Saturday, July 12, 2008

Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan

I eventually got out of Iran, exiting the country with the bike was a breeze compared to three wees early trying to enter, took only 30 minutes not three days!! From the moment I entered into Turkmenistan I was in a new part of the world, seeing plenty of old Russian Ural sidecars, Lada's, men wearing shorts(not in Iran) and to see a women's head uncovered was a shock!!

With 2 days of my 5 day transit visa already passed I simply did what the visa suggested, transited through, across the Gumbarra desert and boy was it hot. One thing I did notice from the very first person I spoke with was two rows of glowing gold teeth in his mouth, seems about two out of three people have a mouth full of gold teeth, maybe trying o keep up with the crazy late president, Turkmenbashi who erected a huge golden statue of himself in the capital, Turkmenistan has a strange past and is a strange place, all the border guard could say to me was Kalashnikov, pointing t my roll bag, suggesting I had a machine gun tucked away in there!

I spent the first night camped in the desert and then the following day saw me enter Uzbekistan, still stifling bloody hot I rode to the town of Bukarra for a wonder around the ancient Mosques before retiring to the Band B before my brain was fried from the heat. With time not really on my side and my Krygyzstan visa starting I have to keep on the move, still have to get to Tajikistan before there and get a visa for it in Tashkent, 4 hours north of where I am here in the holy city of Smarakand. I caught up with my Swiss mates who had an interesting but successful trip through Afghanistan, good to see them in one piece.

I have found out some important info on getting my Russian visa and Chinese visa in Tashkent also so tomorrow been Sunday I will keep on the move to the capital and spend a few days trying for these elusive visas. Two many people are telling me that I will not get into Russia and then I will never get into China, I do realise that China is difficult, it has really shut its doors due to the Olympics, Tibet protests and the earthquake so of course it may well be impossible but to be constantly told by others I will not make it is tiring, time will tell and all will unfold in the coming weeks.

The trusty Honda is proving itself, turning over the K's in the extreme heat, although the other day my fuel pump decided it had had enough but luckily I had a spare so ten minutes later I was on my way again, dare I say this but I was only thinking the other day I have not had a puncture since about Kenya, about bloody time!