Dushanbe is a typical Central Asian capital, which swanks with its old soviet buildings. Additionally, Dushanbe shall have the highest flagpole in the world.
As Tajikistan is not a very touristy country, Dushanbe lacks the variety of accommodations and the prices are accordingly high. The "Green House" hostel offers for 15 USD a bed in the dorm. Overlanders can sleep in their cars for seven USD in the courtyard. In the basement of the hostel is a very clean bathroom with floor heating. You will really enjoy a long hot shower in the colder days.
Just around the corner of the "Green House" Hostel is a car mechanic which did quite a good job with Matatu. Dilovar (937 97 97 97) speaks perfectly English and is very helpful.
Dushanbe also counts as the most reliable place to apply for the Turkmen visa. But do consider that this will take five to seven working days and there is not much to do and see in Dushanbe.