And into Uzbekistan

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Orom Hotel

Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Friday, April 8, 2011

Set off this morning after an uncertain start. I tried to shower last night, but no water came out of the tap when set to hot. Called the receptionist who tried to fix it, she called the manager, after 20 minutes all was well. This morning Martin went to shower, and although there was water, it was cold.
Breakfast was served by some guy in jeans and a vest, who came in from sweeping the floors. Acceptable meal, but I still think the hotel was only opened for us, and then at a push.
Set off on the road, which once again was mixed quality. We stopped off at Merv, to see some ruins. Quite interesting, then we came upon a bridal party at the one ruin. All the traditional yurts on display, wedding camels and all the trappings. Tooka photo of the set up, whereupon a load of the bridesmaids(?) wanted to have their pictures taken with me. What a going on!!! Eventually I managed to escape, so they congregated round Martin. Batyr was keen to get us moving, but Martin was enjoying himself too much! Eventually we left though. rove along a pityful raod, through a massive cemetary to get back to the main road.
Pushed on, had lunch and eventually got to the  border. Only stopped by 2 sets of police on the way today.
Batyr got us through the Turkmen side. You'd think that leaving a country is easy, well let me assure you it isn't. All sorts of paperwork. Then batyr left us and we proceeded to the Uzbekistan side. There was al queue of about 50 lorries waiting, so we passed them all and I asked the soldier what we should do. Left the car in a parking space and proceeded on foot.First stop is a medical. Take your temperature, and ask "any problems?" You've passed. Then passports. They get a great laugh over a GB passport, but entered it in the book. Next stop customs (we missed the veterinary office, thankfully) where we filled in a form, in duplicate. They recorded all the details, as if they are going to cross reference it when we leave. Registred the car to me. Some countries are so pernickity, some really just want to get you in.Then had the forms vetted, had the car checked by customs (as usual they are more interested in the car and what is under the bonnet than smuggling, thank goodness!), past another sentry, and we drive off to the final gate, where another sentry checks us again. And we are now in Uzbekistan!
Roads arent nearly as bad as we were told they would be, in TM, so we motor along. Past some police, who only have a passing interest. Only got stopped once.Satnav tells us there are hotels here, so I'm directing Martin where to go, when he says, "here's a hotel, shall we try this one?" So here we are in a comfortable hotel, $40 for the night, very attentive staff. Had a good meal, 3 beers between us (5.6%!), used the internet, what more could a man want. Oh, and the mobiles work again, so all is well.
Mileage 408 km. Work it out for yourself, I cant.
Martin's Merv moment:Ruins are lost on me.All I need is a bloke waving an old walking stick at a model made out of the same materials as the ruin and I'm a gonner.I don't think it was a wedding party - today was some kind of special day and a grand display was put on at this holy place for the benefit of visiting dignitaries.We were the cabaret.What was so surprising was how charming and friendly the young girls were - a situation which Roger and I would have avoided at all costs in UK for fear of being seen as predators. We are more like toothless agitators.Anyway the roads are literally a pain in the ***e and they are either going to take Roger's kidney's out or the steering on the Morris.And you can guess which bits are easier to come by out here.I have this instinct for watering holes - remember Canada Mary? and I knew when we pulled up in front of this hotel that we had arrived.Most particularly because I couldn't see anyway around it.For the first time in the entire trip I would like to stay on here for a while - probably cannot be done though.We are in an old city (not ruins!)Came up with an idea this morning over our disco breakfast that we might miss out Kzyrgystan in order to avoid altitude issue.We'll keep you posted.The disco? Every eating establishment in TM has blaring music - inside and out.This pop music stuff will be their ruin,mark my words.Uzbek seems a very laid back place.Rog got coffee and sweets while I was going through customs and they seemed determined to help us through.An Iranian lorry driver gave us the nod about parking up and going through ahead of lorries.Later we passed him on the road and he flashed his lights for us to pull over.Just wanted to say hello and wish us well.Earlier in day in TM had been pulled over by another lorry and then sandwiched between him and his mate's vehicle.Just wanted their photos taken with car.Again Iranians who seem very likeable characters.They apparently have no angst about Brits but don't care for Americans.Polis score today TM 2 ,Uzbek 1"Now Vladmir as a new recruit to our highly esteemed polis department (by the way thanks for the 32000M contribution) you can drive around all day in a 5 Series BMW and stop anyone you like and fine them anything you like for anything you can think of.Well not everyone.if they have AA on their numberplate they are government and 666 Mafia.So these monies then cascade upwards and all take a share according to rank.However if you cannot meet the full contribution I am happy to place you on point duty.This may be some way out of the nearest town with no shade or transport.Do not worry - you will be given a serge suit and a big hat to shade you from the sun.And a parasol.Well not quite a parasol,its a 12 inch stripey stick with a thong on the end that you can wave at any car that catches your eye"Roger is studying his Cyrillic alphabet so must be time to sign off.
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Barbara Goss on

Счастливого пути ... hahaha I hope they speak Russina there. (it means "bon voyage")

Fiona on

Hey Dad, good to read your last messages before I go off. glad youre safe and everything is ok, off to Majorca in about 15 mins! but im sure il still get any txts you are able to send. Love you loads!

Emily on

Thong on a stick...lovely!
I think you might be starting to enjoy yourself Dad!
No slacking now!

Tim on

Great to hear that the luck has changed guys, its looking like your almost enjoying it!! Food looks interesting....

Peter California on

Well done guys. Could not help noticing reference to "Pronutro" that highly gourmet substance. I mentioned it to my wife who says she has never used the word since 1975 and she also assures me that she has never seen it in a super-market in the USA. I am glad that you keep such a worthwhile product in Stanley
in fact no Rhodesian household should be without it. Talking about emergency products I hope you keep a jar of "Marmite" secreted away, adds zest to fresh bread,cheese& ham sandwiches for on the road snacks. Beats that Australian
product Vegamite.
BTW quick conversion tip for KPH to MPH multiply by 6. Thus 100KPH = 60 MPH not that I expect Stanley to read such sppeds unless downhill with a following gale.
Incidentally if you manage to get Stanley back to the UK will it be given pride of place (at least for a short time) in Beaulie the Duke of Montagu's museum.
Meanwhile hamba gashle

Bartek on

How safe is it in Uzbekistan? My friends were there and advice me to visit this place as well. But I am still thinking. Anyway I don't want to travel by myself without knowing language of the country. Should I take a tour guide? But even they are not confortable. Providers announce that. For example here:

Could you advice me anything please?

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