Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Сycling near Murgab

Inspired by all the cyclists we had met pedalling the Pamir Highway on some epic overland trip, we decided to hire bikes for the day and head out ourselves. Instead of the Pamir Highway we took a side road which followed the Aksu river. This river heads east towards China before doubling back on itself to enter the far eastern border of Afghanistan.

Taking a break by the Aksu River

Although this road provides the only link between Tajikistan and China we saw just 3 vehicles during the day, one of which had broken down. We stopped at some tiny villages to have a look around before carrying on along the desolate road. Although it was cloudy the sun was strong at this altitude (3500 m), and James paid the price for not applying enough suncream, getting very badly burnt.

James at the village of Konye Kurgan

Me by the tombs at Konye Kurgan

We'd not planned the trip that well and hadn't taken any lunch with us so we were relieved to see a Stolvaya on our return. After some confusion we were invited into the house. We ordered some food not really knowing what would appear and were given the standard Kygryz meal of yogurt, bread and jam. The children crowded around the door to watch us. When it came to paying there was much whispering and the children were sent in to tell us the price. We initially thought we had misheard as it was an extortionate amount but the children insisted that it was correct. We asked to speak to their parents and although the mother did eventually appear, the father remained in the other room from which he cowardly gave instructions to his wife and children. We bargained them down but it was an unfortunate incident.

Luckily when we got back to Murgab our faith was restored as when we returned the bikes the family invited us in for tea but presented us with a full meal of plov, bread and sweets. Of course, we weren't hungry at all having just had a very late lunch, but James did his best not to offend.

 Heading back to Murgab

No comments:

Post a Comment