|Le tapchane de la rivière Shurob.|
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The young Sharizob pulls kindly my sleeve and asks me if I agree to go with him for a fishing trip in the Shurob river. We walk two good hours. The boy is equipped with a long bamboo fishing rod. He bought fishhooks in a shop here. As baits, the grasshoppers will work. There are some good specimens along the road and the kid knows how to do to capture them with cap strokes. We catch up with a girl and a child who lead two bull-calfs. Sharizob discovers a small frightened mouse. The girl and the child approach, intrigued. I catch the mouse by the tail and exhibits it by remembering this nursery rhyme : "A green mouse / Running through the grass..., etc." But the young bulls take opportunity of it to escape. Then the children begin shouting and running after the bulls. They will be the only people whom we shall meet on this road before reaching our destination. Later, I discover a new gaseous emanation in the middle of the loose stones. A hole was dug at this place in the bottom of which water gurgles. I bring closer my lighter and a huge flame gushes and scorches my nose hair. We walk, we walk, we are walking for hours and I am really starting to be fed up with walking. Further on, in a bend where an underground stream comes to enlarge the river, I can see a small construction by the roadside. It looks like, is it a mirage ? an illusion created by my desire to end this boring walk ? it looks like a tapshan on the water's edge. I quicken the pace and arrive at the installation. Perched on pilotis, we access the platform by using a metallic ladder. Close by is a shack guarded by an Uzbek. The khan of the place. The chief of this piece of valley. He lends us mattresses and pillows while watching a group of young boys who are splashing away, where the river forms a pond.
|Déjeuner en compagnie de Sobir, Sharizob et le khan.|
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Dimanche, jour de départ, déjà. L’humeur est morose, mes hôtes aimeraient que je reste quelques jours de plus, me font promettre de revenir l’année prochaine, au printemps, quand les montagnes font se gonfler les rivières, que l’eau jaillit de partout et que la vallée est en fleurs. La mère m’offre un tchapan (long manteau traditionnel matelassé et noué à la ceinture) et je ne sais que dire pour me montrer digne de ce présent. Sobir m’accompagne en taxi jusque Boysun où nous prenons le temps de visiter le marché aux chèvres. L’âne a besoin de compagnie, dit-il. Il me laisse ensuite prendre un autre taxi pour Denov, puis un autre pour Sariosiyo, la ville frontière avec le Tadjikistan. Les monts chauves ont laissé la place à une vaste cuvette où l’agriculture est prospère. Champs de maïs et de coton, maraîchage. Le taxi me laisse à une distance raisonnable des bâtiments de la police des frontières. Une ribambelle de camions stationne, moteurs coupés. J’avance à pied vers le poste ouzbek endormi. Premier contrôle de passeport. Nouvelle portion de route déserte, nouveau contrôle. Le policier me questionne sur mon nom, me demande pourquoi j’ai trois prénoms. Examen de mes bagages et des photos archivées dans mon appareil. Ai-je pris des photos interdites ? Cette boîte contient-elle des narcotiques ? Je me marre. Tampon. Nouveau contrôle de passeport à la sortie du territoire ouzbek. Ultime portion de route déserte au bout de laquelle un portique souhaite la bienvenue aux voyageurs. Derrière, attendent les mêmes camions silencieux que de l’autre côté. Des chauffeurs assis à l’ombre me font signe de venir prendre place parmi eux. Un panneau indique Douchanbé 66 km.
Excellent Sharizob, having brought in his bag tomatoes and cucumbers, sets about accomodating the tapshan and preparing our lunch. We begin to enjoy this simple meal in which I find the flavors of my childhood. As I believed that we will be making do with this snack, Sobir arrives by car with the plov. He invites the khan who takes place with us and we eat slowly, enjoying of the moment. The khan and Sobir discuss quietly and their words are mixing with the rustle of the water. After the meal, Sharizob goes fishing. But the profit will be mediocre and the only taken tiny fish will allow us not to return empty-handed.
Sunday, departure day, again. The humor is gloomy, my hosts would like I stay a few more days, make me promise to return next year, in spring, when mountains swell the rivers, when the water gushes out of everywhere and when the valley is in flowers. The mother offers me a tchapan (long traditional quilted coat with a tied belt) and I do not know what to say to prove myself worthy to receive it. Sobir accompanies me by taxi to Boysun where we take time to visit the goat market. The burro needs company, he says, thinking about his donkey alone in the meadow in Derbent. He lets me take another taxi to Denov, then an other one to Sariosiyo, a frontier city with Tajikistan. I see the bald mounts ending and starting a vast basin where the agriculture is prosperous. Cotton and corn fields, truck farming. The taxi driver leaves me at a distance from the border police station. A row of trucks are parking there, engines stopped. I walk to the sleepy Uzbek office. First passport control. New portion of deserted road, new control. The policeman questions me about my name, asks why I have three first names. Examination of my luggage and photos stored in my camera. Did I take forbidden photos ? Does this box contain "narcotics" ? I laugh. Stamps. Passport control at the office of exit from the Uzbek territory. Ultimate portion of deserted road at the end of which a portico welcome the travelers. Behind are waiting the same silent trucks as at the other side. Some drivers sitting in the shade wave at me for coming and taking place among them. A road sign indicates "Dushanbe 66 Km".
Supplément photos Douchanbé