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Food and drinks

On your journey to Tajikistan, you should drink only bottled table water or mineral water. In many countries it is not recommended to drink the water from water taps as there is a risk of gastrointestinal infections,. Often intestines discomfort, sometimes followed by diarrhea is connected with change of climate or new and/or fatty foods which you are not accustomed to. But sometimes indisposition can be caused by bacterial, virus or parasitic diseases. Most infections get into your body through the consumption of water or food. If you want to minimize the chances of diarrhea on your trip it is recommended to consider the following simple rules:

  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, especially if you intend to eat them uncooked and raw. After washing rinse them off not with running water but with bottled water.
  • Do not buy already prepared salads (often called Korean salads in Tajikistan) at markets and bazaars. No matter how good they look, especially at high temperature during summer or early autumn, the prepared salads go off very quickly within one and a half hours.
  • Do not eat spicy food on an empty stomach.
  • Do not drink water from a tap. Local drinking water of good quality is cheap and is sold everywhere.
  • In the case of diarrhea, drink more water than usual since dehydration is usually results from diarrhea (normal consumption of water in Tajik climate is from 1,5 – 2 liters per day)., If possible eat food you are accustomed to and especially soups. To treat diarrhea you are recommended to take medicines that you usually take. If you have diarrhea and vomiting for two days (in children one day) then you should see doctor.

Tajik food is usually unaccustomed for Europeans and Russians. Tajiks love rich shurpo (soup), pilau, lagman, shashlik, puff sambusa, pies with mint and greenery, stewed mutton, mantu from pumpkin and meet with onion, kurutov and other high-calorie dishes. People of the Pamirs drink shirchoi (specially boiled tea with milk, butter and wall nuts), which they drink at mornings for breakfast with flat bread.

 Many of these national dishes are high in calories and contain lots of fat. However, Tajik cuisine will not harm your health if you follow the local traditions of eating, which Tajik people have followed for centuries. Abundance of meat and oil with day and evening meals have resulted in some rules, which are usually neglected by tourists. Do not drink cold water (even bottled) or softdrinks such as coke with or after the main course. Instead drink as it is accepted in Tajikistan more green tea or black tea. In summer time give preference to green tea which quenches thirst. With the main course eat more salads, fresh vegetables and greens which are always served.
 Protection from the sun and heat

If you are planning to climb mountains then take sun lotion or face cream with SPF 30-40, which can help prevent sunburn if you are exposed to the sun for long periods of the day. Do not forget to apply protective cream before swimming. Try to bathe in the sun in the mornings (until 11 am) or in the evenings (after 3- 4 pm). If you do get sunburned then wear light clothes with long sleeves. It is also important to remember to wear hats and sun glasses. Particulalry in hot climates our bodies require increased amounts of fluids, therefore drink as much bottled water as you can (avoid alcohol, as it dehydrates your body very quickly).

 Often in an attempt to escape from the burning heat during summer, travelers turn up the air conditioning to extreme cold temperatures. This pleasant coolness often creates a large contrast in temperatures between inside and outside environments and can lead to contracting a cold, or chronic bronchitis. Therefore we recommend you to use moderate temperatures when setting your air- conditioner.
 AllergiesIf you are inclined to allergies, then you must take along medicines which can quickly eliviate any allergic reaction. In Dushanbe exacerbation of allergies is likely because of central Asian plane tree during the spring time in April and May. Beware of products you don’t know if you are allergic, especially of fruits like ebony, pomegranate and black grapes. If experiencing extreme edema, closing in of the throat and rashes it is recommended to take antihistomine medicine and contact a doctor.

Altitude Sickness

 When travelling in the mountains at altitudes above 2,500 meters, some travellers can develop altitude sickness due to the lack of oxygen.. The likelihood of altitude sichness increases with age and being physically unprepared. The signs and symptoms for altitude sickness are —short breath, strong heartbeat, dizziness, headaches, ringing ears, nausea, sleepiness or insomnia, lethargy, bleeding from nose, swelling of feet, loss of concentration, disorder of coordination and sense of direction. The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to take time to acclimatise, sufficient fitness training before arrival in the mountain areas, healthy nutrition and a good night’s rest while travelling. Those who are tired or cold, had acute infections or diseases before traveling are more susceptible to altitude sicknes. It is said that local remedies such as kurut – sour dairy balls, which are sold in every bazaar in Tajikistan can help prevent altitude sickness.

If symptoms of altitude sickness do appear, you should inform your group leader or fellow travellers. The effected person should lie down and rest and then have tea with sugar. In case the person’s state is worsening it is important to immediately descent to a lower altitude in order to avoid edema of the lungs and brain. At weak signs of altitude sickness it is usually enough to decrease the amount of altitude gain per day. Take products that provoke resistance to hypoxia and help to generation of serotonin: chocolate, muesli, nuts. If you have ever experienced altitude sickness then do not rely on meat as animal proteins take too long to digest and are heavy in these conditions. It is important not to overuse strong black tea and coffee, which condense blood. Alcohol intensifies hypoxia and it is therefore essential not to consume any alcohol in a high altitude areas.

In Tajikistan social behavior is not defined by shariat – the sacred law of Islam. Nevertheless almost the entire population of the country professes to Islam, and therefore modest outfits and respectable behaviour between men and woman is appreciated. When visiting shrines and mosques it is desirable that your shoulders and legs are covered. The urban population of the country dresses in tune with modern times and almost everyone speaks Russian.

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