All information I could get about the 80 kilometers to the border to Uzbekistan was alerting me and I made prayers again for the heavy loaded bike. The first couple of kilometrs were indeed like riding on the moon with full gravity, but who expects to make a world travel and have german Autobahn everywhere. It turned out to be very manageble. To my enjoyment there were camels again, I met another biker on his old Boxer-motor powered machine and the border to get out of Kazakhstan appeared very soon.
Helpful people got me to to the front of the long waiting line of trucks, pedestrians and cars. The first border guard at the gate was a football player and knew almost everything about the german league. So that was easy, but then the others wanted to check my passport twice and I am not sure if it was asking for a bribe. Showing that I want to do everything correctly I got through without paying.
Worse was to get into Uzbekistan. One helpful guy handed me the documents even in english, but the box to hand them in was empty for one and a half hour. The many people who were waiting there already indicated that it was empty at least for the same amount of time already before. No breakfast and the water at the far away bike I stood in the sun. The other waiting people went somewhere else inbetween, so I could take pole position holding my papers into the box. The heat was unbearable, me in full suit already thinking about the right strategy. Maybe I should fake a collaps to get it going there, but I just thought, no I dont give up, I show them what endurance is.
Meanwhile I could make my observations about the system they try or not try to manage the amount of people and vehicles. Though at each window of a box, there is a sticker which explains that you get into prison when you try to bribe an officer, the architecture of the system is made exactly for that. No clear signs where to go first and second. You always have to ask. No follow order of incoming cars and people. Each car has to unload ALL the luggage, carry it to the scanner and put it out one hundred meter further, while the car is checked. Jesus, if I have to do that with all my stuff, alone ... .
The officer appeared finally. I understood they had a problem on the other side to let people out of Uzbekistan, where he had to help out. After just doing one file he had alredy on the desk, it was my turn. The endurance was paying out. Within five minutes I had the paper and looked for someone to check passport, my bike and luggage. And here it comes: one guy was intersted in getting some extra cash and did all for me very easily without waiting in line and without carrying the luggage, he didnt even look into the panniers. But he was asking for his service: -You have tip?- My boiled brain and me refused to understand, partly from the heat and the waiting, partly because I knew I am almost through. And indeed I didnt have to pay. Two minutes later I was in Uzbekistan.
Right after the border they stop you to change money. Luckily I have still Sum from my first visit and was able to dodge the bad first offer. Two hundred meters further I stop for water at a more quiet place. They have food as well, dont know what, but, now I just want to sit down, eat and drink.
No, I dont put the camera or the video right in the face of these nice people who welcome me to sit down in their metal container layed out with carpets to sit down.
The container has one bed and more rolled up matresses and blankets on the other side. In between is the kitchen, stored food and the common eating place. Here the whole family lives, maybe around five. It looks like at least mice are entering at night, because the food is partly hung at the walls. Shortly I think about staying with them overnight, maybe with the tent behind but the place is a bit too full with garbage.
I skip the unpolightness of making images inside, but I show my world map, which the kids never saw before like that. The whole world on one big piece of paper. I explain my intended tour and of cause they are impressed. That I have to work while doing this and that I dont know how far I will get financially makes me for them a bit closer to their life, just a bit, but enough that they can relax about their guest. They appreaciate that I feel more then well in their container.
Eggs and tea served on the ground are the best I had. I felt good there. All normal. No time or money for bullshit.
Outside a money changer is sleeping on a carpet who has a much better exchange rate for me, then the one at the gate. 30 dollars change into a whole big pile of Sum. The deal is confirmed with the gesture of putting the money one time on top of each other while it is hold in the hands after exchange. Both are happy.
After paying I invite the kids to sit on the bike and push the start botton. I was a good guest, I think. Justs sharing half an hour of reciprocal trust and very basic life.
The road is more or less ok now again, but I am tired. Clouds turn everything into a dark mood. All the area close to the border seems unreal and not really filled with live. Somehow a troublsome zone, controled by military and border police.
The boy who has to open the gate at the first police check point is obviously still in a shock and ashamed for his closed blue eye. Someone must have beaten him badly. Maybe the officer is his father, who isnt too friendly to me as well. The whole place has a bad athmosphere, not only the official buildings and the village are completly run down, but I smell that something is very wrong here. Someone else insists that I follow him into another building where I understand that he wants to sell an insurance to me. I guess I have to have one, but I am not sure. I dont have one for Uzbekistan, but in Kazakhstan noone asked for one. After some bargaining he calls someone to ask the price for me which turns out to be very low for a whole month. Bike and rider are insured now, whether it will help in a case or not. Another boy in ripped, worn out, dirty pants is walking around, scared of the men which hang around there. In the face of one of them I can see that he is not blessed with intelligence, but why does it have to go along with this expression he could do something very mean to any living creature in the next moment?
The boy at the gate opens it finally for me. Ashamed he looks away while I ride through. Do they just have a tough live or are they also much worse abused? Well, I didnt see many available woman around. I dont know where the guys let their energy. The issue of uneasy relationships of man and woman I will find a bit later again.
Jesus Christ, this is a place where you dont want to grow up.
I was warned at the border already that there is a gazoline shortage in Uzbekistan, because Kazakhstan doesnt deliver, they say. But in the west of Uzbekistan would be enough gazoline. Hmm, why dont they bring it from the wwest to the east in theoir own country? Noone wants to know a gas station when I ask at the next check point at Jaslyk just a hundred kilometers from the border. But there is a sign of a station and restaurant ahead. The gazoline station is aborted but someone waves me to the other building. -Yes, gazoline how much?- 15 liters. - Hmm, yes. In two hours. - Hmm. - I look at the rooms and decide to stay, just nine dollars for a night in a clean new room with a shower. The food is great and they have beer. The guy is called Farhad and the place Alian where many trucks stop for a break or repair their tortured vehicles. The place is very recommendable to stay after you did it through the border.
Behind the building the bike is save again, locked to a undefinable iron object between camels and cows next to my window.
A stranded woman cant get a lift to the next city. She seems not to have the money to stay in the hostel and gets more and more desperate. For moments I also wonder if she is mentally allright, because I cant read her behaivior completly. Since I in fact have two rooms with four beds for nine dollars, I offer her to stay there if nothing works out, but publically she cant do this of cause. So we plan that I open the window in the back when everybody sleeps. I fall asleep meanwhile, he window stays open, but until the next morning I didnt have an illeagal guest and she was gone. Hopefully she got her lift.
I get the next morning the gazoline in five liter bottles from the very kind and helpful Farhad for a good price. The tank is full again and at least I should make it to the next bigger city.
A brand new raod appears. But through the sand I will not be able to climbe the edge with the heavy bike without risking to drop it, since my feet would not be able to touch ground for some moments. Until I find a more solid part it is still pothole-dodging. Ahh, new roads are fine, and I wonder what is so difficult to build them. Later I will get the explanation why it is build right there.
Beforehand I found in the internet a place to stay from a travel report by another biker. In fact I just wanted to check it out for a tea, I only did little more then 100 kilometers, but the tempatation to stay there and work my texts and pictures and use the promised internet was stronger then riding on. Though there are no real rooms jet, the actual hostel is in building state, and the guy who runs it is a real business man, on the phone constantly and sometimes he shouts at different people from which I cant figure out the reason. He welcomes me and nothing is a problem. I stay to write the whole day in the restaurant. Unfortunatly the internet is not working, nevermind. Tempted to leave several times becaus eit is stillearly in the day, Davron convinces me each time to stay. Ok, there must be a reason that I am staying here.
The mosquito plaque of Kazakhstan is changed into flies. A couple of times while I write these lines in the restaurant and the place empties of customers, the guys chase them out of the door by making lots of wind with blankets. They dont like that I make photos. Probably they fear that I put an image of a dirty restaurant online, though their method is very efficient. Each time a cloud of flies escapes through the door. Just ten inutes later the place is filled up again. I balance their discomfort about the photos with a bad joke, that in Germany we shoot them one by one. They like the joke and try to top it with machineguns, but the last laugh is on my side with the handgranade. Topping my jokes ... . Even in England I was treated as one of them by contering their humour with below all accepted levels jokes, taking the piss out of everyone around me, not leaving out the queen herself.
Davron calmed down from his buisiness, asks me if I know a method against the flies, since attracting them with light and electricute them would be forbidden in restaurants. He turns into a very nice guy when showing pictures of the family, and then he explains what is going on with the town. A Korean company starts a billion! dollar business in a chemical factory. All on the newest standards with lots of attention from international experts. Of cause they need good roads, hotels and Korean restaurants. For Davron the big business is coming. By the way, his children are studying in Germany and China, so he must do well, and he asks me to research in Germany for a used but good meat chopping machine called "Husky" from the company Treif. Every butcher in Germany has one like this or even better. It would be no problem to get one, but how to get it here?
So after I have to get motorcycle tires for Boris in Ukraine, I have to get a Treif "Husky" for Davron. Lets see.
But when talking about families, of cause not having children in my age is not accepted and I get a well meant lecture about live. All the communication is going through his online translator since the internet is working by now. One of the texts I read in german is: - You are a good man on the first look, if it is so, you have to take care that someone looks after you if you are old. Many bad people make a new bad generation, make a good new generation! - Yes, not wrong, but I am an artist who hardly can take responsibikity for himself. How to do that for a whole bisiness or even two and a whole family while giving preference for the artistic complexities?- Not taking art serious, but the business of art?
This place is much more crowded as the Alian at Jaslik and I fear for my sleep. I was just told that the place is open 24 h. Probably trucks are coming all night with motors running to cool their load and the drivers eat and drink and use the shower. It is no uncommon picture to see a driver in pyjama and a towel over his shoulder at any time of the day sitting in the restaurant. However I will spend the night here, I get lots of work done and can take off early morning.
Writing this, I realize how much the computer work is taking me out of reality, I am in the still underdeveloped north-west of Uzbekistan when I look up inbetween. Not in a studio or at my desk somewhere in Germany. Better I get some air and look for the bike.
The meat machine is found in the internet and I asked for a qoute to send it to Uzbekistan. Hopefully they reply. Another contact is made also where I can stay in Tashkent.
Late at night I take my place to sleep. It seems common that people just lay down at the tables somewhere. It was sleepless because of the trucks and the wind and in the morning the flies come back. It is still quite early, so lets pack and get on the road.
It is unbelievabel how few kilometers I make each day. The roads and the trouble with the gazoline are causing delay after delay. Probably its best to give in the situation and relax. All the cars are driving, also the ones which need the 91 octane like me. There must be ways to get the fuel.
Twice I meet a spanish biker on a GS Adventure, the slightly bigger version of my bike. It seems that he is of the fraction who dont want to have anything to do with anyone else. Mentioning the fuel capacity of our bikes, his tank has ten liters more space, he just smiles at me, underlining he has the better bike. How about exchanging tips how to get the damn fuel? He even escapes me the second time when I arrive as well at a check point. Well, go your way, maybe you learn when you need help on the road one time because even your Adventure version is just a mechanical machine and no magic wonder.
I only make it to Turtkul. Urgently I need fuel and Uzbek sum. Change at a bank? Do they have one here? I end up at the bazar. Soon bike and rider are surrounded by 30 people asking all the usual questions. My question about changing money gets replied by many who want to make the deal. One says that in the Bazar is someone to do it professional, but where to leave the bike and luggage? -In the Bazar!- is the answer by the guy who turns out to be the trustable gate keeper. Meanwhile a guy is introducing himself as the english teacher of the school. Luckily he helps me out of the situation and guides me to the woman with a big bag full with packs of sum. The rate is very good and the deal is confirmed with the same guesture I learnd behind the border, but now initiated from my side, which amuses the crowd around us who followed very closely the deal.
To invite Hamid, the english teacher, for a drink to thank him is refused and replied with an invitation for a drink from his side. Small talk about the town, families, the where and what is followed soon by my question for a cheap hotel to stay. Of cause it triggers the invitation to stay at their familys house. I just have to hang out at the bazar for a while until he and his brothers did all their buisiness of selling and buying which gave me the opportunity to watch the happening there. One very young lady, Dinosie, selling sunflower seeds, sweets, cigarettes and cold drinks, wants to try out her english on me and is curious about the stranger who gets so much attention by everybody. Hamid, as an english teacher, helps her to ask the simple questions. I also get a coke and sunflower seeds as a present from her. I dont carry anything with me I could give her as a present, so, when saying goodby, I have Hamid tranlating a whole poetic speech of wishes for her good live and future. Photos with the brothers ans Dinosie and everybody around are made. Even people who just pass by, join the picture.
The brothers live with her mother in a new house they build all over the country in big areas all the same. I saw these houses since my entry in the country.
Hamid explains as well that they cant marry before they dont have the money for a house, the bride nd the big party. It seems almost like a buisness to me. And I reply to his question how it is done in Germany: If it is true love, it all is possible, even without money. Hamid doesnt know what to say. The pressure to live together with all brothers, having no girlfriend must be hard.
The selfmade shaslik is the best I ate so far. When the mother returns home, she is concerned about the order in the house and gives everybody a lecture.
The motorcycle is parked right in front of the house and all of us are sleeping in one row outside next to the bike. The air and the sky is great. Inbeween I wake up from dog noise, unidentifiable voices of a speaking sleeper and the ants in the morning, but it was a good day.
At another occasion in another place, at another time, in another country I had a situation which turned out not that much pleasurable as in Hamids house. I didnt want to write about it before. But it is part of this travel as well, otherwise the reader might think everything goes only smooth. I cannot mention here the place and the names, not to give bad light on people who dont deserve it. Also the guy I will talk about now is at the end a poor soul and I feel pity for him, regardless his bad behaviour.
I was invited by the sons of a family to eat and sleep as well, mother and father on a journey, the sisters married and out of the house. I didnt understand beforehand that this special guy is part of the family. Otherwise I might have thought about the invitation once more.
The missing hirarchy sin the house hows up in the disussions and fights, since the parents are away. The strange guy, you cant call him sober at all, starts over and over again and he needs a cold shower urgently. All attempts by the brothers to make him relax dont succeed. Because he is telling me since the beginning what I should do, and this is one of the very few things I hate, I make a point and get loud at him. I had a hard day traveling and cant take it anymore to be directed respectlessly by a drunk one. Immediatly I appologise to everyone and its taken. We try to be friends, but he will not stop to go over the limits.
The guy gives the impression of someone who was drinking all day already, before I thought he is just a little disturbed. The vodka they have in the evening one after the other down the throat doesnt calm down the athmosphere. It looks critical, since they call the parents who try to talk the drunk one down, which doesnt work. The opposite happens and the weired one freaks out, smashing his phone and starts a more serious fight on which he can let his steem a bit off, laughing when he is hold down by the others. The fight starts in the livingroom, drinks are spilled over the table, I save half a bottle, and the wrestling is continued outside in the dust.
Halfway calmed down they come in again. -Its just a game, Thomas.- I make the sober ones understand that I understand the situation with the obviously psychologically disturbed one. But do they have to drink hard liquor?
He constanly wants to ride the bike and keeps telling me what to do. Noone can calm him really down, not even the brother in law who comes to eat with us as well, by giving him money to buy more vodka(!) or was it to get his rocks off somewhere?
Inbetween, the other brothers and me confirm with eyeblinks that we understand the situation in the same way, better to avoid all provocations, because nothoing and noone can bring him down in this state.
The crown of the evening is, when he also invites me to stay at the house overnigth, which is already several times confirmed with his brothers, despite all my offers to leave the situation. Confirming to him as well my stay overnight, he then asks me if we could fuck later. His brothers are shocked and ashamed at the same time, I get really angry, but just punching him out of the game would not really help. The brothers look at me and fear a fight between the drunk guy and me.
-There is one thing you have to understand, my friend!- I say. -I might look like a nice, polite easy guy. And in fact it is like that. But there is a certain edge. If anyone crosses this edge, which is my bike, my things, the people I love and finally it is me, if anyone touches one of those with bad intentions, I will turn into a monster and I will kill if it is necessary! And I am not joking!- The warning enters his brain and the brothers succeed to send him off somewhere. I think the brother in law went away with him where he got lost.
The whole situation seemed to be quite normal for the brothers, maybe dayly business, I dont know.
All turned out well and the drunk guy never came back as long I was there.
-Was it ok, Thomas?-
-Yes, I have no problem. It probably is necessary to share also the unpleasent parts of life sometimes.-
What a pressure on the boys to have to live together as grown ups without their own wife or girlfriend. Not living out their sexuality, not knowing if they are gay or straight.
One brother guides me walking next to my riding bike to the bigger street and we say goodby. Is anything processed?
Back To Uzbekistan:
I get the fuel from a fruitseller who has exactly 15 liters of octane 91 underneeth his the melons. The dog "Tyson" barks at me, but otherwise everybody is friendly and we are all happy about the deal.
In streches a german comany builds a new Autobahn on which I can go more the 100km per hour. Kids and workers waving from the side of the road.
The first bribe has to be paied, since the police was hiding in a tent with speed-gun.
-Straf!- He tries the german word "Strafe" and shows the ticket. But since everybody is greeting me as well with a nice salamaleikum handshake I sit down and ask the one with most stripes how much the Strafe will be. He takes it as an offer for a bribe and wants five dollars. I only have bills of ten with me and tell him to keep the rest. Not in his hands the bribe goes, but I have to put it underneeth the ticket block.
From that moment on I am very careful on this road.
The road is montonous straight and my memories turn into a dreamy state and I fall into a second-sleep. Shocked I get councious again, still in the same lane of the road. It can not have been for long luckily ... .
One more stop at a cafe place next to the road where all seems fine here, until I see that one of the young lads is hitting at the big wasps where he does some work. When he got one half dead he puts it front of the puppy dog who is clever enough not to touch it. But the young lad is not satisfied and continues that gae with the younger bous and finally one gets stung. Theboy is hit by the father and others for his screaming and hung at the wall. Jesus Christ again, lets leave.
Finally I arrive in the late evening in the ancient city Buchara. Lets see what is happening here ... .
To my pleasure, the city Buchara is not overcrowded with traffic and makes an organized impression. At the limits of the ancient center one guy signals me to come closer with the bike and wants me to park it immediatly in the yard of a hotel, which I dont do of cause but ask the price first, which I only get from the lady of the house inside after the bike is parked outside. The price is ok for a very simple room, the yard is beautiful and the bike finally parked safely.
Many foreigners with low budget stay there, cyclists, hikers and some converntional travellers. A typical place where you can exchange informations and tips about your route.
After a nap it is much cooler in the city and I try a stroll. As I am not someone who gets much out of sight seeing, though the ancient buildings are impressive, I analyse the touristic structure with the many hotels and just one huge restaurant at the main place. Everything in the center is tuned up to get dollars out of the foreigners. All clean and tidy, no garbage laying around.
Behind me there is the sound of a motorcycle, but not the high tune of the small machines the people ride there. Turning around I spot a heavy loaded enduro, so I stop the rider who turns out to be from South Africa, making a trip from Bahrein around the world, Johann. I give him water I carry with me, a cigarette and guide him to my hotel where for the next two days my bike and me have company. Johann is on a 650 Suzuki, tuned up for the desert and more. He likes my compliments for the beautiful mashine. It does so well to exchange with another biker technical details about the machines, the luggage, from which we both have too much with us, to travel alone, where to stay, how the streets are what to take care off, etc.. Both of us enjoy to have found someone to talk to in a language we are comfortable in. Johann is a straight forward guy with tatoos allover, likes rock n roll, knows all the good german bands and he is someone who says what he thinks. About the politics in his home country without any care to be political correct or not at one end, and at the other end the hospitality he got in Iran as a traveller. Everybody I met, who was indeed in Iran, is amazed by the Iranian people. Everything we hear in the media is politics, but you hear nothing about the exceptional hospitalty a complete stranger welcomed with. Also you hear nothing about that Iran is probably the most stable country in that region, though I dont want to say that everything is allright there. The people must be the best hosts in the world next to the Kazakh people. Johann and me agree: everywhere on the planet you meet good people, you just have to go there by yourself.
One of his boots is in a very bad shape. I see the chance to make him a present. Always on travels I carry a shoe repairkit with me, my father was a shoemaker, as I mentioned before, and some techniques I learned by watching him repairing our shoes and the ones for the neighbours for a small fee. It takes me quite a while to stitch the upper rubber to the inside layer. The trick is to find the wholes from the inside with the awl, using the thorn from the outside as a sensor. My dad would have done it in 20 minutes, I used three hours, but the result is not bad and should last at least until Johann reaches Almaty.
Other travellers come in and out. All are keen on chatting and exchanging infos. While I am still occupied with the stiching, a german couple comes into the yard and is interested in the bikes and the where from, where to, and who, not so much about the why. It just needs 2 ! minutes that they not only give me tips about everything, but also tell me how to do the repair of the boot and other things. All my replies and each word I say they try to top, making sure that I understand that they have been already there where I want to go, that this and that road was not bad as I said, that they did it even with bicycles, did even worse roads, that they travel since two decades all over the world with motorcycles and bycicles, that they know how to do it and I know nothing. Hmm, they must be lucky that they can do it financially for such a long time. And to be honest, both dont look like to me that they ever worked for it themselves. At the end of this disturbance of my work they talk about sickness. Apperently the male part of them got a serious sunstroke while cycling through the heat. Now it is my turn. And they even listen to me for periods of about 30 seconds without interrupting me and he turns into the sick child who did something wrong and has to listen to the doctor now what to do and what not. I could give him a whole lecture, but they cant take not more then superficial information. Just from reading and luckily not from serious own experience I know what is happening with the body when it cannot regulate the high temperature anymore in combination with a lack of water. The only cure is a cool but not cold room, lots of water, also not too cold, and a rest for a couple of days at least. The dangerous part is not to take it serious, because quickly you might feel a bit better, but the system is not able jet to work under harsh conditions like riding a bicycle in 40 celsius or even more. A total collaps might follow where the body is not able to take fluids in anymore the convetional way, but only looses more water in a desperate attempt to cool the body by sweating. Fewer attacks probably come as well along with an increased heartbeat changing with freezing attacks, which escalates the state. Only a drip in a hospital right into the blood vessels can help.
They stroll away.
I dont know why it is always my own folks, the Germans, who talk in competition to me. Everybody else around me is much more easy going and even I get along with everybody myself on a more supportive level. What is so difficult to take the other more important then yourself, even it is just for moments?
A litte late for me, but still early for Johann we leave the tourist trap at 10.30am heading east. The plan is to skip Samarqand. If you miss pictures of that city from which everybody thinks you have to go there because it is so amazing, please go to any webside with many images and descriptions of it, or go there by yourself. I am not on a touristic travel and the must to go there is one reason for me to avoid it. For us riders it is also a pain to get into big cities, finding a place in the late afternoon when you are tired, paying too much money for housing and food and then you see nothing else but tourists who in fact dont know what they are doing there and why they are there. To try to sleep somewhere between Samarqand and Tashkent will pay out as you can read in the next chapter.
All three kilometers you see gas stations but just a few are open. We discuss if the fuel shartage is just a strategy by the mafia to dry out the small independent stations, because only the ones which belong to a bigger chain have juice.
Skipping two of those with long waiting lines of cars, we think the situation gets better now. Wrong! Just in time before an empty tank there is one where we can fuel up for too much money but I am not able to fill my beloved canister from Atyrau, it would be forbidden. Each car has a 50 liter tank at least, mine just 20, but there is no chance. All we could do is taking fuel from the filled tank into the canister and come back with the bike.
Through the enormous dusty winds we aim for a small town called Gallerol at the main highway. Unfortunatly the town has no center, everything is placed along that very buisy road and seems to have no hostel. Somewhat disappointed we just stop and ask a man for a place, hotel, hostel, anything to put up a tent or staying private for some Sum. To my surprise he speaks german. He thinks, goes back to his bycicle and asks us to follow him to his house. ... and his wife are the german teachers in the local school! They live in a beautiful place with a garden and some animals, have a filed of corn, potatoes vegetables and salads. We get a shower, food and can sleep outside. The only thing we insist to pay for ourselfes are the cigarettes, the youngest son fetches in a bar for us, otherwise they refuse all payment for their hospitality.
... shows me her german teaching books. Her face shines when I offer her to look for books in Germany for her. My sister could send her anything she needs and whenever I am back I could continue. She also would like to come to Germany once, the question is if I could help with a visa for her. That would be not too difficult, but I regret not to have a house in Germany where I could host her and others to stay. Well, maybe one time I will have a house and a garden, my chicken and the goat. And maybe even my own family, everybody asks me for. Specially the men dont understand that in my age I am not married and have children. They make me thinking about it though.
The family gets up early, for me ok, but when we leave the lovely family after breakfast, Johann said it is the earliest departure he ever did. 8.00am! I like to leave places at 6.00am. It is still cool and before everybody else you are out of the city before the heavy traffic starts. At lunchtime you are usually already at the place you picked and you can think about to rest or to go on.
Fuel, where do we get fuel. Still there are no gas stations opened. All cars seem to ride on methan which is plenty. My small tank is almost empty again and the canister still as well. That is the only reason I regret, not having bought the bigger 1200 Adventure for, the huge tank. After a chat with the very friendly guy at one station, he is able to give us ten liter of 80 octan each for a very good price. My bike never had that low octan but it seems it can manage. It just consumes much more and you hear the typical cling when you give it the throttle, so I hope I will make it to Tashkent.
It always takes longer as you expect for just a couple of hundred kilometers. It is a pleasure to share with someone else the responsibility for a while and having chats about our observations inbetween the stretches ridden.
The roads are more or less fine, but you also need this, since the traffic gets stronger the closer we come to Tashkent.
Surprisingly a few kilometers before the capitol we get stopped at a checkpoint and asked for all papers and copies. Hmm, never heard about it. We dont regret the break, the ass was hurting already and since we get cool watermelon from the police and a shadowy place to rest while we wait for the documents.
The center of the city has many cooling fountains and all is green and wide in the center, very different from my first stay in Tashkent when it was wintertime. All is very clean and even quiet, if there would not be my knowledge about all the grievances. The school I was working here with the support of the Goethe Institute two years ago is still in summer holydays, so unfortunatly I cannot do something there. But I can stay with Johannes, the Goethe Institute director who I know from that previous stay, and Natasha, his Wife. Johann is arranged to stay at Zakirs place, the sleeping offer which resulted from my help for Davrons meatcutter. Tanks to Johanns GPS we find the appointment. Johann goes to Zakhirs place and I follow a private cab, which is very common to use here, to Johannes. Jesus, what a chase through the upcoming rushhour. Remebering his licence plate, I stay close behind the driver insisting that noone gets in between us. He is taking over another truck in a corner at 40 kmh. I have to pull the break still in the corner while it is in a dangerous tilt at the same time, all with the heavy loaded bike. The driver only knows the near by restaurant. While I look by myself for the house number 10, I stop at the wrong place, the Israeli embassy is opposite a 10 where I assume the house of Johannes. -Passport! You cant stop here. Where do you go? What is the name of your friend?- One police officer and two agents with earphones are not very amused about me. I explain that I can call Johannes for the correct address which satisfies them a bit, but after Johannes explained me where to go, I hand the phone over to the agent, but the line is cut, because Johannes thought it all was a joke. Still they let me go and I arrive happily in another oasis with a beautiful house, a garden and a pool.
My tiredness comes through. I would need urgently to stay for a little bit longer time somewhere to rest, do work and rethink the project. The situations add up where I need the prepared piece. The ass starts to hurt, I am more or less three months on the way and the families and houses I was invited in, make me miss my own home even it exists only in my phantasy. Well, a couple of days I maybe can stay here without disturbing the family in the organization of moving back to Germany and taking care of the one and a half year old Florian.
Johannes knows all about the whole region. Political circumstances and entenglement. The details I spare out here, because it is not advisable to talk about it publicly, not even in the interent, since it is controled.
This is already the next morning where I took posititon in the garden I write this.
In the evening I meet Johann and Zakir and Davron in town. The taxi ride there wasnt so pleasent, because the driver didnt know really where the restaurant is and brings me to the other end of the city, ignoring my directions: center! finally we find it by asking us through several times and I spot it when he wanted to pass the place. Now it comes of cause. He wants the double price, because the tour was long. Instead of the normal 5.000 Sum he wants 10.000 nd I give him 7.000. Protest! I dont care, he didnt know anything about the city and was driving hazardous, causing all kinds of problems for other cars.
While the newest information about the meatcutter is exchanged, Johann tells he is sick. -If I cant drink my beer, then there must be really something wrong.- He is going to sleep and next day to a clinic where they give him medicine and two full drips. Since that he is in a hotel but a bit more stable. The doctor doesnt want him to ride for three days, which he didnt like to hear.
Well lets see what still will happen in Tashkent!