Here is the video summary of Day 6.
This is Day 6 of our Pamir Highway trip, read about the whole trip here.
In the middle of the night we were both awoken by our door getting flung open and a man entering the room. We both started screaming and the stranger promptly left. With the information about heightened Taliban activity across the river in Afghanistan fresh in our mind we were both a bit freaked out so Jesse took a large jug of water and placed it in front of our door for protection. The next morning at breakfast the 12 year old son of the homestay family came up to us to apologize as he had entered our room in the middle of the night by accident. We had a good laugh with him as we play acted both of our over reaction when we screamed at his entry late at night.
We had a lovely morning with the ladies of the homestay who had two young girls. We gave them a pack of stickers which they promptly starting sticking all over each other. The ladies of the homestay were all cracking up at them.
We left around 8 and made a pitstop at a mobile store for a SIM card. Six days on the road had us questioning the loop route we chose and we were starting to contemplating leaving the car in Khorog and exploring flight routes back to Bishkek where we would meet some friends for a hiking expedition in Karakol Kyrgistan. We had purchased an international phone plan from T Mobile before leaving but Tajikistan and Krygistan were outside of the coverage area (though Kazakstan was covered). An hour later we managed a local SIM card but still couldn’t get on the web to check flight options. It was time to throw in the towel and continue our way to Khorog our next stop and the turnaround point for the trip.
Ishakhim is known as a departure point for tourists to visit Afghanistan. On our way out of town we passed the bridge where tourist are able to cross to an Afghan market. We continued to hear about heightened Taliban activity across the river so opted to not cross.
On our way to Khorog we made a turn off at Anderob to see Garam Chasma hotspring. The Lonely Planet described this as a a natural hot spring formed by mineral deposits. Abdi who loved the other hot spring we went to was very insistent that we do not partake in this one. He told us it was famous locally for curing skin diseases so people for all over travel here to treat skin disorders. Walking around the village below the hot spring we did see several individuals with skin conditions so took his advice.
From there we headed towards Khorog our turnaround point for the route and the most developed of the cities we would visit. We had a lunch of langman (xinjiang noodles or according to Jesse spaghetti) and manta, which are like large dumplings stuffed with lamb and onions.
Here we chose a “luxury” hotel Zafar Hotel, our first with wifi, indoor hot shower and plumbing. We were thrilled to have these luxuries after a few days in the rough.
Before tucking into our luxurious hotel room for the evening we first visited the local Bazaar. This was our favorite part of the day. We were the only foreigners in the market and each of the stall owners were very friendly to us. Quan picked out a Tajik outfit and head scarf. The ladies of both stalls were very kind, with the head scarf vendor even offering to give her a lesson on how to tie her scarf. Jesse added to his hat collection with a Tajik hat which he looks forward to wearing to a wedding we’ll attend in Italy next month.
After the Bazaar we tucked into our hotel room for the evening and overdosed on the Wifi: catching on the our governments latest antics, updating the blog, updating family, and making travel arrangements for put next leg in Europe.
We went on an evening walk to find dinner, our first night alone without Abdi guiding us. There’s not much street lights in Khorog and lots of stray dogs so we ended up eating back at the hotel. We were surprise to discover that it had a lovely terrace overlooking the river.
We resolved to complete our route and take the four day trek back to Osh via the less traveled route. The Khorog stop was a much needed touch back in to modern amenities and we were ready to rough it again in the Pamirs.