Friday, June 30, 2006


Unfortunately something I ate tipped my delicate stomach back into diarrhea mode, the 3rd time since arriving in Central Asia. I began to wonder whether I was suited for this kind of trip. I regretted turning down the previous day an offer of a lift in a Landcruiser ferrying UN staff to Ishkashim. They were working for the UN office on Drugs & Crime so it would have been interesting to have learned about that aspect of this region.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I moved slowly into Khorog. I felt quite worn out from the relatively long 2 previous days.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

15km North of Khorog

I was really enjoying Tajikistan. The people were friendly, with a smile on my face & a wave I would almost always get a similar response. The landscape was glorious. Even when chaykhanas weren't around to feed me there were fruit trees beside the road to keep me going until I found somewhere to get something to eat.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Near Deh

I continued to follow the Pyanj river down into which the mountains of Afghanistan & Tajikistan fell vertiginously, sometimes literary.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Today was a day of spectacular scenery. From my camping spot at about 2200m it was a relatively easy climb to the Sagirdasht pass at 3252m.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I set off with a full bottle of delicious dugh, courtesy of the builders. I've found something to seek out in chaykhanas.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Near Ezgand

The road went up & down all day. In spite of finishing 100m in altitude below where I started it I must have climbed more than yesterday.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Near Obigarm

I headed out of town after one final go at my favourite Internet cafй in Dushanbe.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Another rest day, I must be getting soft. However it was nice to relax & recover on a second day. It has been easy to stay in Dushanbe. It has a number of decent & easily accessible Internet cafes & as an especially appreciated bonus there's lots of food around.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Today was as dedicated to rest & recovery as I could make it, with a bit of information gathering thrown in. I checked out of the hotel, have breakfast & went to find my Dushanbe contact, Daniela who worked for a local NGO called MSDP.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I awoke feeling very lethargic. I initially thought it was due to the long & hard previous day however as the morning progressed I realised that all was not well with my stomach.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Near Anzob Pass

After enjoying an experimental porridge mixture of rice, fresh cheese & sugar I set off towards the mighty Anzob Pass. At 3307m it has no peer in Europe, though it's not particularly high by the standards of Eastern Tajikistan.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iskander Kul

Not long after leaving my camping spot I came to the turn off to the lake of Iskander Kul. Off the cuff I reversed an earlier decision & headed up the road.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Near Ayni

Not wanting to deal with the staring kids longer than necessary I ate breakfast quickly & got away as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Near Gusar

It was the first day of validity of my Tajik visa & there was no time to be wasted in entering the country.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


After a lazy morning chatting with Zokir I headed into town. At 11am I learnt that the Pakistan Embassy had graciously granted me a 1-month visa for the princely sum of 96USD.


Today was embassy day. I spent it entirely at either of those of Chinese or Pakistan or in taxis going to them. I had it planned with military precision & it almost went wrong from the start, as usual a bit of luck fell my way.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Feeling fully recovered I began to feel restless. I'd decided to take a side trip by public transport to Tashkent to get visas for China & Pakistan.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


The guesthouse was just the spot for some rest. My stomach responded to this nicely & I was able to eat the generous breakfast in the communal courtyard.


My long previous day meant that I could afford to relax knowing that I wouldn't be going further than Samarqand.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


My digestion was back to its old tricks the whole day, with trips to disgusting petrol station pit toilets or convenient bushes every couple of hours.

Friday, June 9, 2006


Feeling reinforced by being able to eat a good breakfast I felt able to head off from Bukhara. Though I left it until the early afternoon.

Thursday, June 8, 2006


I slept well & at breakfast my stomach was now accepting limited quantities of solid carbohydrate. Consequently I had the energy to get further out into the city. The first stop was at the local branch of the National Bank of Uzbekistan. I got to the modern marble clad building that housed it at 9:45am, 45 minutes after it opened, to find that the exchange desk had run out of money & was told to come back in the morning at 9am!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


I felt awful in the morning. I couldn't face eating bread, the only carbohydrates I could stomach was sugar in tea & from a handful of dried fruit.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Near Jandar

I let myself sleep in until the unprecedented late hour of 7am. I didn't emerge from my tent until the time that I would normally be on the road.

Monday, June 5, 2006

North of Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan Border at Farab

The bug still has me in its grip this day. The only calories that I can convince my stomach to deal with are oral rehydration salts & Fanta. I have to force myself to drink water.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Near Turkmenabat

This desert was becoming much more challenging than that from Yazd to Mashhad. The wind started up as soon as the Sun came up & from 8am or so. To attain a speed above 12km/h was bliss.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Near Repetek

Today the wind was unrelentingly against me. I never made it out of the smallest ring on my crankset & stayed in the largest few on the cassette. For non-cyclists this means I was in low gear all day.

Friday, June 2, 2006


I decided to take advantage of a willing lift to go right to Bairam Ali & turn this whole thing into something positive (i.e. get ahead of where I would have been had it not happened.

Thursday, June 1, 2006


I awoke especially early in order to be at the border at 6:30am, though I might as well have slept a little longer as no-one who could inspect my passport or bike as necessary arrived until 7:30. Though when they did arrive I was dispatched to the other side of the border fairly quickly, the only hold up was with the policeman who wouldn't stamp my passport until inspecting every page 3 times & the same with me against the photo.