The highlight of this day was supposed to be the Karaikum lake (well, reservoir) but it ended up being… the people!!
The road is nothing but that, asfalt, traffic and heat. Not much to mention. I used the southern route to avoid Khujand; not much traffic here (especially almost no truck!!) and it goes through some green fields instead of the middle of a city. Back in the main road, town after town start to appear. It will be like that (except some few kilometers after Arak) all the way until the end of this day. The traffic, even if not bad, is constant, and they drive pretty fast here.
The market in Arak was nice but small. It made a nice stop. People here are mainly Kyrgyzs, not Tajik, and it makes perfect sense: half the town is in Kyrgyzstan, the other half in Tajikistan. What a mess! Some towns host Uzbek people as well in this area. The borders are really crazy around here, but I guess the worst will come tomorrow, trying to enter Kyrgyzstan but not wanting to touch Uzbekistan. Anyway, tomorrow’s stories.
I was expecting to make lots of stops by the lake as well, but the fact that it’s not very close to the road and that the shore is muddy didn’t make it for me. Some slight head wind made the temperature more bearable, it was really hot here. Still, it’s a very easy ride to Konibodon, a nice city that has not too much to offer except beer (they served it everywhere here).
But as I have mentioned, what made this day special was people.
First they paid my food. I didn’t see that coming. I was talking to some locals on a restaurant, answering the usual questions (age, married, children, country, profession, etc) and, when they were about to leave, they indicated lunch was paid. I wasn’t even being too nice, since i was tired of answering the same questions time and time again!!
I stopped for an ice cream 20 kms before the end. And not only the woman at the shop didn’t let me pay for that, she and her husband gave me a bottle of mineral water! They insisted so much!
Can you imagine yourself in Europe (or in lots of other places) buying food and drinks to some random foreigner? I can’t picture myself. Yes, people are great!!