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Showing posts from 2011

We'd rather go Fishing........

With rods poking at our backs (there are now 6 of us, we just picked up another vague relative along the road) and surrounded by fumes of diesel and dead fish we are squeezed in the back of an old Russian Jeep, no suspension to speak of, thundering over the potholed roads of the Pamirs as if there is no tomorrow. We have to be home before sundown. Don’t know what’s worse, the fumes or the pain in our butts but an experience it certainly is. So, here we are,now in to our last month in Tajikistan; delighted to report that we made it back to the region of the Murghab, with its incredibly barren vistas, yaks, yurts and lakes.We were invited by a local Pamiri who is keen to develop a tourism product for the international traveller..... Murghab trout fishing.We were picked up on Saturday, mid-morning by Shamir (the young nephew), AliJon (the elder nephew and coincidentally, our landlord) and 'Maki' (mr moneybags), 'uncle' in Shugni.They had decided the previous week that the …

A Presidential visit

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…

A Day in The Life

Wake up, get out of bed, throw a comb around your head…… In the summers, the days start very early here; it’s light at 4.00 am and that means timely awakenings. After some rumbling around, first point of action is to turn on the boiler in the bathroom, that we turn off when we go to bed. We have found, that it’s better to turn these things off when you can to prevent fires or implosions of the boiler kettle. Then it’s on to the little kitchen, where (most of the times) Jelte prepares the coffee. The Alessi perculator is well travelled (New York, Rome, Milan, Pacific Palisades, San Pedro, Khorog Tajikistan) and still works its miracles; thanks to our many contributors, we get back to life with some, we think, well deserved real caffeine shots. Breakfast is usually a little dose of sweetened yoghurt, (for Jelte,) left-over plain rice with sugar, or some stale bread with cheese. When there is time, Christine makes some omelettes with whatever vegetables are available in the season. Early …

dreaming of... home sweet home.......

It's 'countdown'time.Less than two months to go and still, we continue to gather knowledge, friends and experiences that will last us a lifetime.The summer tourist season is in full swing and new faces appear daily in the PECTA office, and for those particularly enquiring ones, in the MSDSP office too.They have interesting experiences to share; all of them.This is, after all, an adventure travel destination and without exception, there is an expectation - and guaranteed delivery - of a regular adrenaline rush.
Sadly, 'back home' in California, our old friend and feline companion Clarence, has gone to join his buddies in cat heaven.We had to make an unexpected trip back to Los Angeles in June so we had the opportunity to visit him in his ' happy retirement home' with our friend Haley.


 Two weeks later, his kidneys packed up on him, so 18 years after barging in to Jelte's life (I had yet to enter 'stage right' many years later), he bowed out in his …

The road less traveled

It’s become pretty commonplace for us to be sent on excursions and gatherings to Dushanbe, the administrative center of the country. All government agencies and NGOs are based in the capital of Tajikistan and almost all significant meetings (and do they meet!) are conducted here. Dushanbe means Monday,  named after the day the weekly market was organized. Before the Soviets turned the city into an administrative centre, Dushanbe was a quiet provincial town with little or no appeal. The Russians added big government buildings, boulevards, public transport and hospitals. When Tajikistan gained its official Independence (September 1991), more government buildings, some palaces and a lot of statues of well known old Tajik statesmen were added. So, there you have it, Dushanbe. We like the place; it’s quirky and still has a definite small-town feel to it, in spite of its one million inhabitants; we now know the better restaurants (after the Ashoka, our Indian favorite, we have discovered goo…

Spring and summer in Tajikistan

It’s been over a month since we were last in touch……No thanks to our Russian internet service providers on which we are so dependent.But life trundles on here, albeit at a pace that makes us wonder what we will look like when we emerge in October from our Tajik chrysalis into the real world of stress and bits and bytes and innumerable options on the type of coffee we would like to order.In Khorog, the choice of coffee is simple; instant – with or without sugar or milk.That’s it!No decisions over the fat content of the milk, no choice of sweetener and heaven forbid that you can decide on the roast of the bean, its origin or the depth of the froth on the drink.So, THANK YOU to our friends for maintaining our Western stress levels.We happily raise our coffee cups to you every morning when we brew our choice of ‘Seattle’s Best, Douwe Egbers, Lavazza, Illy, Peet’s (still on its way we hear but we look forward to it; thanks Bill and Sherry)  … to name a few.


April was an interesting mont…