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Our road started at Dushanbe and we wanted to get to Ishkashim at the entrance of the Wakhan Corridor, which partly in Tajik and Afghani hands. The country is a strange mix of Pamir and Soviet culture – Russian is the main common language.
After Qal’ai Khumb the Pamir Highway follows the river Panj which marks the border with Afghanistan. As you drive on the Tajik side, you can see the donkey traffic from another age on the Afghani side. But although the Afghani side is very close, it is totally unreachable since the river Panj is such a formidable barrier.
Gold is valuable and beautiful in Tajikistan, like everywhere else, but I was surprised to learn that having all teeth covered in gold is considered beautiful. That and having no gap between the eyebrows.