The end of Tajikistan, for better or worse
Penjikent Travel Blog› entry 374 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Mathieu (Canada)
Our first priority when we reached Penjikent was to call Mathieu to make sure we could crash at his house again. As i had been sick we were a day late coming back to town, but once again he was very accommodating and told Julia over the phone that it wouldn't be a problem. He met us at Cafe Sim Sim at 19.45, which he assured us was the best in town. The menu was the standard fare, but what he told us made this place stand out was that it didn't give you food poisoning, which was a real rarity in the town!
Mathieu picked up the bill, which was really kind of him, so we bought a big watermelon and some ice creams to take back to the house for dessert.
Friday was the first day of August and the weather really reflected that fact, as it was already stiflingly hot by 07.45 in the morning, when it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful host. I'd really enjoyed Mathieu's company over the two evenings that we had spent with him and it was a shame that we couldn't have stayed a little longer, but Uzbekistan was calling! A taxi took us to the border, which was about 20kms away and the crossing took us about 90 minutes, as we had to fill in a stack of customs declaration forms on both sides. The Tajik guards told us we could pay them 5 Somani ($1.50) and they would fill the forms in for us, but as we were in no hurry we decided to decline their kind offer of a bribe!
That drew to a close what had been nearly 4 weeks in Tajikistan, a country that holds mixed feelings for me. I'd experienced the mood swings of a pregnant woman and been left ranting and raving on more than one occasion during my stay. The scenery had been World class, but getting around had been expensive and uncomfortable in comparison with other countries. And then there were the people...
Its hard to know which people are really representative of a country, is it the few villagers you meet in remote places, who truly have kind hearts and warm souls, or is it the majority who reside in cities and towns, who include the money grabbing taxi sharks, ignorant waiters, retarded internet attendants, and inept hotel owners and staff? In rare cases, the city folk and countryside dwellers all end up been kinder than Mother Theresa, whilst in a few other rare cases they end up been the bastard offspring of Stalin. I guess the Tajiks are like most other nationalities, they have good and bad, but the good seemed amazing and the bad seemed equally so!