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Published: July 25th 2016
July 21 - Pamir Highway trip Day 10 - Bulunkul to Murgab
I wanted to get up to pee in the night at 3:30am, but heard dogs barking and decided not to. I got up at 4:50am instead, and took the long walk. It was cold, but not too bad. It was light out, but the sun wasn't over the horizon. And the full moon was just setting over the mountains. It was beautiful. I grabbed my camera when I went back and tried for a picture, but it didn't work as well with the lighting as I'd hoped. Lack of skill. I didn't sleep that well overall, I think it's due to the altitude. We slept at about 3737m.
I'm beginning to see and feel the evidence of bed bug bites from previous homestays. That explains the crawling sensations I've felt in other places. So itchy. Hate it.
I got up again at 8:00am and walked over to the toilet again. So far away. I had thought it was just for tourists, since it was locked when we first arrived, but I could tell someone was in there, so I waited. She came out and I went
in. My question is this - if you are pooing over a hole and you miss, would you just leave it there or would you push it in the hole? Someone certainly had no qualms about leaving a sizable nugget right on the edge of the hole. So I used the other hole.
We had a nice rice porridge for breakfast and took the bread along for lunch later. I really like the lady who runs this homestay. She's really nice.
We left around 9:30am, and drove to Lake Bulun-kul to take some pictures. Then we drove along Lake Yashil-kul, which is about 25 km long. We had to take the same road back to Bulunkul, and from there we started towards our destination tonight, Murgab. It's a town that exists in the middle of nowhere, mostly for tourism, from what I understand.
The drive was quite scenic and we finally started on the actual Pamir Highway, M41, today. It is paved, but in the words of our driver "Asphalt not good". Not good indeed. It was much worse that driving on the unpaved road. We took turns with it.
Along the way we had a
couple of passport checks. We passed one other town, Alichur, and they had several yurts where you can sleep and where the herders live in the summer. Murgab is much larger than I thought it would be, but it is still rather unattractive and sporatic. We checked a couple of homestays and settled on one that had a nice sitting area. The bathroom was much like last night - two holes in the ground next to each other, BUT there was toilet paper and a lock on the door. So that was good. There was no actual shower, but they had a setup with warm water to wash ourselves with. And that room was warm, almost like a sauna. Quite a nice surprise, actually. That is a step up from last night, where there was no water at all. There was also a generator here, and several outlets, so we were all able to charge batteries in the evening. It's been a couple days since I've charged my camera battery, and I feel better knowing I'll still be able to take pictures for the rest of the trip.
Hard to believe it's been ten days already - it's going
by really quickly. Being so high in elevation, with such a dry climate, is also making my skin super dry. With this weather and sun, I now have a full appreciation of why everyone looks so old so quickly here. The skin wrinkles in no time. I am a mess.
Just when dinner was being served, a young Australian guy showed up. He is cycling the Pamir Highway in the opposite direction to us. He seemed remarkably unprepared. He bought his bike in Osh, the endpoint of our car trip, and he didn't have any bike bags, so he just somehow straps his backpack to the bike with string. He's been sleeping in yurts along the way, sometimes with families that have 10-15 children, all wrapped up together in one tiny yurt. Cool cultural experience, but it would be good if he started to use some sunscreen and his helmet. At least the traffic on the road is extremely limited, so he in unlikely to be involved in any type of accident.
Dinner was - you guess it - fried potatoes and salad. After dinner we chatted for a while but bedtime was the standard 10pm. It was
harder to fall asleep though, because the time zone shifted forward one hour when we arrived in Murgab.
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