The entire complex is pretty old (how old, nobody's exactly sure), so there's not much of the actual fort left. There's been some reconstruction, but pretty much it's a big grassy area on a hill with the suggestion of mud-brick walls that have melted into just mud.
There is also a museum and an old caravanseri, but we never made it there - this time. We have two confirmed visitors already, so we'll have at least two more opportunities to visit the museum.
This time there was just a lot of climbing grassy wall/hills.
Making most of the parents nervous, not wanting to have to climb down the other side of the hill and then climb back up with the injured/crying child followed by trying explain to the med officer why they were letting the child climb high and dangerous hills in a country with questionable medical care. Sometimes the impersonality of an American ER unit is nice.
But the children, of course, enjoyed the climbing because of the inherent danger. What fun is childhood without some risks? And bonus points for making your parents nervous!
Spring is turtle season around here, and we got found by some boys who had a turtle they wanted to sell us. Joseph didn't understand that holding their turtle every time he was handed the poor thing only made the boys think that we'd actually buy it off them. Eventually they wandered off to find more receptive parents.
All of the children, minus Eleanor. She spent the day, as she spends every outing, strapped to my back. She will have deep childhood memories of always being strapped to someone's back whenever something interesting was happening.
After we'd finished with the fort, we moved to the whole purpose of our visit: Hissor Fried Chicken. When the weather is nice, Tajiks like to spend as much time outside as possible and every home has a big wooden platform called a tapchan. Every possible spare moment is spent lounging, sleeping, and eating on the tapchan, which is a habit I could easily pick up.
The Hissor Fried Chicken restaurant has an assortment of tapchans scattered throughout the complex, which is shaded by large spreading trees and has a stream running through it. Our tapchan was over the stream, which was nice but also alarming to the parents of children who might think the stream was a good place to swim.
After we'd eaten our salad and bread, the chicken was brought out, stacked five or six high and so fresh from the frying oil that nobody could touch it for several minutes. Everybody dug in, grabbing a flattened piece and eating themselves into a near-coma of fried tasty goodness. Even the children stopped trying to jump in the stream to eat themselves silly.
We all finally had to stop and head home, filled to bursting with sunshine, friendship, and fried chicken. Who could ask for more?