MAY 2ND, 2018

Dushanbe – finally!

It is early morning, Bachtiyurt goes to work armed with a shovel, and we are alone. I’m going through all possible scenarios.


What if Bakhtiyurt did not understand us and no tow truck came, what if the bike in Dushanbe cannot be repaired?

Moreover, what if Bakhtiyurt gets lost in the mountains and never returns, we would spend our twilight years as street sweepers at nearly three thousand feet. Can we ever learn enough Tajik to be able to communicate?


It rains outside, and the majestic mountain peaks look at us and remain silent. The BMW stands with her flat rear tire in front of the house and is silent as well.

At ten o’clock in the morning, something happens. Bakhtiyurt comes back (Thank God!) together with some wet road scavengers.

You Song does not get tired of gesticulating over and over again that we need a tow truck to take us to Dushanbe and Bakhtiyurt’s colleague brings out his cell phone.

He wants me to call the motorcyclist again so he can send a towing service. Although the guy speaks English yet he does not change his mind: I should remove the rear tire and bring it to the workshop, then return by taxi and get the bike. “Is easy,” he says.

Maybe for him but not for me, who hardly can move with the bruised ribs, let alone carry out repairs on the motorcycle. A new start so with another round of mime game.


You Song turns the imaginary steering wheel of a truck, I represent a crane, which lifts the motorcycle on the truck and we repeat both in perfect Tajik “Brrmm, brrmm!” Also, “Dushanbe! Dushanbe “.

Finally, the penny drops, and we see some action. Bachtiyurt’s colleague telephones again and rubs his thumb and forefinger together with a questioning look. He says “Dollar.” We nod eagerly, and I generously mean that I pay everything.


On the phone, the mobile phone display appears the amount “300” and Bakhtiyurt rolls his eyes.

The nice guy did not even want to take twenty dollars for the overnight stay and his shared dinner.

We have no choice. The trade is valid, and a few phones call later, a small truck of the highway authorities appears, which is supposed to take us to Dushanbe – with luggage and bike.

The motorbike is transported to the loading area in typical Russian manner, by merely driving the truck back into a pile of sand and pushing the bike on top of the sand.


We pick up our luggage and say goodbye to Bachtiyurt and his colleagues. Off to Dushanbe to the workshop!

On the way, we stop several times to take colleagues and their tools with them, to gossip or to dig out and collect some flowering endangered mountain plants.

Time does not play the same role in Tajikistan as it does in the West. But it does not matter anymore, since we are finally on the way.

After an estimated twenty kilometers again a stop, all the stuff is loaded on another pickup truck (?) And the four of us squeeze into the tiny driver’s cabin.


It is raining in streams, and I am glad that I do not have to drive the whole distance on the bike, it is always through (shorter) tunnel and avalanche galleries.

About halfway along the route, driver and passenger get hungry and tell us, “Time to eat.” So we stop and go to a restaurant where we all eat together Tajik style chicken with side dishes. The passenger is paying, so we ripped something out of our three hundred dollars.


Arrived in Dushanbe, the driver takes us precisely to the clubhouse of the motorcycle club, where the workshop is located. Two nice Tajiks are there, who speak English and immediately pick up the bike from the loading area. Tires are also available, and the service is also no problem.

Tomorrow we can pick up the BMW. However we intend to spend at least two days in Dushanbe to cure my bruised ribs and recover a little from the ordeal we went through the past few days.

The Sheraton seems just good enough for this purpose.




Published by

Heinz Rainer

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