Opinion: Tajiks

The way of living is not that different here and in Kyrgyzstan, so many of the things written for the first are valid for the latter. Still, couple of differences I’d like to mention.

Tajiks, just like Kyrgyzs, are scattered around different countries. They may not be as obvious to spot as Kyrgyzs but they’re still there. This country, like many others in the area, was “designed” with a pen over a map: it needed to have one million people in order to be considered a country, acording to the beliefs of those times, and that’s how this borders came up. Because of that you may be inside political Tajikistan and still feel as if you were in Kyrgyzstan very often, and viceversa. Almost every Tajik will tell you they’re good friends with Kyrgyzs but not with Uzbeks, by the way!

Still, there are plenty of Tajiks in areas like Samarkanda, in Uzbekistan. The fact that Uzbekistan is a little bit afraid of losing their possesion because of so many foreigners is the reason why the border near Samarkanda is closed even for locals (it always is for tourists).

Actually, since most of the Tajik borders present lots of issues, I’ve written a post only about that matter.

Not only Uzbeks represent problems here: just like in Kyrgyzstan, the presence of Russia is very strong, especially on TV.

Tajiks are on average friendlier than Kyrgyzs. Or maybe just more open. They’ll invite you for tea all the time, to the point where it can be a little bit too much sometimes. Saying “no” when cycling is easy, but otherwise… Lots will offer to take you and your bike on their cars if they find you going uphill. The concept of effor when cycling obviously doesn’t make much sense to them!!

The South is a perfect place for cycling; the North is a little bit more dangerous due to traffic (no, the Death Tunnel is NOT a problem; read the post from that day if interested), but overall roads are better. Only one police post gave us real problems because they were asking for money; the rest were ok. Safety is great everywhere, and camping is not a problem at all.

It’s a cheap country as well, again sleeping being the most expensive part: they never expect less than 6 USD per person without meals, usually around 10. Dushanbe is FAR more expensive than the rest of the country by the way! Sleeping in restaurants is quite common: when you fijd these square wooden platforms where they eat, you can spend the night there as well. They just expect you to have dinner and maybe breakfast there, that’s all. Meals are around 1.5 euros.

Just because lots of people asked about this: do not expect rain in summer. The Pamirs have some continental weather, which means that, even if it may rain, it’s not very likely during summertime. Even in winter it doesn’t snow that much: precipitations are not very common. Still, we did found a little bit of rain (actually it was snow) and some people we found told is that couple of days before it had snowed consistently. But, again, this is not very common.

Dushanbe and surroundings (and that includes almost everywhere down from Khorog) are hot in summer, of course, but not as hot as Pakistan was, for example. Still, stopping for a long break at midday was the wise thing to do.



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