Uzbekistan 667 1000 Michael

Fortunately, Yuri, the husband of one of the ladies of the German cultural center, has to go to Tashkent and gave me a crash course in the use of public transport in Central Asia. We start in a minibus, changed to a shared taxi and drive with seventh others in a Chevrolet Damas. Seat belts are searched in vain for all means of transport. If they exist they do not work and are only attached to the belt buckle because of the seat belt duty. It takes some time until I get used to this lack of safety, the driving style of most drivers it’s would be more suitable to use harness straps, fire-resistant racing suit and helmet wear.

When changing money at the border I got a bundle as if you would pay your new car in 5€ bills. Even with 10,000 I received the largest available bills. Officially, their value is roughly 2 dollars on the black market you can get the same sum already for around 1.2 dollars.

Juri brings me to the train station and I’m lucky to get at least a first class ticket the second class is fully booked. Without him I would never had made it to Samarkand on time. I am very grateful to him for this and climb into the train with the pleasant anticipation to see Cate again after 18 days. On the train I meet Farhad who invited me to a private party and his friend Kolya takes me to the hostel. To my disappointment, Cate is not there. My time specification was one hour later, at the communicated time she appeared and we had a nice evening with Farhad, Kolya and her friends.

I arrive very slowly in the world of backpackers, the next day I realized that I left my best friend behind and will maybe see it never again. I am very happy that Cate splits temporarily from her new friends at the hostel and is there for me. The beauty of Samarkand cannot impress me on the first day also the many people are too much for me. It is a great relief that the well-informed Omar guided us through the city. With Felix, I get along a bit better and during the conversation I try to understand his way of traveling, which is now also mine. We visit the Registan, mosques, mausoleums, a minaret and a cemetery. In two days more culture than on any of my other trips. My Samarkand highlight remains however the purchase of a short pants. After much unsuccessful search, a taxi driver took me to a hidden bazaar, before we had briefly brought his son to sports. He goes shopping with me, negotiates the price and accepts in the end far less money than would be appropriate.

The next destination is Bukhara and I treated myself the first class train ride again. Out of the train I imagine I would run into a hot air fan. The sunglasses now don’t protect only from light but also from the direct hot wind. Logically, a taxi driver attaches to my heels and after an initial 25,000 sum I pay 8000 sum for the way to the hostel. Similar scenes will be repeated several times on the trip. I was very happy when I meet some motorcyclists at the Hostel. Lottie and Ryan are directly sympathetic to me. In the full noon, I decide to stroll through the city. Slowly go, take breaks, drink a lot and always keep the cap wet, than it is possible at 40°C and more. I am overwhelmed by the density of the historic buildings. It feels like you can expect the caravan that carries the goods. Before the Xo’ja Nurobod ko’chasi I meet Sunel with whom I visit a few highlights up to the Arc. The evening I spend at the hostel with Lottie and Ryan. Later I also meet Steve and Gilly who offer me to drive with them. Cate has reasonably avoided the heat of the day and arrives in the dark. We stroll through town and decide to return to Steves and Gilly’s offer in Nukus. The next day sightseeing and removing the nail from Cates tire. To check if the hose is damaged too, I remove the tire and damage the hose during assembly. Other hose the same game. I did the work with my levers a thousand times and never did something like that happen. My hands are shaking, I’m too nervous and ask Ryan to mount the tire with the patched hose. He succeeded immediately and I am happy that the situation is solved. Nevertheless, I feel as useless again as in the storm in Viktors truck.

A shared Taxi brought me to Khiva the next day and also Cate arrived soon after me. Even though Khiva is beautiful, the historic buildings are slowly hackneyed. I feel very pleased to meet Steve and Gilly again and decided to continue with them already on the next morning to Nukus. The trip from Khiva runs exactly as I expect it in a European-controlled truck in this mess traffic. Dead silence in the cabin every direction of view is observed and navigated by the driver and the passenger. Outside the city, the situation is relaxed and there is plenty of time for small talk. In Nukus we visit the museum of arts together and I went to the Bazar. When Cate arrived in the evening, I can confirm her that there is really no reason to visit this city.

The prospect of spending the next two nights in the desert raised my mood until Cate does not arrive at the agreed meeting point. Fortunately, only a technical problem her clutch slips and she can’t drive at full speed. A field repair failed on the unfortunate clutch cover. The evening with the Snaiths compensates however over the problems. The daughters Alisha and Lucy are obviously pleased with the variety in their travel company.


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