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Doppelgangers

My KTM is the first to meet its  Doppelganger. In the hostel from Khorog, where there is the Iranian in the photo, a brave guy who is traveling on bicycles with his new wife. After their bikes were stolen in Tbilisi,  their extremely generous couchsurfing host offered them 1500 euro in cash to replace the lost goods and to continue their adventure. This dude made a smart move, and got himself a KTM bicycle.

Soon we are to meet our own doubles, or should I say our alter egos. After the much promised hot showers, a line of clean laundry and a tummy full of mulberries picked from our hostel’s yard, we hit the road once again. Which road squeezes the best out of us, until a new Ana and a new John start surfacing.

I cannot blame it only on the road… it must be the relentless unpredictability of the surface, but also the stark colors, the insane light, the fury of this immense body of water…

It is everything. In this landscape we feel insignificant, two tiny specs in a cavern of rock and air. Of all the aspects of things, none is more immediate than size. Our tiny bigness, our precarious bulk is what we present to the world. In the Pamir, along the Wakhan corridor, the cosmos has just gotten larger. We need a new level of distance ans scale, a new model of the world we live in. We need to invent new words to communicate to each other something that fills up our soul but bewilders our mind. Its just a task beyond us, so I’d better let our imperfect photos speak.

Would you believe that so much beauty has exhausted us? After this village and these long fields of buckwheat, we’ll start looking for a camping spot.

I find it behind the road: our mountain desert, our dunes of the 3000 meters plateau. Our sand parking has a view of  Afghanistan and its mighty 7000 plus peaks covered in snow.

It was actually about time to find a place like this, so that we can enjoy a bit of peace and the stunning sunset.

After we pitch I send a sign of life to our dear ones from Romania.

During the night the snow-caps glitter like some bizarre UFOs on the bleak sky. We are wondering if what we are in a real place, or if we were perhaps abducted by some aliens and taken to another dimension.

In the morning I get to admire my last night’s deed, as Ana brews a cup of strong Ceylon tea.

Because the water supplies are almost finished, I drive to the village to refill our bottles. In the meantime the parking guardian arrives. A bit late, Mr. doggie, a bit too late!

After the dog, there comes a villager, then two young herders, and finally a couple of charming sisters.

With such a pleasant audience gathered before our dunes, how could I leave them untouched?

I must admit that missing Sahara so much has something to do with it. But as I ride in the sand, the geometric panorama of snow and rock snaps me back into reality. These peaks are rising more than 4000 meters  above our 3000 meters playground. I wonder… Can this get any better?