A watery start to the Pamirs…

A watery start to the Pamirs…

Dushanbe to Pamir Highway, Tajikistan

Bright and early, in sync with the sunrise we wake up to cross border towards Dushanbe, Tajikistan. (Also to not encounter anymore important brass looking people). A bumpy road and a relatively fast border crossing, we were finally in Dushanbe in the early afternoon. We saw a Hyatt and Patrick pretended to want to stay there as we stole their WIFI and pulled out some Tajikistan somoni. (Note to future travelers, this is a good place for consistent fast interwebs). We found a hostel with the Hyatt’s WIFI and were off, waving goodbye to the confused employee’s.

We rested up at the hostel, some people skyped their mom’s (sorry mom… :P), bathrooms were destroyed and then we searched for kebabs….but ended up at this hole in the wall place, not really knowing what we were getting, but “ordered” anyways. We ended up with soup and some sort of fish dish. It was all delicious. I would definitely eat there again. Then it was sleepy time.

The next day was a morning full of preparation for the pamirs. We had to get our tire vulcanized after getting destroyed by the Turkmenistan roads, find a tow cable, water, and food. Marshal and Patrick go off to get the groceries and get the tire vulcanized.

The vulcanization process in Dushanbe is quite amazing. Marshal and Patrick were greeted warmly then served some super pink chai. The process took about an hour so many many many cups of this super chai were consumed while smiles and friendly hugs were had.

After a quick, bankomat (ATM) stop at the Radisson and kebab lunch, we were off to the Pamir Highway!! We ended up near Kulob for the night, just stopped on the side of the road in some field as the sun set over the mountains. At 7:40 pm we started our ColdPruf Unionsuit challenge and put on our union suits, which we would be wearing for the next 2 days straight. This would prove to more challenging than we thought.

Marshal and I played around with some night photography, while Patrick, whom wasn’t feeling too well, fell asleep on a tarp on the ground. We all eventually went to bed ready to conquer the Pamirs in the morning….

So we woke up with some interesting stories and news in the morning… Marshal was sleeping in the car for some reason and his union suit was hanging on the side of the car…

What happen last night?!??! So apparently those kebabs or whatever he had eaten the night before did not sit well with his stomach. An innocent fart had turned into a nightmarish explosion. The shart would be the culprit. As we are all laughing and trying our best not to embarrass Marshal anymore than he already was… Josiah sits up in his sleeping bag, then has a facepalm look about his face and realizes he had shared in Marshal’s fate also.

As I’m repacking the roof rack, I pull on our food bag and a piece of firewood rockets out from underneath straight on to my big toe… I never knew there could be so much blood from a toe… A nice little gash, but nothing our trusty first aid kit can’t fix…

After a bit of washing and emptying of everyone’s bowels, we were off still in good spirits to the Pamirs, though some of us were a more sickly in the back…

As we approached the Pamirs, driving on crazy bumpy roads, we turn and see Marshal breathing a bit strangely and not in Marshal-esk fashion. We hand Marshal a trash bag for good measure then continue on….

About 10 kilometers down the road, an eruption is happening in the backseat as we are winding down the bumpiest road ever. Marshal is throwing up in the backseat into the bag, but the bag isn’t opened really..so its just going into a small area in the bag…and becoming overflowing….while the car is bumping up and down and Patrick is trying to find a place to pull over and not get destroyed by the semi’s behind us…

Marshal ends up chucking the bag out the window…with a bit of “stuff” landing on Patrick and the car and Marshal’s lap… Patrick finally finds a stop to pull over and Marshal proceeds to projectile vomit his stomach outside… Then the cleaning process begins and we “air” out the car for a goood 30 minutes, empty our spray deodorant and wet wipes…

What a great start to the Pamirs… we get into Khurog still in our red union suits getting lots of stares and giggles. We walk into a store to get water, meds for Marshal and ice cream to lift our spirits. We drive along a scenic river view, the rest of the day along bumpy gravel roads, circling landslide areas and eventually camp out with hammocks at a gazebo on the side of the road.

At this point we are getting fairly high in altitude… my head is spinning and nassau is starting to set in and that kebab from Dushanbe is hitting me at this point.. everyone’s stomachs are brewing something nasty… it would not be a good night..

I’m pretty sure I got altitude sickness. The diarrhea is just a norm for everyone at this point as we only wonder when we will be able to poop solid again. Trying our best to even remember when that was. Josiah leaps the gazebo in the middle of the night to projectile vomit his dinner of rice and beans and Tajikistan spam. Everyone at some point in the night squirts out whatever was in their stomachs. It was a miserable night for everyone…

(Josiah’s perspective)

As we began the nightly process of pitching camp, it was clear that everyone was not at full strength. Jon appeared to be feeling the affects of altitude sickness and barely manage to take some meds before lying down incapacitated by dizziness. Patrick began a regiment of alternating between throwing up and lying down while Marshal wandering around deciding between puking or pooping. To everyones credit, whenever someone was feeling better they would come help cook or pitch camp until it exhausted them to much. We managed to cook over a fire, despite limited wood before everyone passed out, having eaten very little. The night consisted of alternating runs to the latrine for everyone, with sickness coming out one end or another.

We Raced a Tank in the Pamirs

We Raced a Tank in the Pamirs

Things get hairy again approaching Afghanistan

Things get hairy again approaching Afghanistan