Our start to the Pamir Highway began by meeting our driver or drivers, Taalay and his brother,. They had driven for 7 hours from Osh, Krygyzstan to Dushanbe, taking turns driving. They arrived at our hostel at 01:00 and slept in the eating area. That’s dedication!
After saying goodbye to our adopted Tajik family at Hostel Latifa, we were off in our temporary wheels, a Toyota Land Cruiser with Kyrgyz plates. After running around to change some of the USD we gave them to TJS and a stop at the gas station, then we were really off!
First stop was Nurek Reservoir, a man-made lake that was pretty if you look at it from afar. Up close, it’s hard to avoid all the trash.
Taalay got us Tajik rhubarb that was sprinkled with rock sugar. We ate it raw after getting rid of the outer skin. Extremely tart but after a while, somewhat enjoyable.
We stopped off at Fort Hulbek, a rebuilt fort, but Robb and I decided to forgo it because of the 10TJS ($1.19) admission.
After lunch, we continued on and met the Panj River, the natural border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It was crazy that we could actually see Afghanistan!
We got to our first checkpoint right before the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous province (GBAO). While we waiting, a Tajik soldier came to us. “Netherlands?” as he pointed at Robb. “America?” as he looked at me. We both nodded. Then he gave us a massive non (Tajik bread), folded into pieces, and a bag of candy.
We arrived at Kakikhumb (калаихум), our stopping point of the day by 18:00. Our guesthouse, Jurev Roma, was literally by the river. Two twin beds cost us 120TJS ($14.14), no meals.
A 9 year old boy named Ismael greeted us and asked about our machina (car). He’s got the spirit of an old man but trapped in a young boy’s body.
A tour around Kakikhumb lasted 20 minutes, ending at a World War II monument that overlooked the Afghan side of the Panj.
We called it a night at 20:00.
- Number of kilometers driven: 285
- Number of checkpoints: 2
- Number of bribes: 2