we woke up to our highest hammock night ever at more than 3600 meters above sea-level after a restless night due to howling concert the local dogs in Murghab were so kind to treat us to The night before. We had settled in the dusty remains of a collapsed building in the centre of town where a dozen young watchers on the wall had welcomed us last night and were back this morning to further inspect the trio of European hangmen. Dogs had been barking all night, but after a hot cup of joe we were quickly climbing the stone pillars with our juvenile bandit audience. Anton taught them how to repair 3 spokes and directed their eagerness to our advantage by having them pump up our tires. We also taught them how to count to 100 in English as we started the day with a workout.
Murghab is a small desert city, and although we got used to the sight of the Tajik countryside villages this one caught our eye. Sometimes we have to take a moment and look at stuff twice to really take it in. This is of course a clear sign we are suffering from a severe case of wanderlust. Because of this, the intensity of a visual stimulation has to be astonishingly high in order to leave our brains thinking "Wooow, this is strange." The bazaar is no building, but a square with repurposed containers selling fruits and vegetables, the first we found after 400 kilometers long fruitless search for vitamins. The gas station consists of a few iron barrels and a guy measuring the amount of fuel taken with a jerrycan. The fuel is filtered with some sort of goatskin in the funnel. A headwind discouraged us but we managed to make quite some progress, and Stef was finally relieved from his nasty bug. While we were boldly celebrating with a mouthfull of roadside streamwater, a French couple we met in Khorog pulled us over. They told us about thier Afghan border experiences, and they had seen loads of the Marco Polo sheep we had been scanning the area for. We returned the palaver with telling them about how we were breezing through the Pamirs, more than a little jealous at their wildlife encounter Shortly after we scored a traditional Pamiri Sirchai (yak milk tea) lunchbreak at the only house we had seen all day. The lady of the house didn't hesitate and gladly took our Somoni we offered in exchange for her hospitality. We pitched our tent next to a fence which, in our opinion, is the oncoming Chinese border. It is still unclear if this is correct but it was nice to think we were so close and yet so far from our end destination.