May 9, 2013
As things turned out, Victory (over the Germans) Day, is little more than a chance to pat those grandfathers and great grandfathers still around on the back for a job well done. There were minor celebrations, but nothing grand. So, life went on more or less normally. Still, I was glad I didn’t roll the dice that the border would be open today. My luck hasn’t been the greatest on this trip, obviously.
Unwilling to sit around and drink beer at the guesthouse, I set out to find other backpackers that would be interested in sharing a vehicle along the Pamir Highway. What a bloody waste of time that was! Simply, there weren’t any other travelers around. I walked to 4 places and they were all empty. So, it seemed that I would continue the holding pattern for another day hoping that a new wave of backpackers would mean some travel partners. At that point, it was lunch time and since I had nothing better to do, I went to the place where the shared taxi’s leave so that I could price a vehicle. I was approached with a man who spoke good English and said that he had a vehicle going tomorrow. Sceptical. I asked for a price. The asking was more than I had hope but reasonable for an individual. Out of the deal, I got a 5AM pickup up and unlimited stops for pictures. I was just glad I wouldn’t have to walk the streets of Dushanbe again.
Stoked that I would be leaving the next morning. I decided to shave off the beard because it sent all of the wrong messages. I went to a barber and got an excellent straight blade shave and barely recognized myself. Back at the guesthouse, a Persian-Turk that lives there had the same thought that day and so we had a good laugh at the coincidence.
After dinner, I was invited to a neighbor’s house so that the divorced daughter with two kids could practice her English. Hmmm…. sounds familiar, right? Anyway, it was a nice visit and I did laundry before I went to bed for an early wakeup.