Russian roulette

Not exactly roulette in the traditional sense of the Russian game, but waiting in Osh for our various visas and permits for onward travel is turning out to be a bit of a guessing game.

We had heard before arriving that travel through this region is by no means smooth sailing, and so it has already proved. The Tajikistan government is currently battling with quite regular internal violent unrest and as a result, border crossings are closing and mandatory permit stamps are being locked deeply within embassy desks.  Any information information provided is in no way consistent or reliable, and so the 6-day ride to an ‘open’ border crossing would be a costly mistake if Sergei and all his chums decide otherwise on that particular day. Thanks Sergei.

Things could have been very different…

Upon reflection of the planning made for this trip and the issues we have encountered to date, it is becoming apparent that the world is sadly punctuated with many such pockets of unrest, rendering them inaccessible to to anyone who places value on their own life. As the Pamir Highway is looking less likely for us, it joins the Karakoram highway (dissecting the Kashmir/Pakistan melting pot) as a missed opportunity on this occasion. What a terrible shame that the only people able to enjoy these most spectacular regions of the world are those getting very upset at another group of people. An enormous statue of Lenin stands in the centre of Osh; I wonder what he would have made of all this?

In brighter news, the kebabs and beer in this town are plentiful and delicious.

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