Trip Start Apr 26, 2008
Trip End Nov 30, 2008

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Flag of Uzbekistan  , Tashkent,
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ok I am struggling to update this, so I will try to have shorter but more regular post from now on ! From Almaty I took an overnight train to Shymkent which is about 120km form the Uzbek border. The train was fine (  I am kind of use to them now...) but the taxi ride to the border was a freakin nightmare. As I am starting to learn the hard way, the world over the taxi driver are too often the worst people you will meet in a country. Anyway after lots of bargaining and just escaping from the police (the guy that took me was an expensive but also illegal taxi driver) I made it through the border and to Tashkent the capital city of Uzbekistan. There I met Nozila, a friend of Marcin (another basketball cod), we invited me to stay at her house and took me around town. I had a fantastic time there with her, from the old city where she lives with it's huge bazaar and small streets, and the newer more Russian part of town with big avenues. In general the city is very green with many back streets with small houses and many gardens.  There might be not so many "sights", but it's just a nice atmosphere, a city with many faces with very relaxed locals. Many people came to me and were always curious to understand who I was, what I was doing here and how life is in France (and how much I was paid...). And the food is great, well Nozila and her parents took great care of me I have to say, lots of tasty fresh fruits, nuts and wedgies, and of course kebabs. In general food is on good surprise for me so far as many warned me that central Asia will not be a culinary highlight. But trust me it's more than fine. The relaxed pace, the outgoing people, and well the language makes this place much more closely akin to the Turkish culture and the middle east in general than the more Russian and Mongol Kazakhstan. So in the end I was very sad to go and say goodbye to Nozila and her family, and Tashkent is so far the most pleasant surprise of the trip.
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