A Foolish Hitchhiker
To the mountains please, and don't spare the gas or schnapps!
So I have ventured South for a brief forray into the Persian sphere of influence and of course have been met with unfathomable hospitality, all the mulberries I can eat and a sense of comple incomprehension as to what I am doing there!
When travelling to Tajikistan down the remote Pamir Highway it is suggested by locals not to hitch as trucks do not come every day, maybe you may spend weeks waiting.
Of course if you do then it is less advisable to walk out of Sary Tash, the last settlement of notable size and whilst waiting for a truck walk up to the military listening station/artillary depot (think Memwith Hill) and ask for some tea and jam sandwiches.
If the guard walks off to find out, then do not run off at full pace towards the speeding car that could be heading your way and give you a lift, only to escort you into the base that you ran away from for the previously requested tea. It gives an odd sense of hospitality under arrest feeling.
I would advise that wearing plimpsoles (gym shoes) if one gets oneself into such a predicament a
The Pamir - Alichur
60% unemployment except of course for the guy who puts up telegraph poles, he is in fine feckle, with seemingly more poles than houses to put up.
bad idea as the ground is waterlogged in late April, either that or is deep snow.
On leaving the base, if one was to spy a truck, in this instance one would be strongly advised to run, do NOT watch it presuming there will be another.
Under no circumstances, after having seen the final truck of the day, would it be in your best interested then to decide, at 4pm, to walk for 30km up into the mountains to the village of Bor Dobo. Firstly the steep ascent may be 100-200m towards an icy pass that will lead to a risk of altitude sickness, secondly because(assuming you don't have a torch) you will arrive in the pitch black. Thirdly and probably most importantly Bor Dobo does not exist.
But if one does find oneself in such a position and by chance the truck that passed breaks down it is probably medically ill advised to partake in 4 or 5, 50ml shots of schnapps to avoid your female companion having to do so and to avoid seeming unmanly.(you will no doubt seem quite so when you stagger across the border, arms flailing at 3500m with an awful headache)
Harford-Cross's of the World Unite - HO!
Tim answers a far off call from his father, that his shoulder is feeling much better.
Do not of course get into a truck where the driver has had double the amount of schnapps you have had and at each border stops has more(of which there is four). It is unwise to allow his 15 year old son to drive along the precipiced edged, pot holed Pamir Highway during the dark of the night without a moon.
If one does happen to by chance find there way to the end of all this bad advise one will wake with a sorish head and no appetite in Kara Kul, a large salt lake but still freezes due to the altitude.
Once at such high altitudes it is important to take full account of the risks of altitude sickness. Strenous activity is advised against. It would for instance be classed as unneccessary walk a 40km round trip to a bunch of burial mounds. Drinking plenty of fluids and keeping hydrated is essential; A 30 minute sauna is consided unwise and the cold winds after are likely to give you pneumonia.
But if avoiding all these pitfalls one may look out with a clear head and see as Marco Polo so aptly describes...
plain is called Pamier, and you ride across it for twelve days together, finding nothing but desert without habitations or green things so that travellers are obliged to carry with them whatever it is they have need of.
The region is so lofty and cold that you cannot even see birds flying. And I must notice also that because of this great cold, fire does not burn so bright, not give out so much heat as usual'
On other exiting name news...
I was delighted to visit 'Vrang' - the name of the alien in the simpson's, right? This also next to a place called Zong. The place is a different planet compared with europe.
And I'd like to put out a Giggity for Khorog.
If one ventures up the Bartang Valley one may also glimpse upon the elusive Pik Pathar.
Unfortunately I did not dare visit the ruins of Kok-Jar, presumably so many men had similar views to me that the fear led to its abandonment.
Enough Chit Chat though, enjoy the photos and i'll blog you up again soon.
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Tim this is a good read, and nice photo's. Just read a book on that area" Through a land of Extremes" It's very good. Have a good trip.................
Thanks for the spider...
Also, I will either do all of the above mentioned "not to do's" or none of the above, depending on my mood... Perhaps I am in need of some bureaucratic hassle when I get to the Pamirs, who knows?
just remembered that facebook is banned in China...so email me so I can arrange stuff! Susan's back in Shanghai if you want to drop by and say hello =) hope alls well!