And when I close my eyes, the contours of the mountains are still imprinted on my eyelids.

August 8, 2009.
Sitting on a large rock at the edge of the bluest lake in the world, in between villages number 1 and 2 in Geizev, I am utterly (but maybe not completely) happy. Allison and I came down to the lake for a swim, but the sun has set behind the mountains and the water is about 2 degrees C, so there’s no way we’re going in. We promise ourselves that we will go tomorrow…
We left Khorog this morning at 8:30 (there was a honey-fair at the market, and a friend of ours picked up a jar for us). We took a Mashutka to Rushan and then up the Bartang valley (stopping in the driver’s village for some small plum-like things) until we came to a foot-suspension bridge. The bridge, like all infrastructure in Tajikistan, was rather sturdy (especially compared to rural Mada). From the bridge, we hiked up an impressive valley, climbing to 2500m (which isn’t that much, since we probably started at 2000m. The path was lovely, but our packs were heavy, probably about 45 lbs each. So we took it easy and took a few breaks—one at a cherry tree where we met a nice man who knew a couple of our ex-pat friends. So after eating about half a kilo of cherries, which my stomach is now paying for, we set back on our way. After 2 ½ hours in the grueling heat, we made it to the first village of Geisev, where we had chai, bread and jam, sugar coated peanuts and of course cookies in the Tapchan. After our second snack, we decided to continue to the second village with the ‘cherry-man’ as our guide. At the second village, he found us the perfect campsite, right beside the river at the point where the crystal blue water surrounding trees resembling mangroves in their manner of growth, turns into a rambling stream, then into a raging river in a small canyon before finally becoming the lake at which I am sitting.
The village in which we are staying has two humble homestays, eco-tourism projects of MSDSP. The guest house in which we will have dinner is a traditional Pamiri home with a solar powered light bulb and a number of Pamiri mattresses. There is also a shower close to our tent. A hose runs along the field to a green and white striped vestibule, where the hose then runs into an old water bottle, which has holes punctured in the bottom to create a shower…Awesome! The best part is that the water is heated by the same solar panel on the roof of the Homestay. We felt slightly rude and ungrateful to sleep in our tent, but we just really wanted to get some use out of our new baby!

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