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Published: November 24th 2019
Collection time is 0900, awake really early, still have cramps and diarrhea. Do the whole Azithromycin, Buscopan, Gastrostop thing. Feel v apprehensive given how yuck I feel. Having said that, I still get completely packed up- my backpack plus a bag to leave at Marians, in record time. Manage an egg with some bread and jam. Buscopan, my friend... By the time Mohammed, my guide, arrives I am feeling ok- 5/10 ok. Today is going to be light and mostly driving so fingers crossed it'll be ok. But first, a trip to the supermarket. Mohammed is 23 (same age as my youngest son). The driver, Joomart, probably 30's. The jeep, green and sturdy, not sure. Saidali (owner of travel company) calls- there has been a change of plan, Mohammed will be my guide for the whole trip...
Flashback to earlier blog post- The Plan- "couple of concerns that I had before I signed up. Mostly I was worried that if it was just me and the guide for over 3 weeks it might be too intense. Saidali, the owner at Pamir Guides, was really open with communication and was able to accommodate my concerns and my
dates without any issue- absolutely flexible
, I'd have 1 guide for the first section then switch to another for the rest". Deal sealed.
OK... Saidali tells me to pay Mohammed USD $1000 now and I can pay the rest later, OK.... I dole out 10 USD $100 notes in the supermarket carpark.
Saidali is currently in Kyrgyzstan but will check in regularly via one of Mohammeds 2 or 3 mobiles and might meet me at some point on the journey. OK.... The supermarket is big and modern and airconditioned and full of lots of unrecognisable packages of food. Massive quantity of biscuits and lollies. I do enjoy a supermarket. Anyway, we spend nearly 2 hours (!!!!!!!) buying a seriously massive amount of supplies 95000 som ($95) worth! This is what 95000 som will get you:
• cabbages 2
• onions 2kg
• garlic 20 bulbs (!)
• potatoes 4kg
• apples 4kg
• oranges 4kg
• figs (that never made it past day 1 - they never had a chance!)
• tea bags 100
• tuna 6 tins
• noodles (2kg)
• chocolate 2 bars (that'll never be enough)
• packets of various varieties of cheese 8(!!!!)
• bread 6
• crackers (lots)
• dishwashing liquid 600ml
• wipes 200
• water 80 L
• reusable plastic plates, bowls and cups 3 of each
• plastic utensils
• big sharp knife
• chewing gum 2 packets
We fill 2 large trolleys. Not sure Mohammed has done the shopping before, he confers with Joomart a lot. Eventually we are back in the car and on the road. Stop after 2 hrs of driving on good roads and through tunnels. Restaurant! Lunch time. Go in, smell of fresh meat hits my nostrils , make a dash for the loo up the back and manage to find a tree to have a quiet vomit behind. Meet the females whose garden it is that I am vomiting in who invite me in for a cup of tea. They are very friendly, very kind, send me off with apples from the garden. Rejoin Mohammed and Joomart (breathing through my mouth) and have some dry bread and more tea. The afternoon is spent driving on more good roads, through tunnels- Anzob Tunnel is at 2720m and at 5km long is the most famous of the tunnels (aka death tunnel due to length of tunnel, lack of lighting and build up of carbon monoxide- although these problems
Bee Keepers Kettle
Just near the Anzob Tunnel was a lay by and just near that the bee man had set up shop
have been rectified now), narrow roads, and finally dirt roads through increasingly dusty mountainous countryside. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzob_Tunnel
Arrive in Zimtut Village and are met by a bunch of curious kids, Shafar (Homestay host and trekking guide/donkey man) his wife, 3 daughters and 1 son. Their house is almost at the top of the village. Shafar is a school teacher but earns extra money through the trekking season doing this. The family very graciously show me around and immediately we have tea, not just tea, but dried apricots, bread, cherry jam, grapes, biscuits, nuts and a never ending pot of tea. Green tea is the leaf of choice but black tea is served as well. Sitting cross legged and lounging on cushions there is much discussion between the men. Sharaf's wife is mainly behind the scenes- in the kitchen. I go for a walk to get a bit of the great outdoors. We're at 1910m altitude and there is snow on the highest peaks. It's quite beautiful with apricot and apple trees and a panoramic view of the village.
On return to the house I'm pretty much ready to hit the sack but I suspect there is dinner to
be had and we have to sort out the supplies for our 3 day trek- we have WAY too many supplies! And, yes, dinner- a massive plate of plov (or osh) is served. It's a staple of the region- onions, rice, carrots, chickpeas, garlic and a lot of oil, sometimes meat is added too. There's also a large plate of tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil. I do my best, despite no appetite I am loathed to waste food and they have very generously prepared it for me.
Finally get to be, so nice to lie flat. It's a beautiful room with glass all round, I fall asleep to the sounds of the family talking.
Sleep very well.
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