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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 38.5654, 68.7758
0615Up and pottering:
The bright morning sun rose at about 0445 and is already "opening and enlivening" the day by casting it's golden hue across the lush green cityscape and surrounding foothills . From our "perch' on the 6th Floor I can see some quite well appointed apartment blocks interspersed with neo classical style Russian buildings from the "Colonia era" which ended som 23 years ago on the collapse of The Soviet Union. Formerly called Starlinagrad this is a laid back City and is only 75km from the Afghan border and within a day or two's drive from Pakistan, Uzbekestan and China.
The Group: There are 8 of us: 5 women and 3 men......all experienced Travellers..........and naturally treading carefully with each other at this early stage........well not so carefully to be frank.....last night we headed off for an Iranian meal two doors down........it was a great place bedecked with silk cushions, chandeliers and a "live music and dance show". All good stuff and great cultural dancers interspersed with amazing scantily clad belly dancers who didn't leave much to the imagination. No wonder the place was "stuffed" with local business men in shiny brown shirts and pointy grey shoes swigging
beer in what seems worringly to be a rather "DRY" Country. All went well until the bill arrived and suddendly one of our party started to "apportion" the bill.........."poker faced" at the best of times she quickly morphed into a frog faced pug dog chewing a lemon.
"Nooooh I'mmm nutt appy"......."Ey ounly ad the vegetarian "..........for crying out loud the whole bill including beers, kebabs, chips and rice for 5 + the lap dancing show only came to $9 per head! Interestingly enough she "tapped" us up today for $40 USD at the bureau de change as she had forgotten to bring her money.........h'mmmmmmmm.
Other group members include a charming German chap from "Bavaria".....living somewhere SE of Munich and not from from Saltzburg..........he was fine until we hit the WW2 Soviet War exhibition in a local museum.......then our local guide mentioned the "Arian" word.... and he suddendly developed a hard determined "let's invade" look..........
We also have the pleasure of the company of Portugeuse lady who seems a little "self-focused"...... After a great lunch she insisted that our tour leader took her and by default "us" in search of an expresso coffee en route to the museum. After about 10 mins of
searching she suddenly without word......... piles out of the jeep and returns 5 minutes later all "coffied up".......climbs back in the front seat without a word. We have all been sitting like prunes waiting............what was that all about?!RECAP
Today (Sunday) was officially the first day of the trip and we have been to a Fort, the World's fourth largest "Melon" shaped structure which was rather like a large Zepplin Hanger (in honour of local melon production) and a museum full of excellent diorama of Tajikistan.....so much so our guide said "Tajikistan" over 55 times in his 'blurb" to us........... Dushanbe is hot and I mean really hot....39C in the shade.......This is just the beginning as tomorrow we set off at 0730hrs on an 8 hour drive East into the mountains to Kalaikhum where we are staying in a "Guest House" with "Shared" facilities......
TIME CHECK: 0520: Monday 11th. Up early and "packed". Coffee on the go.........we seem to have survived the plate of "DEATH PICKLES" from last night's meal at the "IRISH PUB" round the corner. I fancied a few pickles (as one does) with my plate of Bavarian Sausuages. One was shaped like a UFO and had a distinctly "fizzy" taste.....
have arranged our clothes for the overnight stay (in a Guesthouse) in our "small packs" whilst the "supplies" and long term "clobber" will remain in our main back packs......torches and iron rations have been issued........Hilary the Altimeter is on standby and the Scotch is in easy reach.
Today marks the end of Hotels for several days......we are off.....Internet will be patchy if non existent so bear with us!
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