Death by hospitality

I really have no idea where to begin.  I am in Khorog, and the helicopter ride here was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I actually enjoyed the helicopter ride itself, really quite smooth, I could hardly tell we were taking off.  The scenery from the roof of the world is too hard to put into words. The peaks were so close I felt that I could touch them at some moments.  Coming out of Dushanbe, I saw a water reservoir  which was extremely beautiful. After leaving the flat, fertile lands of Dushanbe behind, we quickly entered the more mountainous regions of the already mountainous country.
The mountains were all so different. Beginning with some highly patterned sand-dune-like structures—to giant glaciers. On some of the mountain sides were attempts of cultivation, but they were all very small scale.  So many streams were trickling from the glaciers to the river in the valley below (I think the Panj—which means five). We flew over Afghanistan for quite a while, which seemed much more cultivated and populated than the Tajik side. I took over 150 photos, and I’m not usually that compulsive, it was truly mind-boggling and the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Arriving in Khorog, I was met by some unfriendly officials at the airport, who were extremely concerned that my permit to enter GBAO had the wrong passport number on it. The officials copied down Denise’s passport number instead of mine. So they kept trying to tell me that I had to be sent back to Dushanbe, but I put my foot down. I traveled with a police escort to the police station, where the matter was cleared up with the help of the financial manager of MSDSP—an awesome and funny man.
After being held in the police station for a while, I arrived at MSDSP, people seemed rather surprised that I was there.  The NRM department had no idea that I was arriving. I also feel rude because I never made it back there today because I spent the rest of the day hunting for apartments.
Allison and I looked at 6 different houses/apartments… and only 3 were in our price range.  The one was a house in UPD. It was a traditional Pamiri house, with one really really large room. It was a square room and had sitting room all around.  It would have required a long way to walk though… and was poorly insulated.  We by chance stopped at the AKF hotel, which was $30 a night, and a woman told us that there was a house she could show us.
So here we are, in the house of a local Ms. Doctor. It’s a beautiful new house, two bedrooms, living room, bathroom and small kitchen.  The house is nestled into the mountainside, on the outskirts of the small city, right under a high altitude graveyard.  We have a nice view and a potentially nice patio, if the pile of gravel is removed.  The host was extremely hospitable. Her sister and daughter prepared cookies, tea, chocolates and eggs and sausages (maple leaf hot dogs) for us.
The sister, Lola, is a nurse, secretary at the court and university professor.  She and Sofia said that doctors and other such professionals are severely underpaid. Sofia now works for AKF health services in Afghanistan because the local hospital didn’t pay enough to get by.  While we were having tea, some neighbours came by to be checked up by her.
The family is moving out of their humble home, so that we can move in.  We are extremely grateful, and hope that the monthly rent will help them out.

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