We're taking time off
from running our business
in order to share our skills
and discover worlds and cultures
little known to us.
Share our adventures as we discover
fascinating, new insights and experiences.
Now that we've discovered Paradise, the open road beckons again. So, in search of adventure, we are exchanging the perfect Southern California weather and Pacific Ocean views for urban life in UlaanBataar, Mongolia. Yes, you read right; Mongolia also known as Big Sky Country.You know, Genghis Khan, the Silk Road and the Gobi Desert. This blog will record our departure plans through a year of working for CUSO-VSO in Central Asia. UB (did you know this means "Red Hero"?) here we come.
The views expressed in this weblog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of VSO.
It's Friday afternoon, 4:30 pm and a colleague mentions, by-the-way, that Monday is a holiday as Constitution day falls on Saturday, 6th November. A long week-end with places to go and things to see!! To hell with a two week pile of unwashed clothes! Here in Khorog, every Saturday morning there is a cross-border market, which is the closest we can get to actually visiting Afghanistan. At 10 am Jelte, Rod and I hail a 'cab' and for the price of just one Somoni each (the equivalent of 30c or 20p) we share a 'golf cart' - commonly known as a Chinese van - with 4 other passengers to take us to the site of the cross-border market. When we arrive, things are just beginning to come alive. We wander around the few stalls of fruits and clothes and odds and ends. Jelte and Rod sit down to breakfast of 'choi' and bread with Halva. Christine is too busy watching one of the stall owners cook 'pilav' on an open fire. Within half an hour the mark…
For the past few months, Khorog residents have been busy repaving roads, completing unfinished buildings, walls, park boundaries. We’ve never seen such frantic activity, nor Khorog looking so ... spruced. President Rahmon is on his rounds... he’s visited Penjikent, ........ and now it’s the turn of the capital of the Pamirs. The response to this ‘State Visit’ is mixed. Some people shrug their shoulders in resignation, others plan what they are going to wear and how they can finagle a ‘ring side seat’ for this parade. And us? We’re going fishing. Well, we might wait until the weekend, when all the fuss is over. On his visit, the President opened the new Lycee, a gymnasium, amongst other notable activities. The speechifying took place in Central Park, and of course, no-one but invited guests were able to get anywhere near the area. The PECTA office, located in the Park, just yards from the centre of activity, was closed for the day. No access. Jelte did try to get in via an…
Finally, I suppose it's time to talk about the weather here. Since arriving in Khorog, we have had just one day of rain... every other day has been filled with startling blue skies and sunshine. But, as the days draw shorter, the sun struggles to show its face over the mountain-tops. Which means that most of the valley sits in the shade until 10am. So, progressively, the edges of the river have started freezing and our daily walk across the wooden suspension bridge is a little more slippery. As Jelte mentioned, two weeks ago we took a trip to Roshan, Darwaz and the Gisev valley. It was pretty cool. This last week, we took a trip to Ishkashim; it was COLD. Both of us are eternally grateful to my sister Paula for guiding us through the necessities of cold weather gear. I know that our thin California blood would not have made it thus far without our thermals and countless other layers. The only items that we have still to get good use out of are our balaclavas and we hope they will …