I left Samarkhand really early and through the winding roads of southern Uzbekistan, I reached Buyson by lunch, A small little town amidst the mountains. The landscape was green and the mountains at the background made such a surreal sight. I was hosted by this Abdul Hofiz, a 58 year old guy running a guesthouse. The guest house had an amazing courtyard and it was huge. I settled down and had a good conversation with sign language with him. Couple of his friends joined later and played some videos of Bollywood songs and quizzed me about Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, It was hilarious. Abdul cooked some amazing traditional Laghman for the night and I was planning on leaving really early for my first border crossing.
I had some coffee and left Abdul’s Guesthouse before daybreak and I just couldn’t go past 40Kmph. It was not because had any issues, but The road and the landscapes were so beautiful, that I didn’t want to rush towards the border nor did I wanted to stop and take pictures but just to ride it slow and soak it all in. I was really selfish and what I saw at this stretch till the border crossing was something I hadn’t experienced before, I was speechless. With a stupid ear to ear smile under my helmet, I reached the border by 10 AM, Both Uzbek and Tajik crossings were really peaceful, I got it done within 90 mins. I played my ‘INDIAN’ card and it worked like a charm 🙂
Uzbek Crossing – They’re really fascinated and surprised to see an Indian at this part of the world. The first thing they say when I ell them I’m from India is “SHAH RUKH KHAN” Haha. It’s really annoying but it’s helping me get past checkposts and border control with ease.
Tajik Crossing – Screenshot of Danny Denzongappa – Not to be racist here, But I took a screenshot of him on my phone. At the border control I just showed it to the chief officer and told him that he looked like exactly and got done with the whole process in quick 30 mins. It worked! 🙂 He also collected coins from different countries, luckily I was carrying 50Ps coins and he was the happiest. I then made my way into Dushanbe – Green House hotel, which has been my home for 3 days now.
- Two German lads – A doctor and an engineer – On road from past 3 months
- Andre – Who has been cycling from Tokyo
- Neil and his wife, who just reached th hostel from Pamir on a LC.
- A French Cyclist who was stuck at the ‘No mans land’ between the Kyrgyz-Tajik border and somehow mde it to Dushanbe.
- A Czech guy who’s been Paragliding across the world.
- Jose’ who has travelled across 191 countries part of the Overland truck.
and the list just goes on and on..
These are the kind of people I’m meeting here at the hostel in Dushanbe, I won’t say anything further as I’m just speechless sharing and hearing their stories. It’s really really humbling and inspiring. I started from Dushanbe through some scenic routes and the plan was to stay over at Qula – I – Khum, The roads were really beautiful, I had to cross two tunnels, a 4.5 Km and another one of nearly 2 Kms in length. The winding roads after Kulob were beautiful, It was a dirt track for a good 30kms getting down the first small pass and that’s when a huge valley opens up with the first view of Afghanistan. It’s simply a spectacular view! I just parked the Motorcycle and was staring at the huge valley for a good 20 mins. This road till Quala – I – Khum had good tarmac, empty and I had some good fun on the mostorcycle with the fast corners and absolutely loved the ride. I reached the homestay, freshened up and went to meet the two French cyclists whom I met on the way. These lads were cycling till Khorog and hiking from Khorog over Barthang and on horses crossing the border. I had a good chat with these guys over dinner. I called it a night and wanted to start around 8 in the morning. Next stop, 250 km and around 8 hours down the road from Kalaikhum was Khorog. I got a fuel top up before I left Quala – I – Khom. Again, plesantly surprised that I needed less than 8 litres to top me up for the past 250 km. By Khorog I had now climbed to 2100 metres. I had followed the Panj river all the way from close to 600 metres. The white water had continued to about 75 km before Khorog. The last 75 km was characterised by a much calmer Panj, and a wider river valley. There were a few slower sections, including some cool overhangs above the road, but in general, the road was good for 70-80 km/h on a motorcycle the whole way, Pretty much standing and riding the whole way with momentary checks on the spokes and suspensions. I met Yura from Ukraine, who was on his new GS 1200 R, who had met this Polish cyclist who had cycled 9000kms till here, Now that’s something! Then me and Yura took off reached Khorog in like 2 hrs, It was really hard for me as he was tailing me, but in no time we reach Khorog with one checkpost and 2 pitstops. Yura has a rice Import/export business in Kiev, Ukraine from India. He keeps making Business trips to India. We had a great dinner at an Indian restaurant chain ‘Delhi Darbar’ at Khorog. It was amazing!
I’ll be entering Wakhan and Yura will take the Northern route to Murghab. I’ve got some information on some Pamiri musicians residing on the southern route. I hope to capture some stuff over next few days. The terrain will be challenging and hope the weather god’s show some grace!