We arrived in Murgab at around 9 pm in the dark. At least the stars were out and the heavens looked glorious. We stopped a few times to drop off the other passengers at their villages en route and finally Alisher dropped Kame and I off at Ibrahim/Anara Guesthouse and bid us good rid-dins. Sheraly welcomed us warmly and saw that we were fed and made up some mattresses for us to crash on. I was exhausted and sought refuge in the multiple layers of mattresses and blankets. It was freezing freezing, I slept with my beenie on, my jacket and layers upon layers of clothing. I woke up at around midnight with a thumping headache, feeling dizzy and bilious with numb and swollen fingers. This was altitude sickeness time. I couldn’t sleep but endured this misery for the next two days. I couldn’t get up to go for a walk without feeling dizzy, light headed and about to pass out. I didn’t have any pills or medicaments for altitude sickness. I couldn’t eat without feeling like throwing up!
At last I managed a walk about with dear Kame around Murgab. We walked in the cutting cold, went to the market and bought snickers bars. Kame has a peaceful and engaging light about him, he’s almost sage-like. I was grateful for his reassurance and company, being alone in this land is a scary thought. Murgab is a settlement at 3576m and isn’t particularly charming. The populace is half Kyrgyz and half Tajik which has caused some underlying tension. Kyrgyz old men proudly wear their skull caps (Ak-Kalpak) and the Tajiks don their tubeika hats. I also saw some Afghan men wearing their pakols. We met some amazing cyclists who are cycling around the world. A Spanish guy and his English friend set themselves the unbelievable task of doing the silk road on their bicycles and camped out en route. I am still in awe of these travelers, they are incredible human beings who embrace adventure with such fervour. After travelling the Pamir Highway by car, I felt exhausted. How these cyclists manage to tackle the mountain passes is beyond me!
After feeling on the mend, Kame and I decided to move on. Murgab wasn’t setting things alight by any means and I wanted to see and feel more of the Pamir Highway. We were approached by a driver who was going to Khorog later that morning and seemed desperate for travelers to join him and his neighbor’s wife. He completely undercharged us, to the point where I felt really guilty at how cheap we got our seats for. Just 4 of us in the Pajero, I couldn’t believe our luck. The next passage of out trip was breathtaking.