Potholes and Yaks

Dodging yaks and potholes, we eventually saw the dusty settlement of Murghab in the distance, as always a relief to see our end destination after a hard day of riding. First a sticker to place on the town sign (a friendly rivalry with another bike traveller, as his sticker is there) and then a checkpoint to pass through. The friendly guards invited me into the guardroom while my passport details were recorded in the book, due to an unfamiliarity with any alphabet that isn't cyrillic, this can take some time.

As often happens in the developing world, the guardroom also doubles up as their office, living room and bedroom. As I entered three guards were gathered round watching a DVD on a small portable TV and they welcomed me to watch with them, my limited knowledge and experience of martial arts films was once more expanded, last year it was a Rambo film in a garage in Labrador (cheers Pete in Churchill). This year it’s the turn of Jean-Claude Van Damme; and the soldiers talked me through the finer points of the protagonist and the film they were avidly following –possibly it’s recommended viewing as a training exercise for the Tajik Military. They said he’s French, though how the hell do I know that he’s Belgian? I’ve never seen a JCVD film in my life.

Pulling myself away from the screen, I retrieved my passport, smiled my “thanks, but no thanks” at the invite to dinner and continued into town. there was some confusion at the homestay as Murghab is on a different time zone from the rest of the country. But dinner was arranged for a reasonable time and everyone is safely there so I could relax next to the yak dung stove. We’re up on the Pamir Plateau at over 3000 metres and it’s chilly at night.  I’m in a small room with Alan (one of my colleagues) and one of our riders- they both have a very similar style of snoring  - I’m not getting too much sleep and at one point record their stereo snoring performance, which has a somewhat porcine quality to it.  


Hey Tiffany, Try putting a extra pillow ( If you have one) over the side of your head (If you sleep on your side) I find this works well in deadening the sound of snoring. Give it a try.



He's known as 'the muscles from Brussels' - he always comes up in the 'name 10 famous people from Belgium' question in pub quizzes.  That's probably why you know he's belgian.

Enjoying reading about your ride and seeing photos of Uzbekistan.