An Epic Road Trip (Video)



Posted by Ed 33 days ago
The brave merchants of Wakhan, the 'other' Afghanistan
Drivers put up with 5,000m high passes and extreme weather to deliver basic goods to Afghanistan's isolated northeast.
 The Wakhan Corridor, a mountainous region situated in the far northeast of Afghanistan, is bordered by the Hindu Kush mountains and peaks, some reaching 5,000 metres.
Isolated from the rest of Afghanistan, the region was spared by the war that raged through the country for years. But many of the territory's residents continue to live as if in the Middle Ages, without water or electricity.
They rely on a handful of merchants to supply them with basic necessities such as salt and flour. Without these goods, the inhabitants of the Wakhan Corridor would struggle to survive the harsh winter, with temperatures dropping below -30 degrees Celsius.
Hadji and his driver, Naqib, travel from village to village along the mountainous region to sell and trade all sorts of merchandise - generators, rice, flour, salt, shoes, car parts, livestock and more. 


Ed 33 days ago
Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor is a remote place. Steep, rough-walled mountains are intersected by the river valleys that braid together the Pamir, Tien Shan, Karakorum and Hindu Kush. Foreign diplomats scissored this panhandle out of a map of the 19th century.

Tourists come here for trekking in the majestic landscape, and to meet the locals, who have retained an older way of life. What sets the Wakhan Corridor apart is the difficulty in getting here, keeping modern ways and mainstream tourism out. Life is harder and more traditional here than across the border.
 Getting in and out: 

Ed 33 days ago 

Ed 32 days ago
 We watch the pack animals cross first. The river is a sooty-black mass of chaos, cutting through mounds of loose rock. The horses have no problem, but the donkeys refuse.
I watch as our six Afghan porters unload the gear from each donkey and physically manhandle them across a steep, foaming torrent, the air around me a thundering cacophony pierced by the yells of Afghan men.
We pass bikes across the human conveyor belt of grabbing hands amidst a barrage of man-shrieks.

Then it’s our turn to cross. The angry, spitting water is only thigh deep, but the cascade of baby head rocks tumbling beneath its surface pounds my feet, bruising my ankles, and threatening to sweep away my already insecure footing.
It’s a test of nerve and agility – something like a painful game of ten-pin bowling with human legs as skittles – and only the first of many river crossings we’ll face on this twelve-day mountain bike exploration of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. 

Ed 32 days ago 

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