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. I'd for more altitude gain as tomorrow I have a 3252m pass. The longer it takes for the climb to begin the steeper it will be.

The road ran parallel to a wide rapidly running river. It was clearly in the business of digging itself deeper as there were easily visible layers where the river bank used to be that now were 50m or more above the river. It ran gray with sediment. I imagined that riverside real estate wouldn't be a good investment.

Though the M41 is marked as a main road on my map it lost almost all its traffic after the turnoff to Garm. I wasn't sad to not have to share the road with other cars. I had been entertaining a hope that I might be able to find somewhere to buy some milk or cream with which to perfect my rice porridge. However in addition to a lack of cars there was also a population lack. This was because the road was now in quite a narrow valley & there wasn't much land to make a living from. No-one to buy means nothing for sale. I wondered whether the area had been depopulated during the civil war as I think it was a frontline. I saw a number of abandoned houses & even a couple of ruined tanks by the road, I couldn't tell whether violence or the weather had caused the damage.

I stopped beside a house under construction. I could see clear water coming from a pipe that someone was drinking. A man came out from a shelter & gestured for me to come over. He gave me a cup of dugh, yoghurt diluted with water with some chopped chives, & some delicious bread. It was just what I needed as I'd just eaten a pie that I'd been saving for this time of day, unfortunately it had been kept to long in this heat. I hoped that it wouldn't cause my stomach problems. The dugh was great for it. While drinking it I asked the man if I could camp by the house. He gestured that I should sleep on the stones of the foundation of the house that he was building & proceeded to smooth the small flints that covered the foundations for a smooth place for me to lay down. I set myself up in my assigned spot & various members of his family came over to have a look. There was none of the empty staring that had so bothered me when I had stayed with the farmer my first night in Tajikistan. Everybody was very friendly & largely I was left alone, which was what I wanted.

I cycled 78 km in 7 hours & 31 minutes
Total so far 7274 km in 107 days
GPS Coordinates of end point - N 38°49.661, E 70°10.677

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