Thursday, 10 September 2015

Day 414-435: Uzbek to Kyrgyz and back to Uzbek?

 Went to Tashkent to sort out Tajik visa and also try to find a temporary tyre to last me till Dushanbe as my repaired burst tyre keeps giving me flats. Thanks to my host, Oscar for taking me to the flea market (GPS: 41.153143, 69.2109) but eventually I took a used tyre off him instead.

Set me freeeee

Gonna explode soon

 Live worms

The ''bike department'' in the market

Met Zsofia from Hungary (Dies Diem Docet) in Tashkent who recently became a solo cyclist after her friend returned to London.

 While in Tashkent, I was invited by Mr Mohd Kamil, our Second Secretary from our Malaysia Embassy to join a lunch gathering with our Ambassador, Dato NorAini Abd Hamid. This is us at her Excellency's home. Such a friendly atmosphere lunching with everyone, love it!
Dato NorAini, our Ambassador in the middle.

 Not forgetting lots of homemade Malaysian food. Dato NorAini also gave me a bag full of Maggi instant noodles to take on my journey. 


Back to Samarkand after unsuccessful attempt to get my Tajik visa due to system problem and with my Uzbek visa expiring in days, I decided to go to Bishkek to sort out my Tajik visa and re-enter Uzbek again. When I was back at the hostel, I found familiar faces + new friends.

 Coincidentally, like me, Sam (above) & Vito (below) lived in Bristol and also Sam & I went to the same Uni. They started from England together and is going towards Asia.
 Touring cyclists love to nose at what other carries. Guessed what, Vito had a kettle!

 Leonie & Philipp from Weltradlenker! Met them at a bus station in Iran and here we reunite again in Uzbekistan!

 Photo credit: Zsofia - Caught me doodling on Leonie's pannier

Photo credit: Zsofia - Us before everyone goes on separate ways. Yes, Zsofia whom I met in Tashkent came to Samarkand too and turns out she cycled with Leonie & Philipp previously.

 Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 
The place frequent by touring cyclists in Bishkek.

Green is the new black?

Discussing routes over beer... favourite past time

 Jochen (Nomadic Freedom) from Germany has been on the road for 4years, now making his way back and should finish by Christmas. Funnily we actually crossed path again in Khorog and again in Osh later on.

 Cyclists packing up

 Cyclist's toy spotted

 Heavy loaded

 3 individual solo cyclists from Germany and France. 
Heike (Worldbybike) in the middle is the 2nd solo female cyclist I met on the road. 

 Yes bloody drivers, 1.5m please!!!

Went to the doctor at NeoMed as my diarrhea/vomiting keeps coming back, plus low blood pressure and lost of appetite. So much of my time here in Bishkek was resting as doctor advise not to move around too much, just lie down and rest.


I was in time for Kyrgyzstan Independence Day and traditionally there is a full day of competitions going on at the hippodrome including the infamous horse game. 
Entry fee: 200som

 Before the game, riders going round touching the 'goal pit' 

 Horseman with the headless sheep

 Fighting for the sheep

Scoring moment of the horse game


Its a pain dealing with the woman behind this gate at the Uzbek embassy but glad I managed to get it within a week. Cost USD85 for double entry.

Tajikistan visa was easy. Turned up in the morning and got the visa by 3pm same day. Double entry, 45 day visa @ USD75 (no extra for double entry) plus another 100som for GBAO permit.
With 2 visas in hand, its time to head back to my bike back in Samarkand! Meanwhile thanks Kay (whom I never met in person but spoke briefly online) for checking the well being of Thorn. Kay is 27yo from Japan who was solo cycling the Silk Road from China to Turkey for Peace, 5000miles, 5000 smiles. (SilkPeaceCycle)


 Rushing back to Samarkand to catch the night train to Denau so I can ride to the border in time to enter Tajikistan.
 Sleeper train. The attendant was quite pissy when I wanted to put my bike near the entrance and was hinting for money. I didn't pay him anything but glad he still let me onboard and arrived at my destination with Thorn in one piece.
My bed.

 Cotten field
 My last Uzbek hospitality. I rode into a village before the border looking for a place to camp while everyone was stopping me/ pointing/ beeping at me telling me that I've gone the wrong way as they thought I was heading for the border that late afternoon. Unexpectedly I was invited to stay with the family who owns the mini market when I was trying to stalk up food for dinner. The first thing was them getting ready hot water, shove a brand new bar of soap in my hand and told me I must have needed a shower. Awesome! Then followed by snacks, dinner etc. They decline photo like the family who took me in near the border when I enter Uzbek. My guess was that they knew they are not allowed to take in strangers and also that the officers at borders will check my photos.
 Wasn't trying to be romantic but we had constant power cut this night.

 Goodbye Uzbekistan. Thank you Mama for the rose and telling me to come back anytime.

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