We stayed in Tashkent for 12 days. Tashkent is a fairly modern city and relatively safe. To be honest, it is quite a strange place. There is a mixture of old Soviet architecture, gaudy neo-classical government buildings that meet on large boulevards and traditional Uzbekistan architecture (Old City/Madrassa).
|Towering high rises of the soviet era with a fountain|
Tashkent always had a comfortable feeling to it. It is a pretty cosmopolitan city for being the capital of a police state. The 12 days we stayed were completely filled with things to do which makes it challenging to write a succinct post. However, our stay here can be categorized in a few points: Gulnara friends, waiting for parts, and visas, new friends and random meets.
|Bodomzor Metro Station - the metro is a definite highlight|
From the first moment we arrived we were happy to meet the other travelers that were at the Gulnara. Upon our arrival, there were different groups cyclists from New Zealand (Sergei/Adrienn, Jeremy), Australia (Alex/Marty), France (Eric), Germany (Sven), Switzerland (Frederic).
|Kiwis and Aussies at the Gulnara|
|Marty doing his best dinosaur impression|
|Sven telling Marty, Jeremy and Alex he would see them around|
They were a cool bunch and made the stay in Tashkent a good one. From going out to seeing the Champs League final to going to a Russian theatre (Ilkhom) to going to dinner at the same place every night, the crew felt like a family. As everyone left, the swissman (Frederic) was the only cyclist left. Our crew became smaller, but we still managed to go out in the city with other friends and make the most of it. We had a lot of fun going out with Fred.
HJ had ordered parts in Bukhara from HK Suspension to arrive to Tashkent. The original estimated time was 5 days, however after speaking with people, they said it would be more like 10. In fact, it was about 9 days for us. When the parts did arrive, we drove over to the BMW dealership and scheduled a time to come back and do the repair with them.
they have minimal knowledge about motorcycles, they were willing to help and offer
their workspace. HJ returned the
following day and began to disassemble the front fork. There was a stripped thread in the drain plug
so a new one was needed. Luckily, there
was a machinist who was more than happy to rethread, machine a new bolt and
washer. After a few hours the fork was
reassembled and HJ was back on the road with a fixed fork.
|HJ at the BMW Tashkent Dealership|
Since we had to wait for the parts, we felt it a good opportunity to use the time to apply for visas. We did both Kyrgyzstan (1 day, $112.50) and Kazakhstan (5 days, $30) in Tashkent. The process was painless but did require a bit of waiting. We had also inquired with the Tajikistan embassy about prolonging our current visa but they said it would not be possible. We decided then to skip Tajikistan directly and head straight to Kyrgyzstan, then up to Kazkhstan.
|This border actually works quite efficiently if one needs to get into Kazakhstan|
Speaking with the manager of the Gulnara, he informed Scott that his Uzbek visa was about to expire. Scott would need to use his second entry to renew it. After a failed attempt at the local Tashkent crossing, Scott had to go west to the much smaller Yamalla crossing - 60km away but very few people. The border agents were very friendly allowing for the motorcycle to stay on the Uzbek side (not having to export and reimport) as well as helping move through the line quickly and filling out the custom’s declaration. After 4 hours Scott was almost done. The first police checkpoint after leaving the border Scott was stopped, had to pay $5 (for a “Californian gift”) but in return received 2 cups of tea – not the best deal but at least it was something.
New Friends and random meets:
|Wandering the Tashkent streets|
|Our encounter with Guillaume and Peggy led us to the National House for dinner|
|The Sunday crew at the mountain (Muxid, Prashant, Gulziyba, Denis, Scott, HJ, Olga)|
|Another Ido sighting - he gets around|
|At Olga and Denis' place with Prashant|
|The Dutch couple on their way to Japan|
|Do Svidenya Tashkent...|