Dean is washing the dishes in the bath tub tonight… He also made a bottle opener out of a coat hanger for an $8 bottle of wine… Times are tough… We have just arrived in the apartment we have rented in Dushanbe for the next week and have found that the ‘double bed’ has a single mattress in the middle of it and there is no sink in the kitchen or the bathroom. It’s all very strange but it is the cheapest place in town for $16 USD per night! Everything is expensive here in comparison to the last 8 months of our trip… I guess that’s what you get the closer to Europe you get!
So now we have the visa wait to do. We have two options… Our original plan was to go from here to Uzbekistan, a transit visa through Turkmenistan then to Iran but based on the reputation of rejections and slow processing time of Turkmenistan we have a back up plan which is from here to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, transit visa through Russia to Georgia, Azerbaijan then Iran… It’s a long way round but a way to avoid waiting on our asses for 2 weeks for a possible rejected Turkmenistan visa in Dushanbe…. So… First we have to wait for our ‘letter of invitation’ to come through for Iran, which should arrive in the next couple of days… Once we have this we can start to work out what path to take.
The ride here along the Afghanistan border was beautiful. Afghanistan would be a beautiful country to travel around one day! We tried to take a road that had been recommended to us but due to a lot of rain the night before and my dislike for skidding in deep soft mud for kilometres on end on the edge of a mountain we had to turn around and take the highway. I was happy to walk but we had no idea how long the mud would go on for and it had started to rain. We both felt defeated to turn around and I felt extra bad as I knew Dean could have done it without me. It was shaping up to be another stunning ride too.
Anyway, back on the bitumen we made our way to Dushanbe. It was beautiful but not the same as the previous few days… Or maybe we were over saturated with beauty!
It was a slow ride as the traffic police here are full on. We think the speed limit must be 60 but there are no signs to tell you. We were pulled over twice but we usually managed to get away with the ‘we don’t understand’ act. They get impatient with us and realise we’re not going to give them a bribe so they shoo us away. One smart policemen got a friend that spoke English on the phone (he didn’t go for the ‘we speak australian’ act) so we couldn’t really avoid this one. It was going to be a $8 fine for 10kph over the limit which we would have paid. While Dean was waiting at the police car for three policeman to write out a ticket I was sitting on the bike watching car after car speed past. After a while I impatiently took off my helmet and jacket and stormed over to the police car…
‘How many policemen does it take to write a ticket!?’
They smile nervously…
‘One, two, three, policemen for one ticket as there are cars zoom zoom zooming past all the time?!’
They smile again,.. I think they understood… the main fat lazy policemen who was writing the ticket then handed Deans license back to him…
‘Go…. Good luck’
We were not sure if he meant good luck for our journey or good luck with your mad girlfriend, but we got away with no ticket or bribe so we were happy!
So here we are trying to make a temporary home in an apartment with only half a kitchen and half a bed, trying the local vodka and eating Russian caviar. Facebook seems blocked and or limited here and we expect the internet situation to be the same if not worse the closer to Iran we get. Hopefully this blog wont also be blocked at any stage!