Apple Pie for Independence Day

Dushanbe Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 19 › view all entries
    This transit from Tashkent to Dushanbe is needlessly complicated.  Although they are only a few hundred miles apart, there is no direct transportation between them, no planes, no buses, and as of recently - no trains.  Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not get along, so I could not fly from Tashkent to Dushanbe.  Uzbekistan stopped allowing Tajik trains into their country for incomprehensible reasons.  Uzbekistan is just a big bully.  Tajikistan is so poor and only has land borders with Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China - and now only the Chinese border is somewhat viable for international trade.  Tajik citizens need visas to visit family in Uzbekistan, and now they have to take the same route I did to get to Tashkent. 
   I left from Khujand's surprisingly nice and clean airport at the same time a flight from St. Petersburg arrived.  A Tajik man about my age helped me find a tram to the Hotel Dushanbe, I mean the Hotel Poiytakht (the new name is Tajik for "Capital").  Several Tajik soccer teams had booked all the reasonably priced rooms so instead I am staying at the Hotel Vaksh.  The room and bathroom is clean.  The hallways seem to go on forever and the doors to the rooms are a foot thick and 8 feet tall.  As usual I was shown a room I did not like and I rejected it in favor of a cool room with a balcony and a view of the theater.  Even though rooms in these hotels are supposed to be identical, inevitably some are better than others.  In the afternoon I searched for a store that sold handicrafts, because the museum had already closed for the day.  Dushanbe feels like a provincial capital with wide, tree-lined, empty boulevards.  There are just not many stores or cafes on these streets.  There are a few monuments.  My favorite is a sculpture that shows Partisans shooting at turbaned rebels.  Lenin is gone.
    Russian is spoken badly here, and I have trouble in stores because many of the products have Persian writing.  Google loads in Persian here too.  My search for the store did not succeed because no one here knows the names of streets.  Lonely Planet helped me find a restaurant for dinner called "Salsa."  I had the chips and salsa, an ecuadorian meat dish, and apple pie for dessert.  Happy Independence Day!
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photo by: AndySD