Instead of taking the northern route, we have decided to take the southern route. This road was supposed to be nicer and we were avoiding a pass over 3000 meters. What it a good idea. Going south was very hot ! Some days, we had to stop biking from 12h 00 to 18h 30. After lunch, we had to sleep for couple hours and soak our head under the cold water on and off to cool ourself down. I was glad that I have bought those baggy clothes. I believe it feel much colder than having thight clothes. Yes, we had long nap in the restasurent. In Tajikistan and other countries around such as Iran, people are eating on the top of a big table. They look like bed. The food is served on the middle of this and people a sitting around on big pillows. After the meal, you can lay down on the pillow and rest. It would be fantastic if we had those home !!! This southern lanscape had nothing about the Pamir: yellow, hot, dry and desert. Nothing about what I was expecting. I was like: Is I’m realy going to the Pamir ! Will I be cold and see snow one days.
After the little pass after Kulob, It was very impressive to see Afghanistan. I mean, I would have never tought in my life I would have seen this country. The road to Khorong is following the Panj river which a natural border between the two countries. Afghanistan was so close…about 100 to 200 meters away ! You could see very easly the people and the villages. Suprisely, I felt very safe. I have asked the local people if they had trouble with the ….taliban…. and it does not seems the case. I believe they are futher south. Some afghans people wave me along the way, the women were not wearing any burka ( full body cover ), there clothes were colorfull and they seems to be dressing the same way than the tajik women. However, the man seems to wear more traditional costume such as in Pakistan (pyjama). Along the way, I meet 3 nice afghan mans. They were really happy to take a picture with me. I told them, I cannot go to Afghanistan so lets take a picture ! One invite me to visit his village. I told him I did not have any visa ! Then, he said: no, no…you don’t need any visa. If the police comes, we’ll say that you are our guess. It will be fine ! lololol I’ve also question him about cycling in afghanistan: have you ever seen any cyclist ! Then, he told me it was impossible in this area because the road were in so bad condition. I mean, I believe him. Tajikistan looks like a wealthy country if you compare the roads on both side and … tajik roads are often on terrible condition. In Afghanistan, most of the roads that are connecting each villages look like dunky tracks. I had never seen such a remote area. Some tracks along the river were also have been wash out.
The road between Dushanbe and Khorong is not too difficult. However, some parts of the road are completly destroid. I’m going to tell you what, I feel much safer on my bike than on a bus. Those narrow roads, on way, along cliff. We were doing an average of 60 km per day. When the road is rocky and bumpy, its difficult to go faster than 8 km per hour. However, I enjoyed it because the scenery was so different !
It was my birthday on july 31. Nothing special. We have biked from 7h 30 to 21h 00. However, in the morning, the police have noticed it was my birthday when they have controled my passeport at the checkpoint. He said: Happypy !! When I said yes, he has offered me a shot of vodka. Of course, he poured himself a ffull glass of vodka.Then, I shown him my go pro and he told me that it was no problem for me to film it. No problem to film him drinking while he was on duty lolololo. After the shot, he gave me a piece a bread to get rid of the taste. Thank you !! Another memorable birthday day !
The tajikistan are just so incroyable without any exeptions ! I mean, I knew it…but, the unknow, the fear… I think you need to be here to understand it. As the Turkish people, they are very kind.. but, they have a little something that differenciate them. They seem so peaceful , calm, respectful. When they see me on the road, they say salam and touch their heart at the same time (kids too). They are so polite. Everyone would like to invite you at his home. I mean, when I talk about it with other cyclists, everyone are saying the same. They get exhausted of all those nights spend with the family. It is part of their culture. I’m exciting to be on the Pamir with no one around…terrible is in it !
I still love the road. I start to feel the need to be back on my own. I love to be alone on my bike. I feel in harmony with the nature. Its a wonderful feeling to follow 100 % your feeling. However, I miss holiday lololololol Funny hen !!! Like, doing something else and easy or just having a nice night in a nice clean house and eating some very delicious food and cold wine. I mean, those who are on the road, I’m sure understand me lololol !!!
The pamir Highway is suppose to be one of the most remote road on the world. However, today, I don’t feel so much adventurious. At the pamir lodge, there are more than 20 cyclists. I mean, If I have a problem on the road, I can just wait and I’m 100 % sure a cyclist will get ther in the next days… I also think the local people are so use to it. My backpacker friend told me that someone was wandering why he was backpacking and not cycling the Pamir. Is it not crazy !!!
Ho yes…I almost forget that….I meet a wanderful women fews days ago. Those people you meet and make you feel that you are not that adventurious and that you could do much. THis lady was 63 years old and she has begun to bike when she was 48. She always travel solo and she always bikes big pass and mountains. She bikes in Pakistan, in the himalaya, in Alaska….She bike in Tibet and she crossed the first check point by night as I did !!!! She said..If I don’t have the permit and they don’t let me go, I make a big scene, cry…shout…It take ususally an hour and then, they let me go !!! I could ot believe it ! WHat a great source of inspiration ! We talk about my planning and she told me I have to bike the road between Pakistan and Kasgar (china). She told me it was the most beautiful road she has ever done. She told me: you must go there. When you will be there, you will remember this lady you meet in Khorong and you will thank me !! So, my planning is to get to Bishkek (capital of Kirghistan), get my chineese visa, bike this section and then, bike in Sechaun province in China before it get too cold.