I woke with new resolve, fired by the hospitality of the previous day (and the strong sweet green tea we had for breakfast) and peddled hard into Denau, where I arrived in time for a mid morning snack of delicious samsa, and pushed on to the border. I crossed with no problem (the Uzbek border guards clearly took one look at my battered bicycle and bushy beard and decided there was no point in asking for hotel registration slips). The Tajik side was a combination of beautiful new road, being built by the Chinese (whether on contract to the Tajik government, or simply to improve transport links for the heavy traffic of Chinese trucks with passes through Tajikistan, it wasn’t
clear), and appalling gravel mountains. This made for interesting riding into Dushanbe, but felt worth it when I topped the final hill before Dushanbe, and looked down the valley to the Capital. I cruised down with a scrap of scat melody in my head, which I decided to call Dushanbe Blues, and proceeded to sing, much to the consternation of passers by. I felt to too high to care, elated by the prospect of a new city (or even any city) and a warm shower chez Véronique, a warmshowers host in Dushanbe with a stellar reputation for hospitality. I made it to Veronique’s just before sunset, just in time for dinner (quelle chance…!) with her and her son Gabriel.
More to follow tomorrow to bring you up to speed on developments in Dushanbe!