Saturday, October 7

Soviet Comms 32

Soviet technology
We cross the Ali Valley pinned by Lenin Peak (7,135m) and the Pamirs. The Soviets had a military base here and the metal balloons were used for communications.

The valley btw is about 2,000m above sea level which means we are looking at mountains that peak three miles above us.

Jyrgal speaks many languages including his native Kyrgyi, english, farsi, Russian, Tajiki and Pariri. He spent six months in the UK on a seasonal visa working at a factory, allowing him to visit London, Canterbury and Scotland including Glasgow and Edinburgh (Eitan compares notes).

Really, though Jyrghal is pro-Russian whom, he informs, still controls the region and enjoys frictionless trade in goods, services and people. He has been to Moscow ("crazy, crazy place, too. many people") and studied at a Russian school in Osh where there are many; Russian is the second language here. NB Kyrgyzstan is 4,500km from Russia, traversing enormous Kazakhstan.

The original Soviet-built Pamir highway was from Osh to Khorog or 800km (of the 1,800 total distance) which we travel now. 

Do people climb these mountains? Yes, many die each year (on Lenin peak).