As well as weirdly textured pasta sauce the 20th saw our landscape improve, with trees teetering on the edge of autumn as we reached the fat, lazy part of the Panj and got to enjoy drifting along the more fertile stretches of river, finding huge comfort in the increase in greenery. We were again reminded of our proximity to Afghanistan when Ed’s phone automatically set itself to Kahbul time, but happily saw no sign of grenades, just plenty of friendly waves from well-dressed school kids heading home for lunch. Late that afternoon we approached the town of Rushan, and for the first time in forever found real, smooth, freshly laid tarmac. On the @dannyvenn
scale of road surfaces (patent pending), this would sit firmly at the top at ‘baby killer whale’ level, and Ed was overjoyed to the extent of getting off his bike to kiss the ground. Town saw an impromptu gathering of at least 10 cycle tourists heading every which way, some new faces and some we’d met previously. After a brief chat and an exchange of directions to the local bank, everyone headed off in different directions, some east to the Bartang Valley, some back west the way we’d come towards Kalai Khum, and some, including us, south towards either the Wahkan Corridor or the M41 Pamir Highway. A successful bank visit left us with cash in hand for the first time in days, and as we left town we dived into a local shop to stock up. Our chat with the lady behind the till included the now familiar questions of ‘how old are you?’ and ‘do you have children?’ and Emily geared herself up for the now familiar look of horror as she answered ‘30’ and ‘no’. On this occasion however the unexpected response was a look of overwhelming elation and relief as the woman exclaimed ‘I 30 with no childrens too!’ and beamed with joy at the shared camaraderie.
#autumn #autumncolours #trees #autumnleaves #panj #panjriver #goodtarmac #greattarmac #danvennscaleofroadsurfaces #kisstheground #happyed #30andchildless #camaraderie #notalone #tajikistan #pamir #cycletour #cycletouring #thornraven @thorncycles #thornbike #ortlieb @ortlieb