Tajikistan Part II: There I was: on the Pamir. In the morning I was awakened by a golden light …
… in the afternoon the sun was bright and all the mountains colors switched on like a Christmas tree: red, green, purple, yellow …
… while in the evening everything was burning like a fire: yellow, orange, pink, red … pure beauty.
No idea about the time, the day … is it Monday or Saturday?? … who cares! I never felt so free. F R E E D O M. My life became exactly as that slogan I saw on the T-Shirt of a cyclist in Dushanbe: SLEEP – EAT – RIDE (and repeat). Nothing than more simple, but … my life has never been so i n t e n s e.
The “SLEEP” part was really not a problem … super comfy sleeping-bag and exhausted cells are a good combination for long and deep sleeps.
The “EAT” part is another story … Just once I had a delicious Plov (rice and vegetables) with chicken cooked with love by Dasha, a beautiful and very generous woman in the Shokdara valley:
After that I have not seen many times meat (once!) … Their diet is mostly based on bread and ch’ai (or at least this is what I saw when I was hosted by the locals). And since the bread is often stale or hard, it is intent in the tea to soften it … yes, I was feeling like this:
I didn’t want to be a duck! I WANTED a duck!
You feel that your body is desperately begging you F O O D : fruits, cheese, milk (ooooh miiiiiiiiilk! I missed it sooooo much!), meat, vegetables … but the only thing that you are giving to it is: bread, horrible biscuits, pasta, sometimes potatoes or tomatoes and water … after more than one month it starts to be difficult … physically and psychologically. Only in Ali Chor I got finally something different: rice with milk!!, butter!!, yack cream!!, apples!! and THEM …Manté (dumplings with meat, traditional Kyrgyz food)! It was like Christmas:
The Magazines (shops) up there are empty als sound chambers … biscuits, candy of any kind, shape and color were easy to find, but real food … almost nothing. This is simply because families are autonomous and produce all what they need. They have cows, goats, hens and sometimes gardens … no need for shops …
The village of Ali Chor ….more people on the street here at 4000 m.a.s.l. than in Faido! 🙂
It is in the “RIDE” part that everything happens. You wake up and you just know that you have to ride … no idea about the conditions of the road, no idea where I will stop, no idea if I will find food or water, no idea about the weather, no idea if I will meet somebody … you mount on your bicycle and you go. E v e r y s i n g l e km, e v e r y s i n g l e day was a discovery, a surprise, an adventure.
Everything depend on you. The road is too bad and/or steep? You push. Big boulders and deep rivers? Take off your shoes, jump in the water and push. Magnificent descent? Brakes free and enjoy the fun!
It is when you RIDE that you get connected with the people. This man (the owner of the guest house) made my days in Ali Chor (yes!! He served me the dumplings.)… Sometimes it is like you can feel the soul of the people and the soul of this man was so peaceful and so … serene! He is Kyrgyz, like 70% of the population in the Murghab province … and again: different physiognomies, language and attitude of the people. Life there is very difficult: long winters at -45 °C, no electricity, no running water, no wood, the soil is too dry to be cultivated … I asked him “why do you stay here?”. With an exquisite simplicity he looked around, with a quiet voice he gave me what for him was the most obvious reason: “Because it is beautiful“.And the children??? Oooooooooh I loved them!! Like this little mouse: he came straight toward me with a high head and he shake my hand like a true gentleman “Salam!”.
Honestly, I don’t know how many times up there I was riding, laughing and crying at the same time. Thank you! Thank you life!
Many will think “Oooh! Lucky you!” … Luck has nothing to do with this … You choose your condition, you choose wich kind of life you want to live. You have just to move yourself and maybe take THE decision that at the beginning seems so difficult … almost impossible. It is not. It is just the first step, then everything flows like a river.
Still I cannot define the Pamir experience … it was intense not only because of the people, the a m a z i n g landscapes, the nature, the fatigue, … but I think also because I was there alone.
You spend the days in silence (ok, not when I was singing). Only the wind and the sliding of the chain of the bicycle are the predominant noises. During the pauses the flow of the river and the birds were my music. In the evening the noise of the gas stove, the bubbling water, and dishes were my companions. I was not on the Pamir … I had the impression I was part of it.
So simple … so beautiful …
… and it is not finished yet… I just entered in Kyrgyzstan …
Un abbraccio Stef and Silence