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The Uzbeken customs officer was very interested in the contents of our baggage, and since we were the only travellers passing through, he checked us out really thoroughly. Taking his time, he opened our first-aid kit, and demanded information on every package he found in there. Even the photos of friends and family were leisurely examined, except that when he discovered tampons and panty-liners, he sped up his search…..could well be a good place to smuggle stuff!!!¨
After that, we had to put our gear on to the conveyer belt, but the officer stopped the belt too soon and a piece of our luggage went missing, hidden under the cover of the machine, ….no problem.
We pedalled on along the old Silk Road arriving in Bukhara on time for Ç ay and soup.
In the historical center of the city is a pool surrounded by old mullberry trees and traditional restaurants, and we were surprised at the number of backpack-tourists one meets here, predominantly French and Swiss. The city is actually quite interesting with it’s many old buildings, but tourism is booming and already there are souvenir shops everywhere, even in the mosques and Medresses (old schools).
Many men wear the black Uzbekistani hat, which is adorned with four white, embroidered „hearts“. Samarka is considered to be one of the jewels of central Asia due to it’s huge Mosques and Medresses whose domes, courtyards and facades are decorated mostly with blue mosaic. In the middleages, this was a bustling business city, and an important junction between Persia, China and India, but nowadays, there is unfortunately not much left of this thriving lifestyle.
Afterwards we rode to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan . Lately because of the heat, we’ve been setting off 2:30 in the morning so that we reach our destinations around 11 o’clock, then we try to get some rest in the afternoon, but instead we end up tossing around in bed soaked in sweat, unable to sleep at all. In the end it’s better get up and go sit with the the locals to dope ourselves up on black tea!.
Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, is a really pleasant city with wide boulevards and spacious parks, but apart from this, there’s not that much to see, so we chose to get straight back on the road as soon as we recieved the visa for China. In the morning when we should have gone to pick up our visas, Natahlie came down with a bad case of the runs,compelling us to stay a day longer to rest up. The Mama from the guest house gave Nathalie a remedy consisting of vodka with salt and in fact, that homemade medicine actually worked. Fit again, and back in the saddle, we took off in the direction of the Kazakhani border.although to get out of the country turned out to be just as bothersome as when we came in.
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