The President arrives

Khorog Travel Blog

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Julia, David and Wouter hanging out on the veranda at Pamir Lodge

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.

Tajik's come out to greet the President
I went for the cheeky chicken this time, which came topped with cheese, a fried egg and some delicious fries. It cost 10.5 Somani ($3), and was worth every cent. Wouter, Julia and I sank a few Baltika 3's after the meal, but Sigrid was still feeling below par so stuck to water and David had to go home as his sickness had also not cleared up. We chatted away for a few hours before heading home for a good nights sleep.

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.
Khorog's streets fill up to greet the President
Sigrid joined us for Dinner and afterwards we sat together with a few beers and watched Family Guy on DVD.

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.
The Presidents entourage bomb through the street
As the President was in town, the airport had been closed down for domestic flights, so Sigrid, David, Julia and I decided that we would take a 20 hour taxi ride to Dushanbe the following day, whilst Wouter decided that he would sit it out and wait for the first available flight, as it only took 45 minutes!

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.
Tajik's wave their flag

“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!

JeAr says:
look where u are mister! in Tajikistan now? geez, i haven't even finished the first few parts of this blog! my last read was still in Eastern Europe! hope i can be up-to-date before u reach Africa :-)
Posted on: Jul 23, 2008
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Julia, David and Wouter hanging ou…
Julia, David and Wouter hanging o…
Tajiks come out to greet the Pres…
Tajik's come out to greet the Pre…
Khorogs streets fill up to greet …
Khorog's streets fill up to greet…
The Presidents entourage bomb thro…
The Presidents entourage bomb thr…
Tajiks wave their flag
Tajik's wave their flag
Locals gather awaiting the arrival…
Locals gather awaiting the arriva…
Police await the President
Police await the President
Cars come whizzing through the tow…
Cars come whizzing through the to…
photo by: Biedjee