Firstly let me tell you about some really tragic news. Clive met up with me in Khorog and told me he may have to go back to the UK soon as his father (diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks ago) was deteriorating and he needed to get back asap. He left this morning (Thursday 31st October) for Bishkek and a flight home.
Although we had found riding together difficult, we had become firm friends in the times when we met up and I will miss him. I remember when I caught up with him on the Pamir Highway the first thing I saw when I got close enough was his huge smile – it can cheer even the weariest of souls. I’m sad for him that he’s had to leave at this point, because I know completing the Pamir was just as much a dream for him as it is for me. We’ll keep in touch and I hope it isn’t too long before he resumes his travels, but I’m also mindful that his family and father need his full attention now. Good luck my friend and I sincerely hope we meet again.
When I took my lift to Khorog, I had no idea how much help I would receive from Stefan and Tanya, although being taken to a restaurant for a meal before being dropped at the hostel should have given me a clue. I was offered use of their office WIFI and took them up on it the next morning, when I also got a better insight into just what they are doing in Tajikistan. Stefan is from Germany and has been working here since 2003 and met Tanya (who is Italian) two years ago when they worked together on a project. There meeting has a nice story to it, as two cycling friends who had met Stefan contacted Tanya (who was then living in Montana, USA) and told her they had found her a husband. She had never met Stefan, but had exchanged emails with him during collaborating on a project. When they did meet it was obvious they were compatible and a relationship developed.
They now both work for an organisation called Panthera, Tanya being the Snow Leopard Program Coordinator here in Tajikistan. I intend to do a full featured article on their work in the coming months (after I do my research) as a thank you for their kindness, but you can learn more about their work at: http://www.panthera.org or visit the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pantheracats
I was so tired after the first part of the Pamir Highway that I decided to take an extended break in Khorog. This first section had been the longest I had gone without a proper rest and I was exhausted on all levels. It was also a good opportunity to sort out a few issues, not least of all the annoying breakages associated with my rear pannier racks (I’ve gone through more than a dozen bolts and zip ties). I’m happy to say with the finding & purchase of industrial strength zip ties the problem is now (hopefully) finally sorted.
Wandering around both myself and Clive managed to find all our provisions in the local market and bazaar while enjoying the local cuisine made on the spot:
We also met up with a photographer and features editor doing a piece on the local area, both from Turkey. Their website(s) seem to be under construction, but I’ll try to establish contact later. I’ve not done much other exploring of Khorog, preferring to just relax and recoup my strength for the next part of the Pamirs which I will begin in the morning.
I’ve no idea when I will next get internet access, it may be in Murghab which is probably two to three weeks away. If I manage to log on sooner I’ll post a quick update. More soon…