In search of the perfect cup…

If you ever find yourself wondering the streets of Tashkent or Dushambe in search of a proper cup of coffee do not despair!
After a hard day of registration-hunting in Dushambe I’ve come across this cool and trendy cafe in Rajabov street where I enjoyed a well-earned cappuccino.
Slightly more tricky in Tashkent where Dick (Dutch guy cycling) and I sat ourselves down for a cup and were presented a bill of 14.000 sum! (about 12$) When I told Alisher his reply was ”Well yes… you went to a place for ‘cool’ people”…. Ah… silly me. He showed me a place a few blocks down where the coffee is better and the prices too, a slight lack of atmosphere like in the rest of Tashkent but the coffee is good.

It isn’t the most happening place but I did manage to squeeze in two birthday parties, Nigora’s 30th and her moms 50th. Alisher helped me buying them presents and I had to give a speech. I like the way they dance, a bit different from the Turkmen, jumping around on ska-like Russian tunes. The more vodka, the more dancing Very Happy🙂
My last day there I came home to a room full of broken glass, books all over the place but the aquarium miraculously survived, at first I thought of burglars but soon I realized there wasn’t anything missing and the other rooms were fine. Maybe my host has gone crazy, but no… The whole wall of shelves just came down! Messy.

But two weeks in Tashkent, however nice Nigora, Alisher and everybody else has been to me, is enough. I was very happy to receive the last visa and make my way down to Samarqand where I found 9(!!!) other cyclist in the hostel. Great to chat and hear what awaits me, and even better to actually get back in the saddle.
Everything looks, smells and taste just a little bit better when you cycle. When there are birds singing, sun shining and people smiling, and you get invited by random people for tea, lunch and grapes straight out the gardens…. tralalalala

I don’t know why I bothered with the whole registration-business in Uzbekistan, the border guards asked for nothing, …except where my husband is..
“Hello Lady, welcome to Tajikistan” the first words in a new country. The landscape is much more interesting back into the mountains! I stayed in a small village where I got splashed with yoghurt because my red face must’ve looked burned… I just need to get used to cycle up hills again.

I even slept in my tent again, the first time since Iran and it didn’t bother me a bit! I’ve been a little worried about that one, but I stayed at a roadside restaurant where I had a shower with the kettle behind a wall. And in the morning, sipping my coffee while the sun peeped over the mountains surrounding the Zeravsan river which works its way through high cliffs and green valleys, I saw a cyclist struggling up the hill. A Swiss guy, going the same direction. But he couldn’t stop for a chat because he was in a hurry …?…

I got a lift to Dushambe the last 100km to be in time for that #%& registration. I drove with four Tajiks in a four-wheel drive over a road that’s not ready and being build by a whole lot of Chinese people, men and woman, who’ve been living here working on the road for a year already. Then through a tunnel that isn’t finished, where you can only go with special permission and is being build by Iranians. The whole lot was full of water, up to a meter in places. A few cars stranded. The views must’ve been magnificent, didn’t see it since we drove at night. Too much work going on during the day so they close the road. Good for cycling, I thought. After this ride I felt like all my organs ended up in the wrong place. Don’t wanna think about my poor bike in the back…

Had some interesting conversation with Afzalsho. I’ve been staying with his family here in Dushambe the last few nights. He’s a project manager for ‘Mission East’. He believes the water from Tajik rivers belongs to the Tajiks and the Uzbek shouldn’t use it.. or complain when a Tajik chemical factory dumps a whole lot of waste in it. ‘Its our water, we can do what we want with it’… even though the longest bit of it runs through Uzbekistan. Or a slight difference we’ve got about our vision on religion and life in general…

From here I’m heading to Bam-i-Dunya or Roof of the World, the Pamir highway! So you might not hear from me a little while but not to worry. I’ll reach China hopefully mid October (Do they drink coffee in China?) I’ll let you know how I got on.

For now I’ll say goodbye.

Goodbye.

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8 thoughts on “In search of the perfect cup…

  1. Well done you! Don’t worry, in Beijing they have MacDonalds – you can always sneak in there for a coffee – no one will know you!

    So pleased to hear that you are using your tent again – brave girl – good for you.

    Judging by the photo – the food looked great there.

    How exciting off to the Pamir – stunning views.

    Good luck and good vibrations for this next bit Mirjam.

    Take care
    Lindax

  2. Hoi Mir,
    Goed weer wat van je te horen, weer een hoop gezien en meegemaakt, leuke foto’s!
    Groetjes van m’n Iraanse collega. Hier alles goed, het begint nu te schoppen en in de weg te zitten; maar dat is ook wel weer leuk, behalve met veters strikken. Kamertje begint al ergens op te lijken, ik stuur je nog wel foto’s. Succes richting China! Liefs uit Haarlem

  3. HALLO MIRJAM, WAT HEB JE WEER VEEL MEEGEMAAKT, IK MOEST WEL LACHEN OM DAT KOSTBARE(GELD)KOPJE KOFFIE DAAR MOET JE WEL HEEL LANG MEE GEDAAN HEBBEN. VERDER LEUK DAT ER ZOVEEL JONGELUI ZIJN DIE DE WERELD ROND FIETSEN, EN SOMS HEBBEN ZE GEEN TIJD VOOR EEN PRAATJE. DAN HOOP JE ONGEV.HALF OKTOBER IN CHINA TE ZIJN HET IS GEWOON ONWERKELIJK DAT JE DAT ALLEMAAL GEFIETST HEBT.
    IK MAIL DE LAATSTE TIJD MET REGINA UIT TASMANIE, ERG LEUK BLIJF JE EEN BEETJE OP DE HOOGTE EN ZE STUURDE LEUKE FOTO’S VAN DE FAMILIE.
    ZO DIT WAS HET WEER, HEEL VEEL GEZONDHEID, GELUK EN FIETSPLEZIER GEWENST DOOR JE TANTE RIET UIT MAASSLUIS.

  4. Hey mirjam, leuk om vanmiddag even heel in de verte via de telefoon/internet naar je te schreeuwen. Jammer alleen dat je niet echt te verstaan was. Gelukkig dus dat alles fijn op de site is na te lezen met filmpjes! Succes er maar weer mee,
    dikke knuffel,
    Esther

  5. Hallo Mirjam,

    Ik kijk regelmatig op je site om te zien of alles goed gaat. Met jou en je fiets natuurlijk.
    Geen problemen meer gehad nadat je teruggegaan bent?
    Ik hoop dat je nog veel onbezorgde kilometers gaat afleggen!

    Grtz,
    Jeroen Grave (je fietsdokter….)

  6. Hoi Mirjam. We’re in Croatia soaking up some sun after August, hoorah. Seems you will be picking up some excellent new ways to shake your thang by the time you get to then end of your trip. The Ozzie two-step shuffle may even be a bit of a disappointment! Rock on girl! xxx

  7. Hoi Myrjam, leuke foto’s! Hoe houden de tassenrekken op je voorwiel het uit? Ben benieuwd of we ze hier goed bevestigd hadden?
    Groeten van Henk en Beppie (Iran)
    (oh ja plenty of coffee in china….)

  8. Hello
    It is already 5 days which you left me and Fatima, no new. Fatima is everyday asking:any new from Marjam?
    Unfortunately I have nothing to say, I hope your visit is safe.

    Any way good luck and let us know where you are putting your tent for this night?

    best wishes

    Afzalsho

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