We woke up in Murghab well-rested and headache-free! Since we had our easiest and shortest drive of the trip, we decided to let the drivers spend more time with their sister and the family as we wandered around the town.
Murghab’s population hovers around 3,000 people with 75% of the people calling themselves Kyrgyz. We definitely saw a change in facial features as well and the number of Kyrgyz hats called kalpaks.
Murghab felt like a step back in time in an old Western movie. The sky was piercing blue with white fluffy clouds quickly strolling by. Abandoned vehicles were plenty and heavily rusted. Remnants of the Soviets remained with Lenin still standing in the town center.
We did manage to find samsas fresh out of the oven and couldn’t help but have some. There’s only so much instant noodles a person can have in a week.
We wandered to the bazaar in Murghab. The locals made us of abandoned truck containers and turned them into makeshift stores. Quite creative use of what you’ve got!
As we drove, civilization disappeared again. Along the way, we saw a couple of cars parked off the road. Locals were gathering bag-fulls of dried grass that was growing in the emptiness for kindling.
As we drove, civilization disappeared again. Along the way, we saw a couple of cars parked off the road. Locals were gathering bag-fulls of dried grass that was growing in the emptiness for kindling. We followed the Chinese border which was easily identifiable by the hundreds of wooden posts and barbed wire. Technically, there’s a 100km buffer area between Tajikistan and China’s Ugyhur region, but the Chinese government really wanted to make sure.
We arrived in Karakul two hours later. This tiny village sits next to Lake Karakul (Kyrgyz for “black lake”). This lake is technically a crater lake, but for us, it was one big block of frozen ice. And when we walked to the lake, it was snowing!
Because of the snow, we couldn’t really see the mountains behind the lake. But we did see lots of cows and yaks.
Back at our homestay, we met these two very hyperactive kids of our hosts. Semana and Mohammad loved playing around and found Robb and I quite entertaining. Thank you countless hours teaching young kids! But chasing kids around at higher altitudes was tiring!
Even though we had asked for no meals, they insisted on giving us food. Semana had been to our room earlier and we showed her our instant noodles and canned peas meal and probably told her family afterwards. Meat and potatoes with bread. Nothing wrong with that! We called it a night at 21:00 in our cozy room.
We stayed at Homestay Sadat and had negotiated 140TJS ($16.51) for the both of us, no meals or banya. But because we got food, we ended up giving them 160TJS ($18.87) to say thanks.
- Number of kilometers driven: 133
- Number of checkpoints: 0 (but we drove by a former checkpoint that locals seemed have been destroyed)
- Number of roadblocks: 0
- Number of bribes: 0