Monday, June 4, 2012


Unhappy Kylob
Worst hotel of all I think and $50!
Huge ex soviet building. Everything was worn out but that is usually okay and not why it we described it as crazy!
They must have had someone else in the room before us as there was a full ashtray, an empty used teapot, two tea cups (she rinsed the cups in the bathroom while we watched) and two dirty drinking cups. The sheets werebeing changed as we arrived but they looked dirty.
They left the teapot et cetera(took the full ashtray).
The water was not on but there were soft drink bottles all through the bathroom. The water came on about eight.and thankfully so did the hot water. We realized this when there was shouting and loud knocking on our door followed by the door handle being rattled!!! Our host raced into the bathroom and flicked some switches and gave Craig some instructions. (the switch on the wall was all exposed.)
It was very hot so we had the windows open all night and the door out to the verandah which seemed to have a lean so I chose not to venture out!
There were light fittings everywhere but only one light bulb in the lounge room.
The tv was working :). The fridge was not plugged in and don't think had ever been used as had an Australian plug. The air conditioner didn't work.
We decided to leave early. Thank goodness we did because they were wanting to clean our room as I was doing the baggage trips down to the bike.
We had the previous night gone for a walk through the main street and just got some yoghurt and juice for dinner. Thank goodness we'd stopped at that mountain top for the stew/soup and coffee!
Kulob to Desh
We set off early and it's a good thing we did as the road was slow and rocky and sandy at other times.
We got to see Afghanistan across the small but sometimes raging Panj river.beautiful lush green gardens of Eden by the water now and then. You could see people in their colorful long clothes walking everywhere or sometimes a motorbike.
The houses were mainly of mud brick with moulded steps and accessories et cetera.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug We came across a group near some construction machinery who must have had a meeting . They waved so we stopped to say hello. The two machinery drivers set off up the red dirt hill track we'd just come down on. The others stayed to chat and take photos and one shared his email with Craig.
We rode long into the day and at about two we stopped at a village hotel where they called out to stop and eat. We were both pretty beat as Craig had ridden hard and I was starting to feel yuk plus hadn't been to the toilet yet since I asked at a petrol shop ( side story. Two girls were there to collect water. They waited patiently as we got our petrol. I asked them if I could take a photo. One of them I noticed especially as she had her eyebrow pencilled all across to make one long one. She wasn't particularly dark and so that made it more obvious. It hasn't come out very well on the photo but it reminds me.)
So we stopped at the hotel where people were lying on the lounges. We asked for a toilet and the old lady walked me to a tent with a strong wooden floor and a hole. I went in and took off all my clothes and went and felt a bit better after that.
When I walked out she was there waiting which was really lovely. They had a flowing tap of water to wash your hands and she asked a young girl who ended up being her granddaughter's friend to translate a little. She knew a little English.
Craig had settled on a lounge and had ordered choi and soup. Another man was lying on the other lounge. I walked over to Craig
I talked to the lady and said I am a babushka too. She had a little granddaughter with her too who had a little dress on and a necklace on. I went to the bike and got her a little koala.
I went to craig and the man brought out the tea and asked if Craig wanted to eat in or out. He said out but then the girl and the woman's two granddaughters said to me to come inside. Then it came clear women don't eat with men. I asked and they said no, they don't..I asked why and she honestly answered "I can't answer that."
I said I would but also mentioned that men and women eat together in australia.
The grandaughternspoke better English and asked me my name before the previous discussion . I walked to the kitchen but when my soup was ready they said to go and sit with Craig.
By the time they said I could sit with him he had finished. I ate mine while he paid the bill and we said goodbye.
I can still remember the lady's kind eyes.
We kept going and enjoying all the scenery.
We came to a checkpoint where we gave our passports. The policeman there was telling the trucks stopped there to come the other way there was going to be an explosion so they'd have to wait. We were certainly blessed we had got through that bit earlier.
As we drove through Desh we saw the homestay sign close to the water so we stopped.
Desh homestay between kyob and Khorog
We asked near the sign and the neighbor to the homestay showed us the way up the side road access to their house. We met the father and his brother who were really friendly. The brother knew more English and mentioned he had google translate on his computer up the road.
They showed us that we could sleep outside or in in two other rooms. We ended up In the first room inside where we could shut the door but the bike was just outside.
We were both feeling really tired and I had been feeling sick. I hadn't slept very well at the hotel at Kylob. And I think the attitude and hard riding hadn't helped. We had left Kylob as early as we could it was so unpleasant.
We asked if we could have a meal and that was okay but I don't know if that put our hostess out. We had paid 50 pounds when we didn't have the 100 somone which would have been $20. The stay also included breakfast.
There was no mention of a shower so I don't know where they did so themselves. They had fruit trees and vege gardens all around their house which was in two buildings. The one we didn't see inside and the one we were staying in. There was an eating tent making it a u shape all together.
We washed our hands when they brought the dinner which was huge meat filled noodles with cumin? And nuts of some kind inside. I couldn't eat it all even though we had only had one yoghurt for breakfast and a small bowl of soup at that place where I wasn't supposed to sit and eat with craig.
They also had brought beautiful cup of tea which hit the spot.
The wife then came over with four eggs and asked if that was okay for breakfast which was lovely. She didn't seem happy at first but slowly warmed up to us I hope. His brother, I think, was there when we got there and knew a little english but no one of the family knew any. They had a book which the wife brought out later that night.
Their toilet was one of those wooden ones with a hole in the strong wooden floor. It was a hole but with a extra long bit to accommodate men I guess.
There was also a hole in two sides of the toilet walls which was fun to look through. I took a photo both ways. The toilet was near the road which was near the rushing river which separated you from Afghanistan where there was a track and Craig said he had seen people but I didn't get that photo :)
I made sure I had a skirt and top on so it was easier to go!!! Slept that way too but in the end I didn't need to. Think I was a bit dehydrated. Didn't have to even when I got up to check out a scratching in the next room.
Got the head torch and after ascertaining nothing was in the room I closed the door to the other bedroom. I had jumped closer to Craig at first but he hadn't even heard.
Before were so tired we went to bed at 8:30 but before that we had spoken with the wife - have name elsewhere. I shared photos of my kids after her asking how old I was. (she had a booklet with phrases ) she was 40. At the end we ascertained that she normally had breakfast at 5'am. We asked if it could be later and she was happy with 8.. Lazy Australians. :)
We slept til about 7!!! I had a leisurely look at all the photos before we got up. I had a look around and after going to the toilet went to wash my hands at the back of the house and looked at all the fruit trees and saw where they cook in a little hut. I mentioned the fruit trees and asked what they all were. The daughter knew a tiny bit of English. They brought me out some dried mulberries from the kitchen to taste!
They were scrumptious and tasted just like sultanas only better.
We had our gorgeous eggs and thick bread and jam. We also had dried mulberries and biscuits and so much. And of course the beautiful tea! With condensed milk.
While we packed up they sat and chatted with each other and a couple of visitors. We took photos and one of their friends or relatives knew english so he gave us his email address.
Our first homestay a success :)
And off we went to Khorog!
No money
Deli Debar
Khorog - Delhi bar.
We arrived in Khorog with Craig feeling very worried about money. He was looking for a bank that would let him use his MasterCard to no avail. My internet wasn't working also. While he went to the bank I went to TCell. No go for either of us. Tcell really busy because lunch so big line up as they tried to fix so I said I would go back in hour or two.
Had seen information desk so I went to look for that while Craig tried another bank. Had to ask a young girl and she asked her teacher and after a while we ascertained that it was the tourist centre I needed and it was through some gates near a park -just where I was but further. They need more signs :)
They had a map there and she advised on motels et cetera. We should have stayed at palmir lodger or homestay but we went for what we thought would give us wifi and a bit lo luxuryat del dabar - which had an Indian restaurant but to its credit it had a kettle!!! And a bar fridge so we boiled water and cooled it which was great. It was hot and the air conditioner didn't work plus it was a bit dingy. The breakfast was a tub of yoghurt and a omelette with chives and little sausages cut into little cute shapes. But the restaurant was dingy too.
It was a worry all day for craig re money but we did go for a few walks up the street.
We listened to Christian tv - they had three stations :)
Off to bed and had to have our four windows opened. During the night I woke in the middle of a dream to see something hanging through the blinds, caught, and I thought for a second it was my bra hanging down and went to pull it down and realized it was a cat. We turned the light on because I screamed. Craig must have woken. The poor cat was hiding under a dining chair and was very timid. Craig picked her up and put her in the hallway. We saw her the next day lying on a made up bed in the levels reception area (nĂ´ longer in use.) I hope they treated her well. Craig thought she was full of babies. We told the receptionist who was also our waitress for breakfast.
Lumore's lodge
Khorog - homestay -the next day 7/6/2012 Craig's mum and his sister Katherine ran around everywhere trying to send us money as all bank ATMs wouldn't take his or my MasterCard. After breakfast encouraged him to try to just go into the bank and use his card as in Samarkand when the ATMs weren't working for everyone.
It ended up that both worked so we now have plenty in case of similar emergencies!
It was 11:30 am by the time we were all packed after Craig had picked up the other from agar bank via western union from Katherine.
We then went to leave and the receptionist said they had another room free now unexpectedly but we preferred to try somewherelse.
We drove up to the direction of the palmir lodge but saw a homestay sign and decided to stay here and have been so glad.
Lalmore is our hostess and is always so very gracious and accommodating. At the moment her sister is visiting from Moscow with her daughter and she has been busy with us and others , Swiss couple first night, Japanese couple second night just us third night. She cooked us all dinner the second night which was divine. Chicken curry and rice and a salad and dried mulberries, plums, figs, sultanas.tea and cherry juice - real cherry juice.
Our breakfasts have been one to look forward to each morning not as flash as Marion's guesthouse but lovely big slices bread, real apricot jam (so many apricots you can count., Cherries(still with pips).
Lalmore said that they usually only have milky tea themselves for breakfast as that is what they love.
The first afternoon we went and had lunch at the cafe by the river which was just lovely. I had chicken chow mien and Craig the curry beef. We watched the kids (all boys) swimming in the raging river . Some jumping in and swimming past rocks to shore quickly as not to be swept further down. Others jumped in way to our left and did the same past us . It would have been freezing. We saw this on the 9th too when we went about 1:30 after the Afghan markets.
The first night we didn't have dinner. I had been on the toilet all afternoon into the evening and didn't feel like anything. Craig had biscuits -.whole packet -(little).
First morning we talked to Barbara and Marcus from Switzerland while they had breakfast before they whizzed off for an appointed time with a jeep from Palmir Lodge with two other Australians.
We went down to the normal markets to look for a journal and bought one and an ice cream and then were bowled up by Zeba a local from 14 kms away. She was nicely dressed and spoke very fast English and didnt always listen to what we were saying, she said she spoke to foreigners to practice her English. She walked with us. I tried to take a couple of photos.
We didn't buy anything except some pancakes -looked like battered fish). We gave her some and then sat down and had some water -ended up being soda water. She had spoke of her twin sister a lot and how not to drink beer and smoke because her parents don't and yet her dad had a big belly. She also spoke of the unemployed boys and how more of their girls were at university.
She had been at university for four years learning English but said she couldn't get a job because she kept fainting and trying to get cure.
Before we went for the water she introduced us to two of her professors from the Agha Kan university but they weren't her English professors. One was especially friendly and invited us to his house 25 kms away where they were going. We said no thanks about four times :)
She also introduced from afar some one else she knew from college ready to drive a packed car. Took a photo and said hello (asked permission for photo).
She ended up admitting that she would like 10 somones from us for her treatment. Craig have her 20 and we said goodbye. (we have been praying for her since. Better late than never!!??!!)
We walked home and awaited the dinner we had ordered from Lalmore and weren't disapponted!! She looked stunning too in her headdress and lovely dress.
We got to know the three Japanese guests over dinner a little, can't remember their names though the girl Craig said is Kim. She wasn't eating, just drank some juice after trying to get the tv to work. I think she understood English the best.
They left the next morning as we were getting up as they had decided to try to get a flight from Khorog airport. Apparently getting onto a flight is usually very hard as weather is one factor and also only there are only 14 seats on the plane plus these quite often are filled with government officials. They were coming back if weren't able to but did not return.
Saturday 9/6/2012
Craig slept in and decided we would like to stay another night as I had been keen on the afghan markets which start at nine. We didn't get there til 11:45 so maybe not as much there but Craig bought a pancake and we walked quickly around and bought a tablecloth for his mum and a hat for him to keep as a souvenir. We travelled by taxi bus there and back which was great. On our own from town markets and packed out on the way back.
We then went to the cafe again Craig for a salad and I wasn't hungry but we stayed there ages just watching everyone; the kids again in the river, bit more tentatively this time as colder still, ladies across the river washing big rugs by using bucketed water from the river.
I ended up ordering a hot chocolate and cake and Craig a hot chocolate also.
We tried to see the craft stall which we thought was in the youth centre but after walking in it was closed.
On walking home we stopped into a little shop and met a lovely lady who spoke a little English called Asher. We took a photo after buying two packets biscuits and a box of juice for the road. She told Craig the hat was for me :). We later ascertained it is a mans hat.
We dilly dallied the rest of the afternoon, Craig on phone and sleeping and me watching the washing in huge wind and enjoying the scenery and having a quiet time with bible and prayer and song.
In the morning while Craig had been sleeping in I had watched a shepherd herding his sheep up the mountain and also been listening to a neighbors music traditional style. Was lovely morning even though I didn't know if we were going or not that day.
After sharing photos with Lalmore and Katchya we went down to have dinner but all restaurants closed - 8:30. We went to a little shop and bought bread, two minute noodles and yoghurt for dinner. We bothered Lalmore for boiling water and in the end she made us a pot of tea also and brought more dried fruits; a real treat. We met her hubby properly and chatted and took photos and while we ate our dinner in the lounge room on the floor they chatted in the kitchen.
Off to bed for last night :)
Very nice
Sad to go

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