Thursday, July 6, 2006


A rest day! Murgab was a perfect spot for a day off the bike. It stayed untouched in a shed in the compound of the guesthouse. I dedicated the day to doing very little with the scheduling & by far greatest amount of thought going into ensuring that the day's lunch & dinner as well as the following morning's breakfast would be good.

The day started well with tea, a stack of pancakes & homemade jam. My 2 French cyclists friends whom I met in Tabriz, Iran & have seen intermittently since then came over for tea & I was very happy to find that we would be going the same way at more or less the same time. I will be cycling in company again, yeah! We all trooped down to the Murgab bazaar to buy food for the coming days. The bazaar was a bit bleak, I suppose a testament to Murgab's need to transport in over distance most of what it needs, producing only things related to cows, sheep, goats & yaks i.e. meat & milk. We visited a shop setup by an NGO to showcase & sell handcrafts made by local women; hats, rugs & such like. The juxtaposition of such a shop with its fashionably dressed shop attendants & the dusty frontier-like aspect of Murgab was odd. However it stocked some lovely stuff but my panniers were looking to be getting quite full with all that I got at the bazaar.

Then it was time for lunch (in company!) back at the guesthouse. I'd requested plov in the morning so that's what they made (I was the only guest at this point). While eating the English cycling couple that I'd met a week or so on the way to Khorog showed up & we became a merry crowd. My French friends went off to the police station to embark on a sit in to try & avoid a rather pointless registration fee, resolving to sleep in front of it if necessary. I was supposed to come & bail them out if they were still there the next morning. In the end the police relented & let them go. In the meantime I went to the bazaar again & bought even more food (it's spread around the floor of my room awaiting some creative packing in the morning).

In the afternoon I did some washing & was engaged to do my first piece of professional work in months & as a photographer. I would have done it for nothing but a free bath wasn't to be turned down. The guesthouse owner asked me to photograph the guesthouse & email him the images so that he could produce some kind of material. Maybe this is the beginning of a new calling...

In the evening there was a nice dinner, spaghetti bolognese with yak meat instead of beef. Yak meat has quite a distinctive flavour & it's very soft with a consistency a bit like liver, yum!

I cycled 0 km

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