Khorog, Tajikistan | 27 September, 2006 | $8
One of the two guys I was traveling with in Tajikistan flew into Khorog a day early and met me at the airport. He had walked, but a nice petroleum businessman from South America befriended me on the plane and offered us a ride in his fancy SUV. Apparently when my friend arrived he simply walked down the main street with his backpack until a little woman named Gulnara grabbed him, led him to her house and started feeding him. With no real hotels in town things like this just work out. Our adopted mother was delighted to see more people and immediately began fussing over us.
The house was uphill from the main street through a small dirt alley about 6 feet wide. The street was lined with high walls and her bright blue door opened up into a small yard with a stream and pear trees. At the back was an outhouse next to the goat pen. This and the stream would prove interesting when going to the bathroom at night and I learned quickly to turn down tea after dinner. Our other friend arrived the next day and the two men were given bedrolls on the platform but I was given the honor of the bed in the corner. My back would have much preferred to sleep on the floor but I couldn’t be rude.
It was an interesting place to stay and since we didn’t speak Russian and Gulnara didn’t speak any English we just paid her a random amount when we left. Three people at that price should have been a pretty good amount of money for the family. She was cooking all the time and made hand made potato fritters. When we ate in the market (to see what it was like) the woman felt bad about her cooking and I had to eat some of both of the guys’ dinners to keep up appearances. Although she was a good cook for the region it was at this point that I pretty much lost all interest in food. I just could eat any more of those same three dishes. Not only did Gulnara make sure we were fed but she also dyed my eyebrows (without asking me first) and made her granddaughter wash my hair. Now that’s customer service!