Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bartang


Our last official expedition: Bartang valley, north of Khorog. For this trip, we were joined by Robyn (Sonja’s dance teacher and organizer of this project) and her husband, Neil. The three-hour ride to the village of Siponj was smooth and short compared to the rough and lengthy Murgab and Ishkoshim trips. Four members of our group left the day before to find dancers, musicians, and a place for us to stay. So, when we arrived we were greeted with hot soup, an orchard full of apples, and musicians patiently waiting. The family we stayed with was more than kind and the head of the household a wonderful dancer. To our delight, the advance team was able to locate a local musical guru, Jonboz. He was hesitant at first to play because of his ailing health, but after he warmed up to us was sharing his music and wisdom with little coaxing. In fact, by the end of our stay, he had taking such a liking to Maruf, a member of our group who had grown up in Badakhshan and is himself a musician, that he bequeathed him a setar and a two hundred year old book of Hafez poetry! To top it all off, we had some extra time to get some swimming in and hike up the side of the mountain to some ancient tombs.



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