Day 12 – 3rd June, 2012: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

7.00 a.m. A good Bus stand for Dushanbe. I got ready in the Hotel and left at 6.15 a.m. Downstairs at the reception I gave the keys and collected my passport. Outside I got Bus No.35 for Dushanbe Bus Stand. A very smiling old woman asked me going to Dushanbe. The entire family was going. There were ten folks who came to leave them. They all immediately got into a large van.  I followed them and they agreed to take me. There is an old woman. Three other young women were sitting at the back seat where I also sat.  There are two very young granddaughters.  We all fit into this van. Another person also joined. We both sat in the backside and women settled in front. One old woman distributed two pieces of dry milk.  I was also given.  I hope I enjoy this ride first time like this for me.  It is a 10 hrs drive. It is warmer now.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan

10.30 a.m. : We reached at this mountain pass with plenty of snow at 9.45 a.m.  The pass was closed since last night due to some truck blocking the way. We don’t know how long it will take to clear the traffic.  Many vehicles have gone down. I met Ranf who is also travelling. He is making for US Aid and speaks good English. He told me that from Dushanbe, it takes 5 hrs to Samarkand and another 3 hrs to Tashkent. At Dushanbe, hotel Dushanbe is cheap and good.
Now the road was bad and untarred but if I compare it with Rohtang Pass or Zozila Pass, this is nothing.  We drove up the way mountain one side of the road is snow side 8-10 feet high. There is no glacier in sight. Then coming down. Jumps became high and then we climbed down to mountains. There is a tunnel which is being constructed by the Chinese then travel to Dushanbe would be good.
We stopped at the only restaurant enroute. I sat on a table and asked for tea.  I had bread with me. Then I slept for some time.  We went through a long tunnel to avoid another climb and down of the mountains.  The snow was again by the side of road.
Half an before Dushanbe, van again stopped. Now washed the dust with preserved water, cleaned and we all came to Dushanbe Taxi Station.  I paid 100 Som after some arguments. I wanted to pay less because of uncomfortable sitting. Finally I gave the money and crossed the road. At the Bus stand I kept the bag on the platform and then chatted with someone on my left. I was absolutely blank about Dushanbe. This man knew English and we talked about Dushanbe. On my right was another person not knowing English but trying to speak.  Another person joined in.  They all were waiting for a Bus.  This place is quite far from the city. Farukh, the first person conversing in English was with his wife who I came to know later and he was an English teacher.  They told me that in Sivka area Hotel Furman will be good and charging 50 Som i.e. US $10.  I have to change two buses.
The second  person who joined later had seen the world. He had been to 200 countries as told. He has been to India and seen Taj Mahal. The second person had an apartment of six bed rooms and he offered one room for US $2. I did not agree. Farukh and his wife then got up and asked me to come to take a Mini van. I got in with my two rucksacks. Ticket is 1 Som (Rs.10) every ride. We got down at another place and then got electric bus. It was a big bus. Now Farukh gave me a running commentary about the buildings on both the side.  This was very important street. All Universities, technical colleges, old Presidential houses and new President’s house, beautiful gardens all were here. Then we got down at another place. Indian Embassy is  at walking distance from here. Farukh  too stays here. He got me Mini Bus No.2 and told the driver to stop near Hotel Furhan and bade me bye. He gave his phone number and e-mail and I gave him my card.
Driver stopped after sometime and showed me the hotel across the road.  I got down and found a good market on right side with restaurants and mini super markets etc.

It was  6 p.m. and I was feeling hungry. Nearby restaurant was showing Hamburger, French fries and coke and I ordered one combo.  It was expensive 15 Som.  Anyhow I ate and then came back to the Hotel.  Room was on the 4th Floor for 60 Som (US $ 12). I was negotiating for 50 Som but Receptionist did not agree.
I came up with my baggage. It is a set of two rooms. One room with double bed and one with single room. There is a common toilet and bathroom. There was no water at the moment.  Room is good with one wardrobe, one small table, balcony, bed with clean linen, the big pillows and one quilt with covers. I rested for a while. My mobile was not working. I went down and one person helped me in inserting the Sim Card of Megafa. From the reception phone I called up Farukh and thanked him. I asked him to meet me tomorrow. I will call him again. After my mobile was working, I called him to give my mobile no.  Outside I met 2-3 Afghans who knew Urdu. We chatted and went to other side to the market again. I found an internet and given  2 Som for 30 minutes. I wrote a page but as I was sending, the time got over.  All efforts went wasted. It was 9.15 p.m.  I walked the market and bought a can of juice and bread and then walked back to the hotel. At 10 p.m., I ate small bread and made a cup of tea. And then went to sleep.

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