I have traveled with Oriz on the Pamir Highway twice: both times in October. As a guide, Oriz beautifully manages to balance professional guidance and friendly companionship. His knowledge is extensive, but he caters his guidance to the interests of his tourists. On my second trip I was traveling with old friends from university, and the memories of us hanging out with Oriz at the guesthouses stand out as particularly cherished. Another one of Oriz\'s virtues as a professional guide is his flexibility and ability to arrange complex excursions. I can speak for his flexibility in the Wakhan altering our itinerary to find the ideal place to spend the night for photography. We canceled one night in Langar and stayed one night in Yamk (spelling?) instead. I can not recommend Oriz enthusiastically enough. If you are looking for friendly companionship that will show you the most generous and sincere aspects of Pamiri culture, Oriz is the man. If you are looking for professionalism in guidance, Oriz is still the man.
Tajikistan trip: Besides the Pamir and all the mysticism that surrounds this hidden country, I have always been attracted to the sound of the nation´s name and wonder what Tajik folks look like (some blonds, some tall others small)….. This narod (nation) of about 143 000 square kilometers is landlocked. I visited the country of Tajikistan for 3 days. As many know already, I did not get a Turkmen visa so I went to Georgia for a couple days, from Tbilisi (Tiflis) I left by plane to Dubai and from there to Dushanbe (Monday in Tashkorgoni, Uzbek and Tajik) and by the way, the Tajik language is written in Cyrillic script in Tajikistan and in a modified Persian script in Kitay (China). I was picked up by my guide (Oriz) and my driver (his name escapes me) and was taken to Grand Asia Hotel and there was welcomed by a very friendly male staff. My room was good enough and I had plenty of bath stuff and a nice heating system (furnace) Very clean room and restroom. I also loved the view from my floor. I love the carpets in Muslim countries. Breakfast was delicious and different every day. The waiter was extremely kind and attentive, he even offered me food that wasnt in the buffet table. First tour day was a little gray and cold, very cold. I saw the Rudake Park, National Library, White House, National State seal, House of the Parliament and Jomi theater. Also I saw the Ministry of Inner Affairs building and the tallest National Flag (165 m high pole, 30 m wide, 60 m long) it was huge and astonishing. I was lucky to visit the Gurminj Museum of traditional music instruments and actually met an ex musician from the Soviet era and some of his friends who hailed the CCCP (SSSR) still as many others do in Central Asia (especially older folks) One of the most exciting visits was to a bazaar. This is and was a real life sensation, I could sense how Tajiks live and make money, how they work in a daily basis. It had some of the most colorful merchandise, fresh fruits and vegetables, some I recognized others I just didnt, unique to this wonderful land in Central Asia. I had a very delicious and filling dinner in Tajik style. I liked how my driver and tour guide (friends) spoke the language. Tajikistan is cheap if you know where to buy for goods , be it, bread, beer, cigs, fruits and whatnot. On my second tour day we drove to Iskanderkul, a mountain lake (Iskanderkul means Alexanders Lake, since Alexander the Macedonian visited and fell in love with the lake) This lake (2255 m.a.s.l) is situated in the famous Fann Mountains, it is one of the best places in the ever beautiful Central Asia. The road to the lakes goes over Anzob pass with amazing panoramic views. Tajikistan is the second narod (of CIS countries) for volume of water resources with more of 1000 rivers, 2000 lakes and 8000 glaciers. On my way to the lake I saw the Death Tunnel (a very long tunnel being built together with Iran) around it I took pictures of the snow covered gory (mountains). We had to get stuff since there werent any markets on our way. We walked for around 40 minutes to see a smaller lake (snake lake) for the ones who despise snakes, winter is the best time since they hide away from curious tourists like myself. I walked around my hotel after I had dinner with the company of the driver and Oriz who were very cool people. I even listened to Pamir music (Pamir like the mountains). We went to a Christian church before my flight to Almaty. Good food, good driver and guide. Dushanbe is very clean and most people are friendly. Tea and coffee are exquisite.
I was in Tajikistan 2 years ago and had the pleasure of meeting Oriz (ExplorePamir) and must say it was one of the most delightful trips I have had. The warmth, hospitality, attention to detail, cultural and historic knowledge of the sights we saw...all made for a unique and memorable trip. I have now travelled to 166 countries and this was one of the most enriching experiences thanks to the commitment and service demonstrated by Oriz