Dushanbe (Tajikistan) to Blue Lake (Tajikistan)
Firstly a sad bit we had to say goodbye to Ann today as she's flying back to the States to get her ankle fixed she hopes to be back in time to do the last few bits in China but still she'll be missed in the meantime. We hit the first piece of real off-road today we set off down the M41 in heavy rain about lunch time with only 120 or so miles to do. The first 60 or so were ok then the road started to degenerate so that in the end there was no definable road just a slot cut out of a mountain. The Major managed to get lost - I don't know what he was thinking we'd agreed a plan that had the three of us riding in a group at the back but he had one of his mad major moments and took off at the front apparently found himself alone and took the wrong turning luckily he didn't come off and found his way back to the team - I don't think he'll do that again. I stuck at the back and had a great time; myself Kevin and Robert took a detour over a wooden planked suspension bridge which had the same problems as the banana bridge missing planks etc and swayed like a drunken boxera bit scary but great fun. We had a couple of "offs" in some heavy mud but nobody hurt. Then we arrived at our first "home stay", a beautiful setting alongside a small lake but this is not my idea of luxury it is beyond basic I'll have to let the pictures tell the story; suffice to say Jeff and I slept in a concrete building in the grounds, which is normally used as the eating room, on the floor with no heating mostly no windows a large leak in the ceiling and a door that wouldn't shut we chose the place because it was better than the other room we were offered. In its defence the two wives of the guy who owned the place cooked us a brilliant stew and pasta meal that really hit the spot. I asked the guy's son if we could fish the lake but he said during the last civil war a group of soldiers arrived and threw hand grenades into the lake, presumably to get themselves a fish supper, leaving most of the fish dead. I had a look and sure enough there were lots of small fry but nothing worth catching.