Day 88 (1): This is not a dip sauce
Penjikent Travel Blog› entry 123 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Tim & Wim (Belgium)
When I told one of my friends I would be travelling to Tajikistan on this trip, she replied "Tajikistan? That is not a country! That's a dip sauce made with yoghurt and garlic and cucumber!"
Well, I am here to prove her wrong. Tajikistan definitely is a country and there's no yoghurt with cucumber in sight!
When I got up this morning I was quite excited to be leaving. Finally the desert landscape would be making way for mountains, as I was heading for the first of the mountain ranges which will eventually lead to the Himalayas. I had picked up my clothes from the laundry and they were the cleanest they had been in a while. It really felt as if I was starting a new trip today.
The Belgians picked me up with their car and I immediately loved their vehicle: a 27 year old Volkswagen LT31 - a van modified to camper van, complete with kitchen and fridge. Absolutely brilliant, and in fairly decent nick too, considering they'd only paid 1500 Euros for it. Sure, there was some rust on the exterior. And then some more. But the engine ran smoothly and every modification inside worked - the fridge, the cooker, the heater (do we need that?) and all the cupboards and closets full of pots, pans, groceries, clothes and even a complete library.
On the excellent music installation they played the albums of the book '1001 albums you must here before you die' in chronological order. What a great idea to do. This way you don't have to worry about which music to play and you are guaranteed of nine months' worth of music. When I joined the guys they were listening to 1975 - not the worst year in the history of music, me thinks.
The border crossing went fairly easily. Exiting Uzbekistan they had little interest in our hotel registrations (a mandatory nuisance in this country) or the vehicle. Getting into Tajikistan it took a bit longer to register the vehicle, but even still this was a lot faster than most other countries, Tim said.
And so we entered a new country. As often, it immediately looked like a different country as soon as we crossed the border. Tajikistan is one of the poorest countries in the world and this was immediately noticeable from the quality of the road, which deteriorated rapidly.
The people looked different too. Many women wear Hejab (though not all) and almost everybody seemed really excited by seeing foreigners, as many would run towards the road as soon as they spotted us, waving and shouting.
We had left Samarkand quite late, as Tim and Wim had some errands to run for their car.