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ON THIS SIDE OF PYANDJ

From here for three days you go northeastwards,
all over mountains, and ascend the highest place on earth, as they say
Twelve days you go across the plain called Pamirs,
and all the time there is no dwelling and no grass; food should be taken with you.
There are no birds for it is very high and cold there.
Because of the great cold the fire is not as light as in other places,
and its color is different.

Marco Polo, The Description of the World

 

Preface
Chapter 1. THE KINKING WAY TO THE CAPITAL OF THE PAMIRS
Chapter 2. THE STORY REPEATS
Chapter 3. STRONGHOLDS OF THE WAKHAN VALLEY
Chapter 4. PAMIRIS AND BADAKHSHANIS
Chapter 5. AFGHAN BANK IS OF NO NEED TO YOU
Chapter 6. GOING HOME

PREFACE

Karaganda Almaty Bishkek Osh Murghab Khorog valley of the Khidorjivdara river nameless pass, Wakhan (Shokhdara) mountain range valley of the Nishusp river Khorog Ishkashim Yamchun Ptup Shitkharv Ishkashim Khorog Murghab Osh Bishkek Almaty Karaganda

(July 2007)

When in Autumn 2006 my friend Sasha Yermolyonok and I were trying to get out of China via Kyrgyz Irkeshtam, near the Sarytash village I saw a direction sign Murghab. Then I felt a twinge at heart I was longing to shrug off everything, to take our bicycles out of KAMAZ that was driving us and set off not for home, the way to which lay across Osh, but directly for the Pamirs, the mysterious country of mountains, called The roof of the world from time immemorial. But we were waited for impatiently at home at that time; besides, our resources had been almost exhausted, so we had to stifle that adventure-like mood. But since then I became more aware of the desire to get to the Pamirs.

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