|Beautiful People - celebrating the President at Central Park|
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.
|The Pamiris seldom say 'No' to a photo op.|
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 un-known rear entrance along the river. Two guards with Kalashnikovs saw him off!! Everyone (or almost) was dressed for the occasion, in suits, ties (which you almost never see in Khorog), Kyrgyz hats, Pamiri Hats, Pamiri traditional dress. For women, red was the colour of the day.
|Red IS the colour|
There is no florist in Khorog; there just isn’t the disposable income to make it a viable business. But on this day, there were fresh flowers everywhere!! Pot plants that must have been nurtured by just about every Khorog resident, lined the walkways and entrances of Central Park. The Tajik flag flew everywhere as well as from the highest mountain peaks (and they are still there). A huge flag and welcome message adorned the mountain-side. Jelte, I and a few stalwarts were busy with meetings while all of Khorog lined the streets to wave their flags and welcome Him to Khorog. And then it was over. The pot plants went back indoors, the flowers were appropriated by those quick enough to claim them and the crowds dispersed. Until the next time...... meanwhile, Jelte and I are off fishing over the weekend at Yeshikul and Burunkul in the Murghab.