the buildings seem to have much signage at all. Walk and walk, stumble upon the Mevlana Yakub Chakri mosque which I duck into the outer courtyard only. Can't find anyone to talk to about entering so proceed on. Walk and walk before crossing and come back down the other side of the road. Stop for an icecream. Arrive at Rohat Teahouse which appears to be closed- built in Soviet era 50 yrs ago it has very detailed ceilings, colourful Eurasian detail, quick wander around. Continue on towards the Sheraton Hotel (I think) as I want to visit Noor
Tried And Tested Broom
These are found the world over- Indonesia, Thailand, Iran... you name it
Art Gallery (get all souvenir shopping out of the way in 1 foul swoop) but end up at Rudaki Park- heavy on monuments (see pics).... it's very hot. Make a beeline for the National Museum- think cool temperature, pay 25 TJS, check bag and have sudden, immediate need to go to the toilet. Get up close and personal with the toilet on the ground floor of the museum as also now feel incredibly nauseaous. Think things may have settled so take a very cursory look at some of the exhibits. Whilst looking at the musical instrument room it all starts again, luckily the toilet is not far and the musical instrument room has a couch- I swear half an hour disappeared in 2 minutes lying on that couch- no one seemed to bat an eyelid. Caught a taxi back to Marions with the help of the museum security guard as I still didn't have a local SIM.
Not a great start although I do have some money. After lying around Marion's pool for 2 hours and convincing myself I am completely well (even the cold has gone) I head off up the street (other direction this time) in search
of a pharmacy for more Panadol and something bland for dinner if I ever get hungry again. Find the pharmacy (getting good at these signs now) and a small supermarket with fizzy water and bread and a tomato. My journey back is via the Children's Park - it is absolutely full of traditionally dressed families, kids, statues, lights, fountains, hot dogs (bleh) and general mayhem. Back at Marian's have a cuppa and ponder what made me sick- the flys at breakfast, the cat at breakfast, the icecream? Eat the bread and tomato and call it a day.
Am I better?
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