August 24, 2019

“You must be very rich,” the visitors from Saudi Arabia remarked.  “You have rivers!”

So reported Bakhtiyar, my driver in Tajikistan who quoted his Saudi clients from last year.

Just today, on my own journey, I climb from the fertile valleys and stop at the Pamir River, one of the five rivers that flow into the Panj River, a major tributary of the Amu Darya (or Oxus River). 

I take lunch at the Koi-Tezek Pass4122m, 13,523ft, 2.56 miles high in the barren desert.

The Saudi visitors also had a special goal in Tajikistan.   They wanted to visit Bulunkul, the coldest village in the country.  

In the winter, the temperature in Bulankul drops to -55C or a frigid -67 F.  Then the Saudis could brag, “In the summer in our country we experience +55C, an infernal 131 F.  Now we have experienced the polar opposite!”

Today, at the end of August, in Bulunkul village and at the lake, it’s a blustery 10C or 50 F.  Cool enough for me.  Thank you very much.

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