As I make my way further east I settle down in a homestay and spend a day hiking up to another hot spring and some impressive ruins of centuries old fortress. Yet another few kilometers down the road I stay in homestay with a guy who learned a bit of English and founded a museum of local culture. Cars are getting few and far between but it seems like every village has at least one bed and breakfast catering to the tourists coming through on bikes or in cars. In a way the poorest region of Tajilkistan has the best tourist infrastructure.
At the point where the road stops following the Panj river and starts heading into the mountains to the Pamir highway local traffic dies off almost completely. Only tourist and soldiers take that road. So I start sticking out my thumb whenever a car comes along which is not very often, luckily I brought a book along. By the end of the day I’m still there and I decide against spending the night by the roadside and take up offer of night in a homestay. Somewhere it feels weird to spend a day waiting for a free ride only to pay for a meal and a comfortable bed in the evening.
Later the next afternoon I’m finally taken along by a Tashkent based Pakistani tour guide and his Tajik assistant and driver. Really interesting company through impressively harsh landscape. We part on the other end as I head to lake about 20 km down a side road of off the highway as the guide goes the other way to pick up a bunch of tourists from Peak Lenin.