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Published: November 19th 2017
TAJIKISTAN with the Tajik Outlaws...Part 4.
I am constantly thanking folk in remote locales for showing me that another life is possible...no matter how remote...how tough...how testing of human endurance...life goes on...usually with a smile.
If life is hard they get hardier...only the tough survive...the young may try city life...but in their world the heroes are those that endure...nature moulding their identities.
And so it is in the High Pamirs of Tajikistan...where summer is four months a year...and winter eight.
I am honoured to be among the people of the High Pamir...sharing their bread...sharing their homes...receiving their hospitality...appreciative for them sharing what little they have...and providing me with a bed.
The Milky Way shimmers above me...altiplano deserts surround me...turquoise lakes enthral me...the hospitality of the people humbles me. Losing the Travel Camel
Camels are decidedly strong willed...may plod along for days on end...but on sight of water...WATCH OUT!!!
And so it is with Shane...always claimed to be a Dromedary (one humped) as seen in Northern Africa and the Middle East where in recent years he has lived.
But now we are in Central Asia...noticing him nuzzling up to Bactrian camels
(two humps)...as if he is one of them.
He's now saying, "I used to like one hump but now only two will do"
...as we climb into the altiplano of the High Pamir.
For a while I thought it was the altitude that was affecting him...but nay...on seeing the stunning landscapes I gaze in dismay.
The photos in this blog will be dangerous to some...may affect one's health...landscapes so jaw droppingly beautiful that I say, "Read and look no further"
...that way you don't have to agree with me.
But I digress. One day we lost the Travel Camel...or maybe he lost us!
We had left the sheer rock walls of cliff roads hugging the angry Panj River following the Afghan border and headed north to the Pamir Highway...through dusty altiplano desert and mountains in oranges and lemons, greens, tans, whites and grey to blue.
When we turned onto the Pamir Highway there was tarmac and semi-trailers.
Virtually immediately we came to a lookout above a painted lake...the striped horizon disappearing into the distance...our 4WDs disappearing down into it.
We stop by a river...a herd of Bactrians on a narrow isthmus...Shane rolling up his
clothes as if he was going to swim to them...mumbling, "They are beautiful"
over and over...that mischievous grin.
Then further on we are racing...Jengish in the silver car with Sherali and the Bulgarians leading as usual but Mr Zee in the green Dancing Car overtaking with glee.
We arrived first on a hillock overlooking a grey blue lake lined with water grasses in iridescent green and horizontal stripes of desert like invisible steps leading to brown zig-zagged mountains beyond.
Jengish pulls up and joins us...then Kudash's red car with Shane, the Germans and Irish seen arriving.
Then like a mirage the red car disappears...conjecture they had continued further up...so climbing to the top of the plateau we go.
Here there were alpine lakes that wrapped around pointed mounts...like mini volcanoes...water shimmering...dusty desert surface...4WDs bouncing.
But the red car was nowhere to be seen.
We were then told that Kudash did not know these lake roads so it was agreed we would stay up high and Jengish would go down looking for them. We would wait 15 minutes and then go down to join them.
But on descending there was no sign of
Kudash's red car...or Jengish's silver car either.
Were we worried?
Concerned for the Camel and Kudash's crew yeh...they not familiar with these dirt tracks...mobiles out of range...no post offices around here.
We assuming Jengish had headed to Alichur...to Sherali's home town where we are to stay overnight.
Mr Zee shrugs...asks us to turn up the music...racing around that massive lake...searching.
Past yurts speckled on the plains...to a village over a small stream...flat white adobe dwellings...a few black plaited burnt skin occupants wandering about.
He chats to one...seen the German's big video camera..."Been here" he cry.
So Kudash, the Camel, the Irish & Germans had been here...relief for us...but this is the other side of the lake from where we'd been.
Shane must have been chasing camels...in between.
We an hour or two behind them..will we get to Alichur before dark? Will we?
But never do we fear when we be with Mr Zee.
He knew a shortcut...didn't he!!!
Turning off on a track passing yellow tan mountains and alkaline lakes...up down and around...exhilarating.vistas...so beautiful...dangerous to our health. The village of Ali Chor
We arrived in Alichur late afternoon...the sun casting long shadows...a dry dusty
village of flat dwellings, a flat domed mosque, yurts scattered about.
The others in their homestay...the red car enquiring, "Where were you?" "We have been looking for you. We are glad you are safe."
No reason to hang around and chat...because we were late...there were no rooms left for us anyway!
Dangerous Dave, MJ, Denise & I ended up in a homestay on the edge of the village...just the four of us...so remote the owners only came to provide our meals.
This time Dave & MJ massive room with rugs on the walls..their turn as we had the wall of rugs at the last homestay...our room large also...generator on at 8 pm so we could charge our cameras...western toilet behind the yurt...the Milky Way exploding with zillions of popping stars...the solar eclipse tonight in all its glory...could have stayed under the stars forever if 'twas not so freezing outside that night.
Denise and I continue to be incredulous that the hospitality is so generous. We expected this trip to be challenging...not on our minds but on our bodies...comfort not expected at all. But yet again we have beds...meals on cushions in our
private dining room...and a western toilet...luxury luxury luxury in our books!
Guess that's what happens when you travel with a Camel...in this case the Travel Camel. He bears the load and we just hop on board and enjoy the ride.
Meet Sherali's wife and children in Alichur...some of the locals...and a pair of yaks too.
I sleep well that night...warm as a bug in a rug...dreaming of Shane chatting to Bactrian camels..."I used to like one hump but now only two will do"...
wondering what a dromedary would say if it heard him say that.
And as usual Dangerous Dave, MJ, Denise and I are in Heaven...High Pamir Heaven this time...during the solar eclipse...no better place in the World to see it...the clearest skies imaginable...what a sight!!!
Relax & Enjoy,
Warning Warning Warning...Don't blame me if the photos make you swoon...surely some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet
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