Badakhshani Express: Scraping the Pamir Mountains with Tajik Air

As the end of our Tajik visas rapidly approached (overstaying one’s visa in Tajikistan comes highly unrecommended), circumstances forced us to take a puddle-jumping lunch box with wings from Khorog, the main town in Tajikistan's Pamir Mountains, to the country’s capital Dushanbe.

Pamir Mountains, Tajik Air
Tajik Air from Khorog to Dushanbe, Tajikistan

The following is a two minute video from the flight. The first 30 seconds are from the taxi and takeoff of the previous day’s flight. The next 90 seconds are mid-air. Keep in mind that the camera was not on zoom.

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A Goat and Five Fingers: A Ramadan Experience in Kyrgyzstan

Our travels in Kyrgyzstan overlapped with Ramadan. For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection and renewal. While the majority of Kyrgyzstan’s Muslims do not appear to strictly adhere to the fasting requirements of the holiday, it still plays an important role in the country’s social and cultural landscape. The timing of our visit there offered us a unique window of insight into Kyrgyz culture…and a few challenging moments of discomfort.

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A Perfect Day in Kyrgyzstan

Though you might think that each day on a journey like this is blessed by beautiful fairy tale scenery, gourmet ethnic food, impeccable accommodation, comfortable transport and the best that humanity has to offer, the reality is often different. We thought it might be interesting to share what a “perfect day” looks and feels like to us.

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Ashgabat, The City of Love: A Scavenger Hunt

Ashgabat has been adorned by many beautiful buildings, which made unique architectural ensemble. – A quote on the reverse side of an “official” postcard of the main drama theater named after Turkmenbashi.

One part Las Vegas, another part Pyong Yang, Ashgabat springs up out of the middle of nowhere in the Turkmen desert. You wonder how and you wonder why.

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No Beards, No Spandex: Rules to Live By?

No less idiosyncratic than its architecture, Turkmenistan's laws are the stuff of laughter and legend. Though locals may plead ignorance or flat out deny that some of these laws ever existed, here's what we discovered about some of the more notable whacky entries conjured up by the former president, Sapmurat Niyazov (otherwise known as Turkmenbashi, Leader of all Turkmens).

What's true and what's Turkmenbashi urban myth? Here's the scoop on Turkmenistan's laws and rules based on our peek inside the country.

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Battle at the Border

kazakhstan battle

Have you ever watched the news and witnessed escaping refugees at a border crossing, crushed against iron bars like animals in a cage? You know the scene. Now superimpose two backpack-laden white faces onto that newsreel, throw in a few cries of “Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan” amongst the shrieks of old women and children being squashed in a sea of madness, and you would just begin to understand what we went through at the Uzbek-Kazakh border yesterday.

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Images from Uzbekistan

Taking advantage of free wireless internet in Tashkent, we've decided to conclude our time here by uploading photos from Uzbekistan's Silk Road.

Tashkent has been the most connected city in Central Asia thus far. Rather ironic considering Uzbekistan's penchant for blocking internet sites and restricting printed material. Just one of the many contradictions here.

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