Tag Archives: USSR

From dusk till dawn. Life in the Pamirs.

In my teens and early twenties this place would’ve been hell. Life in a tiny village where farm animals outnumber men by a wide margin. Where the main past-time is to sit down and watch the clouds move around Pyk … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Huck Finn state of mind.

What does it feel like to be floating on the mighty Mississippi with no worries but where to moor for the night? How does it feel to be absolutely unconstrained by timescales, worries or need-to? In a nutshell, what does it … Continue reading

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There and away – Driving through the ‘Stans.

As I sat scribbling this post on my notepad, on the plane back home, it occurred to me that the past two car journeys had been the first ones, in Central Asia, where we hadn’t been serenaded non-stop by some … Continue reading

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To the last city.

No, that’s a misnomer. Tashkent was, if anything, Uzbekistan’s first city, at least in the modern sense of the term. First one to be occupied by the Russians, first one to be reached by a railroad, first to host all … Continue reading

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A tale of two missions. Part 2.

It was just appropriate that, in line with the general low-key-feeling of the entire place, the next stop in our tour looked a lot like grandpa’s barn meets serial accumulator’s shack, if one was willing to ignore the fact that … Continue reading

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A tale of two missions. Part 1.

The TsUM Magazin on Rudaki was rumoured, according to the chit-chat in the hostel, to be unbeatable in Dušanbe for Soviet tat, but once we’d gotten there it was pretty hard to figure out why. Ground floor was packed to … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 2).

I’d seen Serik a long time before we met in the parking lot outside the Altair hotel; in fact, I first read about him on Al Jazeera. Dubbed “Aralsk’s only tour guide”, he’d accepted to be my guide for the … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 1).

The aurora was a promise of yet another scorcher of a day, as it’d been yesterday and tomorrow was bound to be, but right now it was fresh and cool as I sat on my pack on the first of … Continue reading

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The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part V.

To Dušanbe. “In my opinion, eight officers out of ten are corrupted in Dušanbe” Tajik police officer, interviewed by I. Khamonov, 2005 My memories of Khorog are fleeting, for such was the nature of my permanence there. We took possession … Continue reading

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The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part IV.

To Khorog. “Recent years have struck a final crippling blow to the roadlessness of Kirgiziia […]. Instead of isolated districts there is now one connected and unified economic whole.” M.M. Slavinskii, 1935 A minute man waited for us in the … Continue reading

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