Helloooooo Stan

Trip Start Oct 11, 2011
Trip End Oct 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
Rovshan-Tashkent Hotel
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Uzbekistan  ,
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The plane had not yet touched ground and the people on the plane were already unloading their carry on luggage and pushing their way to the exits.  As the doors to the plane flung open bodies scrambled to the doors, as if the board control was closing in five minutes.  As i got through the swarm I located the visa desk, and, alas, no one home.  And so i waited, and waited.  After an hour at the desk and getting no response in English or Russian from anyone i say screw it and head to the boarder control with my letter of invitation.  Now, anyone who's been to the Tashkent airport will tell you that there are four boarder control entrances, three for Uzbek nationals and one for international visitors.  Apparently though, these signs are only a formality as the "line" is more of a mob of people that routinely get beaten by the security guard for pushing over the yellow line.   Therefore, after another hour and a half of pushing i land at the boarder control, at which point I'm promptly turned back, "No letter, only visa. Go back!" as he points to the desk I was at for an hour.As i explain in broken Russian that there is no one there, he pops out of the booth and waves at his friend, who meets me back at the visa booth.  After a ten second glance at my letter he asks for sixty dollars.  As soon as i hand it to him, he hands over the visa and gets up to leave.  I glance down and shout, "Nyet! Stop! Tre vheed! Tre vheed!"  He turns quickly and responds, "No Canada, only one entrance"
F#&$ me!" I answer back.
At this point embarrassment sets in as i realize I'm ready to cry.  After a crowded and lousy eight hour flight and almost three hours in line with receiving only a one entrance visa, i realize the whole tour might have to be rearranged now, again.
A group of teenage Uzbeks, who have been watching and laughing at the whole ordeal, put their arms around me, "It's OK Canada!"
With their help, i get to the front of the line in only forty five minutes.
After passing boarder control i find my bag and line up at customs, for another hour and a half i might add.  The only solace i receive through this is when the guards would begin shouting and hitting with clubs those who were crowding over the yellow line.

After four hours of bureaucracy i emerge from the airport me by a far too cheery driver for Advantour.  I explain the visa situation and decides i should get some sleep first.  After a one hour crash at the hotel i am picked up by a new driver who takes me first to Advantour to pay my tour bill, then off to the consulate to get my visa corrected.  The visa change was fixed with a simple scribble and stamp, and of course, US dollars.  As in most of the world, US dollars seems to make problems go away...and they say money doesn't buy happiness. 

At noon the tour finally got started in Amir Timor Square.  From the square we walked our way towards the government buildings, which unfortunately, were all closed off to the public, as were the surrounding parks.  As t turns out, Hilary Clinton was in Tashkent that day for a tour of the city and the new GM plant.  Thanks Hillary, yet another vacation ruined by an American tourist.
The tour took me through the metro stations and into the bazaar, where I found my new favorite snack: peanuts dipped in honey and rolled in sesame seeds.  Amazing is all i can say to describe them.
The Hazrati Imam Complex was the first example of central asian madrases that I got to visit.  The tile work, as in all of Uzbekistan, was stunning. In all though, I regret not having more time to spend in the capital as there was allot that I missed.
Oh well, there's always next time.

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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