A Long Day
Mille and I get up with a bright smile in our face, drink a Cappuccino, kind of a daily tradition, and enjoy a last time the incredible view. We prepare Oskar and Matatu to leave and drive back to Sary-Tash. Here we want to try to get some Tajikistan Somoni, without any luck. So we continue direction krygyz-tajik border. We feel us in the right mood and well prepared for the scams at the border, which we read about.
Everything runs smoothly at the kyrgyz border and no one tries to get some money from us. As we still got our russian custom papers for our cars we do not have to pay any environmental tax. Well, the officers had an argue with each other about that, but we got around it. It seems they are not used to the new taxes and stuff as Kyrgyzstan just recently joined the Eurasian custom union.
After about 15min we are through and start the ascent to 4100m where the Tajik border lays. At the beginning we felt pity about the border guards who have to work up here at this inhospitable place. But that doesn't last for long really. The first post was the custom check, which was done within a minute. The soldiers here were really friendly and we were wondering why everyone is writing so negative stuff about this border. Next stop: the disinfection station. That's the place I got the first time angry. This gentleman want quite a lot money for spraying our tires a little bit. We do not want to pay and I explain it to this gentleman friendly in Russian, as he does not have a official certificate. He is very grateful about that and offers me in return a few not so friendly Russian words. I try to stay friendly until this cheeky gentleman gets to rude. My temper burns through and give him as a present a whole cascade of very nice words in Swiss German. Mille tries his luck while I am waiting in Matatu. We have to pay.
Following up: the custom declaration for the car. The only official post we have to pay. This is the place where Mille gets angry the first time. He should pay for a mini bus not for a camper. The officer here stays friendly and explains over and over again that he can't change it, he has his clears orders. As proof he shows an official price list.
Because the whole story is so "funny" we continue to the boxing club, or better known as the traffic police. This gentleman here explains us that we need a "very" special certificate for passing all checkpoints and police checks. He wants 4 dollars a day for it. He is a boxer, he says proudly but we could tell from kilometres away as his nose is damn beautiful. Well, he is such a nice guy that he charges us just for one week, we just should tell the officers we paid for everything. A scam of course but we can't say anything. Mille wanted to insist and the gentleman claims straight away that his car documents are fake. My temper again. Boxer vs Rugby player, who wins? Yeah right, the one with the stamp in his hand - we pay.
"Now we are through", at least that was what we are thinking. Another guy turns up and explains that we need an quarantine certificate from him. Bugger me. Mille has enough and so I'm following the guy alone. Actually, I'm annoyed too and make my point very very clear in some rather not friendly Russian words. He's apologising and tells me that without this paper we could not cross into Uzbekistan. My temper goes up to it's full power - I pay a small part of that what he originally wanted and send Mille to do the same.
The Boxer turns up as the gate opens and we want to drive off: "Dear friends, could you please take me with you to Murgab?". We drive without the Boxer.
As we are exhausted from the annoying border guards, we decide not to drive too far. The scenery is incredible beautiful here, just the wind is pretty icy. We locking us into Oskar, switching on the heating and cooking a nice big meal. Mille insists after dinner that I sleep in Oskar as the temperatures will drop to -15°. But that's not the first such cold night for me as I got proper gear for it and so I sleep in the roof top tent - what a wonderful night it was.