Snow in the mountains
After two weeks in southern Tajikistan and Dushanbe, it was time to get back to Garm, my base in the mountains of the Rasht Valley. The winter has been unusual for its lack of snow, but this weekend we are starting to make up for it. Been snowing since yesterday, with more than 20 inches (50 cm) on the ground in Garm. Even an hour outside of Dushanbe in the high plateau it was a winter snowscape of ghostly white trees and more snow falling. As we drove east, we could tell this was a long-awaited snow because there were decorated snowmen in two different places – not so common here.
Here at our Garm residence, it’s been like moving into a house for the first time – I am taking over the “warm” half of the house from my colleague who left for the US. Although for some reason I am still sitting here with a hat on inside (our coal “pechka” must be low – time to call the guard).
Being a Sunday, we are on our own to make dinner. I had come back with Russian pasta (yes, it’s edible) and one of those jars of mixed vegetables (tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc) that are common in the former Soviet Union. As always in winter, the challenge was to spend as little time as possible in the outdoor kitchen. This objective was not helped by the fact that the incredibly low quality Chinese matches would light for 2 secs then go out. I had assumed that the match was a technology humans had mastered a long, long time ago – but my experience here shows that is just not true. After the second flameout I had to adjust my technique and light the gas right away – finally dinner was in progress. Yes, I was wearing my fur hat and could see my breath in the close-to-freezing air, but we would eat!