Plus Central Asia Onward travel blog

Stop at Village Where Music/Dancing Taking Place-See Sept 25 Entry #3562 8/19

Villagers Wanting Pictures Taken Where We Saw Them Dancing























Visit Kryss'Photos of Tajikistan

Yesterday in the afternoon we were able to contact Dania, the owner of Osh Guesthouse where we stayed, and he was able to put together a vehicle & driver to get us to Murgab. Sharshem, the driver, was very good...he had w/ him his niece, Fatima, who rode w/ us...she was a very good passenger and bravely fought off motion/altitude sickness as long as she could. A good trooper, always smiling, never complained once.

Leaving Osh the picture in my mind is a group of 4-5 Tajik standing by the roadside facing oncoming traffic waiting for a taxi/bus ride...then not more than 100' beyond them a donkey standing in the same pose looking for all the world as if he too was waiting for a ride as well!!!

Passing thru Gulcha & valley w/ sharp peaks on one side and rounded foothills on the other following a fine rushing river, we pass a froup of 6 bicycle tourists w/ bags & all along the road - now they are gutsy, experiencing the Pamir that way will test anyone to the fullest! We head up Taldyk Pass, driver stops to fill radiator w/ water & load up w/ extra water (3615 m. high)...heading for Sary Tash, last Kyrg town before the border Kyzyl-Art Pass (4282 m.).

The river bottom has junipers & willows alongside but the eroded side canyons & hillsides leading up to jagged, snow capped peaks are quite barren other than slight cover of some kind of bunch/low grass. Quite majestic and ost definitely remote - we see few other vehicles and sparse population/family compounds.

Stopped at a village just before climb & Bon & Mari were swamped by people wanting pics taken. There was music playing & women dancing...Mari asked if there was some kind of celebration and they said no, just decided to have some fun!!! (And a little vodka, ha!)

(Bon made copies of photos in Osh Sept 24/5 and we stopped on way back thru to give them copies.)

Valley narrows and yurts along the creek where women washing clothing/bedding & laying it out on green grass to dry - great contrast, mosaic of colors. At top of pass we confirm that the alpine sumer pasture is actual grass where cattle, sheep, donkeys, horses graze. Passed a semi loaded w/ bales of cotton(driver said it was from China) toppled over on its side right at the turn of a switchback going uphill dumping it...quite recent since only 3 trucks were blocked/stopped on downhill side. Beautiful Stary Tash Mtns - snowy jagged peaks against deep blue sky! It's now 1:45 and we've come 184 km. from Osh by the sign here in Sary Tash. Wide wide valley w/ tiny creek & huge river wash coming out of mtns. just before border - yaks grazing along w/ horses.cattle. Driver takes our passports to immig border control - 1st time we haven't been personally involved in a long time(now 2:30).

Now heading up towards Karakul crossing over the Pamirs themselves. Our driver has had to stop at least 6 times to put in water and cool the engine down along the way. We reach Kyzyl-Art Pass (4282 m.) and the closest we come to the Chinese border - we see it clearly just over a 'fence' off the road, still 100 + km from Murgab at 3:45. We reach the border to Tajikistan at 4 where we see 10 Italian motorcyclists waiting to cross...we cross at 4:45 and enter a wide valley with a wide, grey/black mud/gravel wash(from snowmelt?). The road is better, not nearly as many potholes as in Kyrg. Go see beautiful Lake Kara Kol(off the road a bit)...arrive in town 5:45 had dinner and left 6:45...7:45 began climb to last pass Al_Baital(4655 m.), sun is setting and snowcapped peaks are brilliant pink/peach...7:52.

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