Along the Pamir Highway

Along the Pamir Highway

“Permits in hand?
Steep roads, long drops, remote towns, strange food
You ain’t seen nothing yet …”
This was all we knew to expect of –
the Pamir Highway

Scenery unseen before – rugged, steep and huge
Mountain passes, fertile valleys, raging rivers and steep gorges
This was what we saw
Along the Pamir Highway

Horses, cows, sheep, goats and yaks
Donkeys aplenty with one to three aboard
All this to we saw
Along the Pamir Highway

One lunch stop by a river
Brought four young boys joining in
A cool game of frisbee
With young Nick and Barry
Along the Pamir Highway

Dusty villages with cheerful waving children
Made us feel like dignitary – hope we did the same.
Homes and gardens hidden
Behind tall metal gates,
Rock walls and woven fences
All this and more
Along the Pamir Highway

Carpets being scrubbed by very young and old alike
Alongside flowing springs – right on our road – would you believe?
Along the Pamir Highway

Watermelons, apricots on sale beside the road
Vegetables a-growing for winter overload
Along the Pamir Highway

Afghanistan across the river
What intrigue is happening there
Along the narrow, winding road
Connecting pastures green and yellow
Over from the Pamir Highway

First night in Osh, oh my gosh
Next was Sary-Tash, and dinner without legs
Onto Murgab – scene from Mars and Star Wars
And buzzing Hotel Pamir
Two lovely nights in Khorog
With market bargains and garden delights
Ten hours to Kalaikum at thirty k’s per hour
Then a royal night in Karen
Along the Pamir Highway

How could we forget the pot-holes, humps and hollows
The munted asphalt and piles of gravel
Awaiting placement for repairs.
The narrow passes and tight squeezes
Rocks above suspended at the ready
All along the Pamir Highway

Car-wash in Kulyob, tar-seal ahead
En route for Dushanbe
Are we there yet?
Slight skirmish with the speed
All sorted without fee
Along the Pamir Highway

Let’s not forget Feroos and Parvel
Our trusty companions and guides
Thank you for taking us with you
Along the Pamir Highway

All this and so much more
We may never be back again, but –
We’ll never be the same again
After all we’ve seen and done
Along the Pamir Highway

UZBEKISTAN 20 JUNE – 30 JUNE

Basically, there is no petrol or diesel for sale in Uzbek apart from agricultural needs.

So because they have an abundance of natural gas and limited oil production everything automotive has been converted to run on Lpg

Diesel and petrol that we obtained in Samarkand was Black market.
Our guide, Marat , was able to source petrol (benzine) and diesel to be bought to the hotel car park.
In plastic bottles and containers which came in a local lada car.

Paid for it in US $s. Probably about 75 cents US a litre.

There are seperate stations for LPG and Benzine.
This morning driving out of Bakhara we passed a Benzine station thar had a queue backed up half a kilometre each way.
We see a lot of disused stations because prices are now State controlled. Hope the poor last guy gets some before it runs out.

When Robin got his Benzine it was syphoned out of a taxi that Marat had organised. It was only 80 octane.

Local currency is called Som.

Through our guide we are getting almost double the official cash rate in exchange for US dollars.

It means it’s cheaper to buy souvenieers etc using Som however it’s tricky to understand .

There seemed to be only one Bank, Kapitol, where you could use a credit card. It wasn’t working apparently.

In Samarkand Warwick wanted to exchange $100 US dollars into local Som.
The teller accepted the note but then returned two $50 US notes to him.
So another teller was found who had good English.
He took his official badge off and took Warwick outside to the money lender on the footpath. Here he was able to get Warwick more than double what the bank could have given him. It was bewildering but rewarding for us.

Getting back to the story of the Hotel fuel fill, the final payment that Marac gave to the local fuel suppliers was in Soms and could have filled a backpack . The supplier asked him if it was all correct and Marac replied with ” count it”. That was met with a shrug and goodbye.

1 US dollar resulted in 7,000 Som. Stacks and stacks of notes.. Big bunch of money.
Working it out now we know that $1 NZ equals 5,000 Som.

Just as we have all come to grips with it all we will be moving back into Kazakstan in a few days where it’s different currency again.