Central Asia - Pure Photos (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    You will recall me saying when we entered Uzbekistan that the largest note (bill) was worth about 40 Euro cents ... well while I was in Tashkent, I had to take a short break and fly to Moscow to sign some administrative paperwork ... so I needed to buy a ticket. It wasn't expensive, about USD 480 (about 340 EUR) return for the 4-5 hour flight to and from Moscow, but I needed to pay in Uzbek Sum.

    So here is $480 (in Sum) on the air ticket office.

    They dont even bother counting individual notes. They count the bundles of 100. (note, there are over 2000 notes (bills) here!

    [​IMG]
  2. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I get back to Tashkent a few days later and with my Tashkent biker friend Vlad, head to the Kyrgyz embassy to pick up a new Kyrgyz visa.

    While there, Vlad hits it off with an Israeli backpacker called Gali, also waiting for a Kyrgyz visa ... and the next thing know, a plan is hatched to go for a ride into the Uzbek mountains to show Gali the beauty of the Tien Shan (actually it was Vlad needing to get Gali away from her travel companions who were restricting Vlad's "opportunities". I played along. I am a team player after all! And I like to see a happy ending

    [​IMG]
  3. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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  4. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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  5. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    We were climbing up into the mountains, up near where the Uzbek, Kazakh and Kyrgyz borders all meet.

    [​IMG]
  6. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    It wasnt high enough near the top for serious glaciers, but there was a small one a mile or so away from our road. I went to check it out.

    [​IMG]
  7. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Amazingly, the surface was actually rideable ... The ice was so mixed in with rocks and sand that the surface was rough enough to head on up further: What Vlad and Gali were doing when I was faffing around on the glacier-ette for an hour I dont know, but they were both full of smiles and smoking cigarettes when i returned.

    [​IMG]
  8. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Great pictures. WoW on the amount of bills on the currency exchange. Be a hard time carrying about 1000 USD. Need a suitcase. ;-). Kind of you to let them get to KNOW each other better and go ride on a glacier. That had to have been neat. Thanks for all the work of sharing your adventures in this part of the world. It's been one heck of an education for me. I'm for sure in for the CD at the finish.
  9. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Funny thing is, when we first approached the Uzbek border (I was then with Mad Max and Andrei), Max fished around in his luggage for a while and whipped out a pretty large bum bag / fanny pack and strapped it to his waist. I asked him what on earth that was for and he said "you haven't been to Uzbekistan before?" As it happened my riding jacket has a large built in pocket at the back, and it got a lot of use in Uzbekistan. Even then I could only carry a few "wads" of cash ... a couple of wads in the back pocket, a wad in my front pocket and the rest went in the tank bag. A wallet is useless there.

    The good news is that you never have to carry too much. Uzbekistan is not expensive at all. (a typical salary in Tashkent, the capital, is about 150 bux a month). I never had more than 200 EUR worth of Sum on me at any time, as it is too hard to carry. But situations like buying air tickets, what happens is you go in to the ticket office, you find your flight, get the price in sum, agree to buy it and then the sales lady (who knows the score), pops out of her "cubicle" to "powder her nose" and a guy with a large sports bag approaches you from behind and asks how much do you need.

    Technically you cant change money outside of banks in Uzbekistan, but everyone does because the official rate is well below the black market rate. In a case like this, I am not changing money ... as the man with the sports bag never gives me uzbek sum. He just places the correct amount of bundles of sum on the counter. I never touch it. I then give him $480 (gift to a beggar if anyone asks) and he walks away.

    Conveniently as soon as this is done, the lady behind the counter mysteriously re-appears and takes the mountain of Uzbek sum from the counter without asking any questions and issues me with an airline ticket. I never touched the sum, and I never claimed it was mine. i.e. I didnt exchange USD for Sum

    Simple.

    Fortunately I was guided thru this process by Vlad, who was with me (and warned me not to touch the sum in case 'eyes' were watching).

    Uzbekistan is a beautiful country, its cheap, and it has awesome history, culture and food. BUT ... at an official level, it is not foreigner friendly. The Administration there seems to have a thing about bikes and bikers and most inner city streets are technically closed to bikes. Visas are a pain in the ass to get and its the second most extreme "police" state in the former soviet union, behind only Turkmenistan. Customs are anally strict about checking everything you bring in and out of the country, and immigration rules including needing to be "registered" within 3 days of entering are pretty strictly enforced. In the southern part of the country I reckoned I averaged a police checkpoint every 20 kilometres and they always wanted to stop, check my documents and have a chat (usually friendly - about how nice it was to meet a foreigner in these parts - but still a pain in the nuts) .
  10. sambor1965

    sambor1965 Been here awhile

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    I completely agree with Colebatch. Have the same feeling, maybe because I was arrested in Andijan, fined and forced to leave this country in 1993. Every my visit there are problems with border crossing, visas etc. Tourist visa is a real pain, it is much easier to get transit visa and I prefer to cross this country ASAP. Last year I was about 4 hours in Uzbekistan ;)
    I find Uzbek people exremally friendly but I hate policeman who stop tourist without any reason. It is funny 1st day but then...
    As to the cities: Registan and some others historical monuments in Samarkand are awesome. They were completely restored in XX century and are not so old as tourist expect ;)
    But except these monuments Samarkand is rather ugly and boring Soviet style city. Tashkent is also completely rebuild after earthquaqe in 1966.
    Uzbekistan is also known as a country where people have problems with media freedom and are accused of breaking human rights.
    On the other hand they have long border with Afghanistan, many Uzbeks live in Afghanistan and they have problem with islamic guerilla in Uzbelistan.
    So it is easier to understand why there are so many checkpost and they are so striclty.
    Colebatch likes this.
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Fascinating... and awesome pics!! Thanks for the continued updates..

    So, did you carry all that cash in the shopping cart in the background? :lol3

    I was hoping you'd also be riding through Turkmenistan... so we can see more of the monuments of his excellency O great one, Turkmenbashi! Oh well, maybe on your next adventure..


    :lurk
  12. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Sadly I didnt get the chance to pay my respects to Turkmenbashi, inspired author of that literary gem "Rukhnama"
  13. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Last thing I did in Tashkent was get a haircut from a Korean hairdresser I met in a bar a couple of nights earlier:

    [​IMG]

    The haircut was fine but came out rather orange ... and I did mention this to her with more than a slight tone of concern. Bur she said it looks "really cute" and that I looked like a "pop star" with it that way - while she ran her fingers thru the hair.

    At that point I almost choked on my complimentary tea and thought what any guy would think "well if it has that effect on you, then its good enough for me". The "Uzbek boy band" look would have to do me till my next haircut.

    I guess I shouldn't have told her to "do whatever you think looks good to it" before we started.
  14. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I left Tashkent the next morning accompanied by Vlad and Zhenya, who rode with me south to the Tajik Border:

    [​IMG]
  15. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Posing with Uzbek cops and border guards.

    [​IMG]
  16. dirtbound4Max

    dirtbound4Max Hangin' 10 on the F8

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    Yep! That's "Kinda Orange" alright!!!!!!! :rofl Too Damned Funny Man! :poser Been there and definitely done that before! Believe or not, I've currently got a Mexican lady (Selma Hayek look-alike) who cuts my hair once a month and guess what ~ she does such a terrible job at it that I have to go immediately to another barber shop to have it fixed!!! But hey, the views, the smell of her perfume, and the feel of hands running through my hair are TOTALLY worth the five bucks I pay to have it fixed. By the way, the old man who fixes it also "fixes" several others as well! HA! Anyway, I'm totally enjoying all of your threads here on ADVrider!!!!!!! Great Job and keep feeding us those awesome RRs man!...................Sean

    PS. How's the newly fabricated sprocket holding up for Max?


    LostInTransit likes this.
  17. littleDONKEY

    littleDONKEY Adventurer

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    Indeed, it is so sad...you know, each time i visit this great forum of the adventure riders and i see so many amazing pictures of our BEAUTIFUL planet Earth, i am wondering, how it is possible that the man can creat such big catastrophe in its own environment (=home)...

    Anyway, it is a great journey...KEEP RIDING in safety my friends:clap
  18. Navel

    Navel Omphaloskeptical

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    Ok, now I understand it all: dentistry is still practiced at barber shops in Uzbekistan, I imagine the poor guy telling the korean girl the famous words "do whatever you think looks good to it".

    :lol3
    [​IMG]
  19. AXL Stubbs

    AXL Stubbs Jesk Dockie

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    Great Photos! You've posted stellar RR's.

    Oh, and don't worry I've had much worse haircuts before!:eek1
  20. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

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    :photog

    Ya know....as I was following the BAM report I kinda wondered wtf you did to your hair!
    (but was too polite to ask)

    p.s. she could have done anything she wanted to do to my hair! :raabia