Climbing "Roof of the world"
Day 2. "Formalities". Tajik "Orexiad"
Morning has begun with excursion about the house of Bahodur - big, absolutely new and very competently constructed and also domestic constructions, backyard, lawns and has ended with the tastiest breakfast on ayvan.
According to the law, on arrival to the country it is necessary to be registered within 3 days. If you come under the private invitation personal presence, photo, declaration and receipts on duty payment is necessary. This is not an issue if you have tourist visa - with this type of visa you could stay up to 30 days without registration.
Cost of registration up to 3 months - 90 TJS services of registration OVIR + 40 TJS the state duty. Here, standing in a small queue in regional OVIR we for the first time saw the Tajik money (hospitality of the owner did not let us to do it before) - somoni (TJS) that time was apprx. 4,7 for one dollar. The dollar exchange rate constantly grows because there is a permanent inflation of apprx. 12 % a year in Tajikistan.
It didn't take us long in OVIR, registration receipts with passports were given out after dinner - either worked the factor of nepotism or simply charisma of our "bosses", running from one door to another and striving near us with Leo, standing in total inactivity and reading all law quotations on walls, trying to pretend participating in process of our own registration. But far from it - the Guest in Tajikistan is doomed to be not allowed anything to do and to worry about - even at all his desire.
After all formalities were set we with feeling of the executed debt so peculiar to people from Soviet and post-Soviet countries, we continued excursion around the city. Despite lack of time, we couldn't but get stuck in a historical museum of Sogdijsky area - modern, interesting, with 3D-exposition and the most interesting guide Farangiz - a charming girl who thanks to live and overflow historic facts and completely not historical comparisons with modern life excursion, has managed to tell us all history of region and the city of Khujand, Khujand people and romantic poet Kamolitdin Khujandi once living here in the shortest terms.
We operated with the facts from this first and perhaps most remembered excursion during the whole our tour across Tajikistan, and the face of beautiful Farangiz accompanied us to the very Pamir. Entrance fee for the museum is 3 somoni for citizens of the CIS and 6 for the other world - both "Gold billion" and the third countries.
Further we have visited the complex of Sheikh Badeuddin Nuri with a mosque where the arch of the mausoleum was covered by mosaic gold, and Panchshanbe market - a huge covered central market in the style of Stalin architecture. Our excursion and a little later our residence at Bahodur's with his nice family ended after lunch.
When the owner said "It's time!", we went out from his spacious house to the street and saw Hyundai "Starex" bought several days earlier specially for this trip on which roof Muzaffar-ako, our nice driver (and in fact - the head of one of building divisions of the "Impulse" holding decided that he will entrust nobody such a responsible task - to be the driver for the boss Bahodur and his visitors) already adhered suitcases to a luggage carrier, tent of immense size in a khaki bag and other personal belongings. In ten minutes we started the way. Waving to the wife and three kiddies of Bahodur seeing us off at the gate, my heart sank for a while as well as sensation on a plane when all around is still familiar and close, and suddenly in a wink you are already far-far away…
So we have gone to a huge and unknown travel or it is better even to tell expedition, with the ending somewhere on Pamir, or beyond Pamir and nobody knew when it was going to finish as nobody ever happened to be there.
Let me introduce you the participants of our expedition:
Bahodur ako - the young, progressive Tajik businessman, the owner of the "Impulse" holding. He was responsible for everything and, at the same time, thanks to effective management and delegation - responsible for nothing.
Nargiz - "deputy-on-tourism", the Young Comsomol, the sportswoman, the climber and just a beauty (lovely quotation from an old and famous Soviet movie)! It is necessary to notice that if the first, second and fourth virtues were always inherent in her, Nargiz apparently became a climber during this expedition - she has never been in the mountains before. She was responsible for cooking travelers' salad, time and kilometric area record in moving and further for a very simple thing - organization of tours on the given route. However she was a lucky one …
Hurshåda opa - the director of the "Impulse" jewelry store (question: what has she gone to Pamir for? We did not know the answer, but … after finding the answer, we could not imagine ourselves without this wonderful woman any more - our good angel), she was responsible for everything!
Muzaffar ako - here - our gallant driver, and in general - the managing director of building division as it was specified above. The person of exclusive concentration, responsibility and reliability. And still - very cheerful and fervent member of our command. The good angel of the whole expedition being responsible for everything as well!
Leonid ako - Chief Executive Officer of OrexCA.com, the "four-eyes", in the beginning hardly realizing, what he has gone to Pamir for. He was responsible for video and early bunking in exhaustion.
Your obedient servant Michael - Director Marketing of OrexCA.com. In the given form responsible for photographing and travelling notes and being covered with these voluntary removed all kinds of responsibility and declared himself here as a traveler and researcher.
For a while the road went along the border with Uzbekistan and we even saw a pipe of Bekabad cement plant - as they say - one of the largest in the Soviet Union (height 317 m.). The first stop was in the evening after 65 km driving. It was a small town of Istaravshan (ex Hurrah-tyube).
Here, near city khukumat (city administration) and a monument to Ilyich (Lenin, which in a big range both stood, and stand across all Tajikistan even in the places of honor - as well as during the prime) we have met familiar Nargiz who acquainted us with the guide - the competent elderly person introduced himself as a writer and journalist, and as it has appeared enthusiast and propagandist of history and cultural heritage of the favorite city. Working in tourism, we often meet such people then and there and fortunately you become convinced that still not everything is neglected, you find small and probably unknown talented persons on whose shoulders there is correct presentation of the native small town to visitors, collecting of the facts, gathering of data, articles and etc. As our guide has informed us, on the territory of Istaravshan were found about 150 historical monuments, we got on one of them - an imperial palace standing on a hill with anew built up portal. Here we were listening to excursion and contemplating the city from the hill height.
Further we have gone to look at an ancient mosque of Sari Mazor, we saw there huge centuries-old plane trees growing in the court yard and racy bearded aksakals sitting on a trestle bed - "standard Central Asian set".
After Istaravshan we began to climb the mountains. At once it became chilly, and at approach of twilight even coldish.
We have passed a small town of Shahristan and near the next monument to a she-wolf feeding two babies abruptly turned from smooth "Chinese" (the term explanation will be further) roads to the left and on a first coat alternated with rare asphalt went to Ohtangi - a resort and reserved zone where already in outer darkness having stuck into some points and using extensive links of our Tajik prot?g?s and companions, accommodated at last for the night in a recreation area owned by the National bank, named by people "Czech camp" and shipped in darkness deep in the mountains covered with fir-trees.
The name and existence of the given recreation area which is in 35 km from Istaravshan, but already high in the mountains was given together with others, similar and spread all around the former USSR assembling houses supplied and constructed by Czechoslovakia being a part of the Union that time.
Here me and Leo realized one of our mistakes - the fact we did not take warm clothes following the logical idea that if it was unbearable heat in Tashkent then in the South it was supposed to be hotter. And the mountains … it is hot in the mountains in summer as well. So in general it was such a thoughtless approach. And it has appeared that it's not that hot in the mountains at height of 3-4 thousand meters above sea level. Bahodur understood that we weren't equipped enough and presented us excellent chapans which "arrived" and waited for us in Dushanbe and were obligatory gift to visitors according to Bahodur.
That late evening we familiarized for the first time with organizational and culinary abilities of Hurshåda opa and Muzaffar ako while we were accommodating in rooms, they got a gas-jet and quickly cooked an excellent "kavardak". After a while in already empty, but brightly shined dining room was served a table with salads and of course water-melon which we gladly had for supper.
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