We came to Tajikistan in August 2007 as kayakers wanting to paddle as many rivers and spend as many days and nights in the Tajik mountains as possible. For 3 ½ months, we investigated the rivers and creeks of Tajikistan, getting to know the country in a low-key style, or as low-key as three six-foot foreigners with colorful missiles strapped to their backs can be in Central Asia. We had some language skills on arriving (Andrew, Russian; Middy, Tajik/Farsi; Simon, the language of love), which helped. We all enjoyed this small mountainous nation of friendly people; two of us, Andrew and Middy, decided to stay for the winter, a second paddling season, and a different type of living. Staying allowed us to do a variety of jobs and projects we hope have helped this country we enjoy. We are not so much on a long expedition, as we are living and paddling, like at home, in Tajikistan.
From August 2007 to November 2008 Andrew and Middy earned a combined 4800 USD. Projected earnings for the same period of the coming year looking similarly robust.
Unauthorized biographies written by someone who is not their subject:
Simon Beardmore, Lesotoan-Canadian with expired green card, grows the most respectable facial hair of our trio. His charms are many and his incontinence a serious problem. His very presence would seduce multitudes of mama’s all over the world, but usually the moment is lost when he must run to change his undies or cram them into the airplane’s lavatory trash. His African roots, residency in Scotland, and multiple degrees make him an international chemist of much mystery and an excellent fountain of knowledge on long, boring car rides. The two biggest, most high-volume rapids of his life, he ran without scouting, demonstrating the mix of blind-faith in other’s scouting, serious whitewater skills, and a blissful dash of stupidity that are necessary on our paddling trips. Whether restraining Pamiri drivers trying to punch Andrew, hiking on scouting trips for 4 days alone with Tajik shepherds eating nothing but boiled lamb, or jumping in the river to catch a fellow paddler slipping into the mouth of a glacier, Simon takes care of business on both ends. His counting ability extends far beyond his fingers and toes which makes him a formidable, language-less bargainer. He is sponsored by Depends Adult Diapers.
Having been charged with the onerous task of writing Andrew´s bio, I
could easily start with an impressive paddling genealogy, cover an
adorable vignette of his first time in a boat (aged 4), and then move
on to an extensive list of wildwater races he´s won and the commitment
and discipline it took to win them. I could do that, but I don´t
think he´d like it much. No, Andrew´s prevailing attitude is one of a
modesty that never undermines his subtle confidence. Confidence, for
example, that rendered it perfectly acceptable to bring a copy of
Emily Bronte´s Wuthering Heights on our 2005 trip to the Sary Jaz, one
of the most intimidating rivers any of us have ever paddled. Faced
with any task, whether it be portaging a mile of thorny, crumbling
path, or negotiating a mile of infuriating Tajik red tape, Andrew sets
about it with an indefatigable sense of purpose which is invaluable,
even when the 19th century chick-lit isn´t.
Nickname: the Mustache Prince
Eye color: blue
Marital status: zero
Favorite celebrity: late 90’s Queen Latifah
Facial hair tips: ‘light colored clothing brings out the natural luster of a man’s mustache’ ‘try using the oil left on your fingers after a plate of Tajik dumplings to accentuate the sheen of your mutton chops’
Languages (in descending order of fluency): French, Tajik, Spanish, English
Favorite musical: ‘just one? Well, I guess Center Stage then’
Arch nemesis: the aging, lady vegetable vendors at Tajik bazaars
Non-paddling interests: fruit, smut, plaid, modern dance