Murghab Horse Festival: Pamir Highway Day 8

Video summary of Day 8 here.

This is Day 8 of our Pamir Highway trip, read about the whole trip here.

We had excellent rice porridge for breakfast then set off from Alichtur at 7. Abdi and his family came to meet us at the homestay. Today is Abdi’s 34th birthday. Abdi’s son Daniel sat in between the passenger and driver in the front seat and held onto Abdi’s arm with one hand and then back of the passenger seat with the other and had no fear.


We went to drop Abdi’s family off at his mother in-law’s yurts and then we played with Daniel for about 20 minutes as he kept ramming his tricycle into us.



After leaving the yurt stay we headed to the horse festival in Murghab. There was music playing and before we knew it the horse were off.


There were about 20 horses they raced into the mountains before coming back. The race probably lasted about 20 We walked away from the start/finish line to see the horses as they were riding down the mountain.



After the race we looked for horses to ride on. We just missed getting on one of the horses as 2 women took that ride. We then found one and both went on a short ride.


After we got off we saw the two women again and one spoke very good English and hung out with us for about 15 minutes as she wanted to practice her English. Turned out she was a Russian teacher and Abdi’s sister-in-law.


We then found someone at the festival serving plov out of a yurt and neither one of us can resist fresh plov so we had it for lunch. While sitting on a rug at the festival we met a Spanish couple from Basque Country who had biked there from Spain and were spending the year biking the world by themselves. We were tired just listening to them.



There was another part of the horse festival that included jousting that we passed on and instead went to our homestay we had previously stayed at to take a nap. We then went on a long walk across town which was very dusty and the winds staring picking up more and we got into a dust storm.


We hitched a ride in a BMW to go back and in the back seat was a Chinese businessman who wouldn’t tell us what work he does only that he worked in the region. The only time he smiled was when Quan told him Jesse is her husband and Jesse repeated “Lao Gong” the Chinese word for husband. Chinese people love it when foreigners speak Chinese.

Instead of going back to our homestay we went to the hotel to try to find some seltzer. No luck, but we did meet a famous travel writer/photographer “The Traveling Camel!” and “The Road Less Traveled.” He was leading a tour group through the region and also working with the Tajik tourism board to improve their marketing towards mid to high end tourists. He is originally from Australia but is now based out of Kenya and has worked on travel marketing campaigns for Air Canada, Visit Dubai and many others in the Africa region. He gave us a ton of advice on travel writing, videography and photography which we summarized in this post.

Afterwards we came back and had dinner (plov of course!) and played cards with Abdi while drinking juice and seltzer he had brought. It was a pretty nice and relaxing day and we were looking forward to going to Karakol lake the next day.

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