We woke at 6, only to look at the clock on the wall to discover it was 7. The Pamirs, it emerged, run an unofficial hour ahead of Dushanbe. Breakfast was a rather tasty bowl of porridge and black tea, powering us up the first hill of the day, a monster with an abominable surface. We stopped for a break within an hour (this Wakhan jaunt was turning out to be pretty tough), and again in the late morning, when we were invited in for tea and more food, only subsequently to discover it was paying. Still, refuelled, we hit the road, only 30k down and feeling queasy from eating a heavy potato dish at 11am. We cycled on towards a hot springs 35k away, making it before sunset (third time lucky!). A short hike up the white lichen clad mountainside to the baths resulted in a joyous clean. It was rather less joyous for the women in the bath next door, as water drained from the men’s into the women’s! A quick towel down was followed by a bivouac on a windy plain at the confluence of the Wakhan and Pamir rivers, gazing out into Hindu Kush.