The President arrives
Khorog Travel Blog› entry 367 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia),Wouter (Holland), Sigrid (Belgium), David (Canada)
Back in Khorog we found that Pamir Lodge was full, so we went over the road to the home stay of Lotofat Shakarmamadova. We had a private room for $10 and the added bonus of a hot shower in the bathroom. I actually think this place was a far better deal, as not only were the living conditions superior (TV and DVD, hot shower, inside toilet), but the owner was extremely friendly and always willing to help out, unlike the lazy owners of Pamir Lodge.
Once we had given ourselves a good scrub, we met up with Wouter, Sigrid and David and went to Varka for a substantial feed.
On Thursday Wouter, Julia and I headed down to the river for a lunch of kebab and fries, but the standard wasn't up to that much. After using the internet for a couple of hours, we made a move back up to our hotel to play some ludo and drink some beers. Unfortunately Varka had a wedding party in the evening, but Lotofat was only too happy to cook up some food for us.
Friday was a big day for Khorog, as Tajikistan President Imomali Rakhmanov was arriving from Dushanbe. Julia and I ate lunch at Varka, before heading to the centre in the early afternoon. Nobody seemed to have a clue as to what time the President was arriving, so we sat in the internet cafe for a while before waiting in the street with the local people. It was all a bit of a waste of time to be honest, as all we saw was a procession of cars go speeding down the street.
Everyone was pretty tired of Khorog, as the town really doesn't have much to offer the tourist, so we decided that although it had been a nice place to just unwind for a few days, it was certainly time to be moving on.
05.45 and i heard bells ringing in my head, as i fumbled around in an attempt to turn the alarm off. Lotofat had kindly prepared us some fried eggs for breakfast and by 06.20 the four of us were ready to make a move. Leaving the house, we only had to walk 50 metres down the road, before a guy in a blue Opel Astra asked if we needed a ride. Julia asked how much it was to the bazaar, where we planned to get a shared minivan to Dushanbe, but the bloke wasn't keen on this, so we carried on walking.
“Dushanbe?” then rang from the drivers lips, so we decided to ask out of interest how much he would want. From listening to other travellers and David having asked a driver at the market, we had an idea that it would be somewhere in the region of 130 Somani ($38) for a seat in a seven seat minivan, so probably 150 Somani ($44) and upwards for any vehicle with less seats. Coming in the other direction people had paid anywhere from 220 Somani ($64) for a seat in a minivan, so i expected negotiations to begin at a ludicrous level,
“Stoh” and “chilovek” were words that i understood, but i had to clarify with Julia exactly what he had said, as i couldn't quite believe it. First she wanted to confirm with him that she had also got it correct and that there were no hidden costs, and once she was sure of it, she assured us that he only wanted 100 Somani ($29) per person. Delighted at the offer in front of us, we jumped at the chance and didn't even bother trying to bargain. Dushanbe here we come!