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Posts Tagged ‘gbao

01 Sep, 2009

Back to Dushanbe

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

The house phone rang at 5:20AM. Imomdad’s uncle was moving up the time yet again (it was originally 7:00AM)–we have fifteen minutes to pack everything, eat, and get ready. We jumped out of our futons and set about getting everything ready. We were still packing up by the time he arrived and had to skip breakfast in order to not keep the driver and other passengers waiting. Imomdad and his father helped get all of our bags outside to the driver so that he could put them in and on top of the vehicle. We said thanks and goodbye to Imomdad and his family and jumped in the vehicle, a Pajero 4X4, which was already occupied by a woman and her two daughters in the middle row of seats (along with the driver’s helper in the passenger seat). We got in the back but they could not put the seat back up because my legs stretched out too far. The woman and her children were kind enough to switch seats with us and we got in the middle row. We were thinking we’d be lucky and get the row to ourselves, but we stopped just a couple minutes outside of Imomdad’s house to pick up a young guy in his 20′s, who sat in our row. I got pushed into the middle. It was going to be a long ride.

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31 Aug, 2009

Sold!

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

The next morning we were awakened around 8:00AM by Valler’s nephew banging on the door. It was time to pick up the car. The truck was waiting outside, so we hopped into Valler’s car and drove off with the truck to the mechanic’s place. Surprise surprise, it was the same guy that we went to a few days earlier, the guy who had ripped us off. He took a look at the damage and offered to fix it for $200. I said that wasn’t going to happen. Valler’s brother reiterated that they would like to buy it. I talked it over with Collin, and considering the damage, we didn’t think it was prudent to continue on with the car in the state it was in, even if we got it fixed. While it was on the truck bed we looked at the underside of the car and the damage was extensive–there were many things we had never even noticed before. Add to that the steering, rust, engine overheating, gas leak, destroyed catalytic converter, and other miscellaneous problems and it was time to retire Buster to pasture. They had a deal. Valler’s brother handed us $300 and said that he would have the other $700 that afternoon. After we got all of our possessions out and into Imomdad’s father’s car we let it go with Valler’s family.

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30 Aug, 2009

The Rescue

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

It took another hour or so before we got back to Khorog. Along the way Valler stopped at a few small villages where he saw some flatbed trucks parked, but we couldn’t find anything available. Valler had said earlier that he was working on opening a hotel and restaurant in the city, and that’s where he took us. Walking in it was clear that there was still quite a bit of construction to be done, but it looked like it was turning into a nice place. He said we could rest there for a bit and gave me the keys before taking off.

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29 Aug, 2009

The Death

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

We were stuck in the mountains, almost 10,000ft up, and it was getting dark. We had to get out of there or face a freezing night in the car. Changing from our shorts into warmer clothing, we tried flagging down the first vehicle that passed to no avail. The second vehicle did stop–we were very lucky. We explained our situation and he offered to tow us to the next town. Collin got in the guy’s car–I got our tow rope out and took our first shot at towed. Due to the bumpiness of the road it came undone pretty quickly. We tried again. Same thing. We took out our other tow rope, which had a clamp on it, and attached it to the first one. That too fel off. We tried tying them together, and it seemed to be working. The guy was driving pretty fast, and controlling the car with minimal steering capabilities was tough. After going just a few miles over extremely bad roads the wheel starting making even louder noises and our steering went kaput. I honked the horn nd signaled to stop. We couldn’t do this anymore–it was destroying the car. The wheel was basically being dragged against the car and had lost a fair amount of its tread in the process. It would be in even worse shape if we tried to continue.

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28 Aug, 2009

The Pamir Highway

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

M41, or the Pamir Highway, is the highest elevation roadway in the world. Winding through the Western Himalayan range from Southern Tajikistan to Osh, Kyrgyzstan, the road takes one through some of the highest elevation passes traversible by vehicle (4,655m/13,965ft). This was one of the things we had been waiting to do the entire trip.

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27 Aug, 2009

Khorog

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

Nestled between the mountains of Tajikistan and Afghanistan and bordered by the Gunt River, Khorog is the capital of the GBAO (Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast) region of Tajikistan. As the location of the Aga Khan Central Asia University it is home to one of the most educated, English-capable populations in all of Central Asia.

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26 Aug, 2009

To Khorog

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

We had slept three to a room on futon mattresses while numerous flies, moths, and other insects buzzed around us the entire night. Again, we didn’t such a restful sleep. We stocked up on water (only gassy water available here–seems people don’t usually drink bottled water if it isn’t carbonated) and headed out towards Khorog.

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25 Aug, 2009

To Khalaikum

Posted by: Scott In: The Rally

The next morning we awoke early and set off towards the east. We traveled through ever increasing heights, as we entered the western reaches of what is technically the Himalayan mountain range. Our goal was to reach the city of Khalaikum by nightfall, and then continue on from there to Khorog the next day.

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