Shaydon Back to Khojand Plus Chkalovsk

Khujand Travel Blog

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Nekbakht's sleeping porch and grain storage area

We woke up around 8:30 a little groggy but well-rested. For breakfast I had a porridge of rice, pumpkin and sugar, which was very good and new to me. Shobgo and Nekbakht had the leftover meat and potatoes. Shobgo had to leave for his construction manager job and Nekbakht had some city errands to do, so we set out again. After stopping at the bank (he is a bank director), we visited the district museum, which was free and run by a woman who also worked at a wedding gown outfitter next door. The museum was in Tajik but featured artifacts, stuffed animals, portraits of war heroes and products produced in the region. Nekbakht explained that Asht district, where Shaydon was the center, won an international award for salt production, and this was illustrated in several photos and exhibits at the museum.

Lenin in Shaydon's park
I finally saw a map of the region, which showed Shaydon at the base of the mountains. The main road we'd come in on continued east to the village of Asht on the eastern border of northern Tajikistan. Over the mountains north of Shaydon was the city of Angren, Uzbekistan, which used to be accessible before the road was land mined and subsequently closed.

Next we visited the desolate park, particularly gloomy on this cold and foggy day. The park, however, was large for a town the size of Shaydon and featured a couple statues and monuments, including a large Crying Mother monument (World War II memorial) and a bust of Lenin. The abandoned swimming pool had been closed after a child drowned and is unlikely to reopen. We passed an Afghan War memorial, went to Nekbakht's grandmother's for a quick visit and parked the car back at his house before bumming a ride from one of the butchers to the bus station. We had to fight to get in a crowded marshrutka for the uncomfortable ride back to Khojand. It was even colder back in Khojand.

Nekbakht had a flat in Khojand as well but when we arrived the electricity was off. We went to a cafe for lunch where I had kotlet (football-shaped wedge of ground beef) and rassolnik (barley soup). Nekbakht had some work to do in the neighboring suburb of Chkalovsk, so we took a couple marshrutkas there. I couldn't see any visible distinction between the end of Khojand and the beginning of Chkalovsk, but Nekbakht explained they did have an Internet cafe so I spent an hour there waiting for him and avoiding the drizzle that had begun falling outside.

Back in Khojand we stopped at Nekbakht's again for a few minutes of light before the electricity went out again. We took our time walking to Halim's flat, which turned out not to be very far away. The three of us went to Yunus for dinner, while Nekbakht talked frequently about going to a disco. After the prolonged exposure to the cold weather the night before and especially again in Khojand, I was feeling like staying in, and Halim didn't want to go either, so we said goodbye to Nekbakht and retired to the warmth of Halim's familiar apartment and relaxed for the remainder of the evening.

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Nekbakhts sleeping porch and grai…
Nekbakht's sleeping porch and gra…
Lenin in Shaydons park
Lenin in Shaydon's park
photo by: hauteboy