With Brittany fully recovered, it was time to see some more of Tajikistans courtysides. Nicole and Anton jumped on the bikes in search for the fae, while the rest jumped on the first taxi and headed for Iskanderkul lake. The journey took about three hours but was well worth it. It passes through some beautiful mountainous terrain following the valley created by streams and rivers. This is not the only thing you should keep your eyes out for. Mostly, they are focussed on the road, with extreme stress and anxiety. The drivers in this country don't seem to understand certain basic concepts of life. For example, If you can't see a car coming around the bend, they won't see you either. It seems like they assume all other drivers are psychic though, because they ALWAYS take the inside turn, to cut the time ofcourse. You know what's also faster? Overtaking in tunnels, preferbly five kilometer long, two lane wide and superdark. It's also super effective to overtake when going over a hill where you can't see the other side, and only change gears when you hit 8000rpm, ofcourse. Want a thrilling vacation? Come ride some taxi's in Tajikistan! Don't forget to get that life insurance first though.
The last part running up to the lake was a winding dirt road with rickety bridges and riddled with obstacles. Countless cows who were unwilling to move, extremely reckless drivers, and a part of the road which had simply dissapeared. For this last one we waited while the locals brought forth trucks with dirt until the hole was filled. As soon as the dirt reached the level of the road it was go time again. Fair enough.
Once arrived at the lake, rain started to fall and it was a bit too late to go out and explore. After a brief nap we went to the cafetaria for dinner, where we met some Germans who helped us consume extravagant amounts of alcohol.
To cure our throbbing heads the next day, we took an ice cold dive and shocked ourselves into reality. Other tourists suggested a hike towards the nearby waterfall, so we ate some things, and took off. Google predicted ten degree weather with close to freezing temperatures at night, but Google is not God and was terribly wrong on this one. All the alcohol had evaporated our of our systems in no-time. Luckily we were hiking next to the clearest rivier any one us had ever seen. You could literally see right through the whole thing, any fishermans dream! But for some reason none were spotted or caught. "I cry every time" Yuri let out when he returned from his prospecton. What was swimming in the river, though, were the first yak's we had ever seen. They stayed at a good distance from us, even when we came closer they moved on, but didn't seem to mind our presence. If fishing isn't an option in such incredibly attractive waters, let's just jump in ourselves then. So we dipped our skins for a while, and then set off to find that water chute. About an hour later we arrived on a platform held up by heavy rocks on the far side of it. A little sketchy, but as most things here in Tajik, it adds to the thrill. The waterfall was a lot more massive than expected, and we would recommend it to anyone visiting those parts. Britt and Stef's energy levels weren't fully depleted yet so they followed the steep Yak trail up a mountain for a beautiful view over Tajikistan's most famous lake.
The next morning, we had the pleasure to experience a yoga class from Brtt, as she was supposedly a master trained in Sri Lanka. Luckily this class ended in a particularly relaxing pose, belly-up. This way, we didn't have to hide our exhaustion for our master, who stood there easily, approving our skill in the art of relaxing. After this morning excercise, we decided to pay a visit to mr. President, who has a house at the other side of the lake. Sadly, he was not home so we pressed on further into the beautiful valley's away from the lake. After we had thrown some rocks again, (one landslide more is hardly noticable in Tajikistan), we started our way back towards the lake for a final dip. In the late afternoon we said our goodbye's to the locals, and each other since we had to get back into the deathride towards Dushanbe. This time our driver was slightly more careful, but that was probably only because his car was on its last legs. Before long the car broke down and we had to make a detour to the mechanics. The rest of the ride went pretty smoothly and on our final decent, we decided to bring out the longboards and cruise down the 12% slopes.
When we arrived back in Dushanbe it was time to get our drink on again, since the girls were leaving later that night. We met Nick, the commander of the American SF and his fellow expat crew at a bar where we had many toasts leading to deep conversations. Girls, we miss you already!