Uzbekistan

Kazak Road.jpg

Slowly we plodded through the last bit of Kazakhstan.  Leaving Kazakhstan (although slow wasn't as painful as arriving).

We arrived in Uzbekistan very late and immediately went to get some petrol.  Scammed.  That early experience felt like a good description of the whole country.  Everyone out to screw you over at each turn (though it's to be noticed that the gas station in the photo isn't the one that over-charged us, that was a little way further down the road).

It was the early hours of the morning in what felt, thus far, like a pretty sketchy country.

We'd pulled over onto a dirt track and a police car pulled up.  The policeman wandered over and we explained through the international language of "we're trying to find somewhere to sleep".  Out of this car staggered a few drunk teenagers who promptly fell down into a ditch.  "Wait until I get back." he barked, dragged the kids into the car and drove off.  We then had a lively discussion as to whether to wait or scarper.  One of us (not me) suggested we stay as it mightn't be a good idea to annoy the police so soon into our arrival into their (rubbish) country.  Somehow - and i'm not sure how - that single vote carried and we kicked our heels waiting for the policeman to return.

After what seemed like ages he did indeed return and told us to follow him.  So through the early hours of the morning he sped through red lights and we dutifully followed him into the back end of nowhere before pulling up outside a large hotel.  It was, we were informed, his brothers (or brother-in-laws?  or somesuch.)  After sitting in the lobby for a while discussing who was going to be chief negotiator and quibbling over the price for a while we unpacked and went to our rooms.  We were the only guests in the hotel.  We locked the door and went to sleep.