RTW on a H.A.T. In the slow lane.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hmm, thanks to both MrKiwi & ScotsFire, thats pretty much what I expected. I reckon we've got about 4000 klms until we hit Turkey, maybe a little more. Hopefully once there we will be able to source a good compromise tyre, assuming this 805 will make the distance.
  2. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    I think it's worth mentioning at this point the amazing hospitality we continually receive whilst on the road. These last couple of days here in Tashkent we've been hosted, dined and chaperoned around Tashkent by a great bunch of guys and girls. Artur, Alex, Alyxis, Bek 1 & Bek 2, Tony, the list is extensive. It made getting local insurance, for the princely sum of $3 US by the way, SIM card, octane booster and so it goes, so much easier. Tashkent by the way is an extremely modern, large and attractive city. Not that we are city people necessarily, but there is enough here to keep you interested for a few days at least.

    If in Tashkent fell free to contact these guys, you won't regret it.
    https://www.facebook.com/vtwinuzb/?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite&notif_id=1501471178110566

    On the subject of octane booster. Outside of the major city's petrol can be extremely hard to find. You need to look for soft drink bottle stacked on the side of the road. Pretty much all petrol is 80 octane. I didn't know there was such low octane petrol. Everyone seems to run on this stuff, but most report issues. So as a precautionary measure we've gone out an bought some octane booster to juice it up a bit. I'm usually very cynical on this sort of stuff. A bit like Mrs Mcgillicuddy's magical elixir, but I'm prepared to make an exception in this case.

    Here's Alexys & Alex.
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  3. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    I've finally discovered why we have been carrying around this extra ballast for these last 11 months. :hide
    [​IMG]
    :lol3:feelgood
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  4. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Ah, at lest one person out there got my little attempt at humour. :thumbup Shaggie
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  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Having just arrived in Samarkand, we've now ridden in Uzbekistan long enough to declare that Uzbek drivers are definitely in the playoffs for worlds most shite & dangerous drivers. I mean gold is out of reach, the Indian's have that for perpetuity. But silver & bronze are up for grabs. We regularly hear that Iran is also pretty crazy, we'll be able to judge soon enough.
    In any case we can't cross over to Turkmenistan for 12 days, so we will split our time between here, Samarkand and Bukhara. Both with a heap of history and tarted up ruins we believe.
  6. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Thanks for checking in G! :wave
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  7. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    No probs Shaggie, I've been a tad off colour these last few days. Actually over these last few months to be brutally honest. I'm feeling a little better now and there is a lot to see here in Samarkand. So give me a day or two and hopefully there will be a few worthwhile pics to post. Got to avoid the worst of the heat though. It's brutal, low 40's every day.
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  8. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Like the other "Stans", Uzbekistan uses the So'm as their currency. But we tourists have to pay our hotel cost in US dollars, apparently it is legislated that way. But you get So'm as change. The official exchange rate is something like 4200 to $1 US. The street rate is 8200, give or take. This is the change we got back from our hotel in Tashkent, when our bill was $48 and we payed using a $100 bill. Yep $52 worth. There are literally 100's of notes here, at the street rate. Every business, even the little cafes and ice-creameries have those rapid money counter machines. You know, the ones the drug dealers use. :evil
    [​IMG]
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  9. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Samarkand is an ancient city dating to well before Christ, thus the history is varied with it's fair share of prosperous and stable times, interspersed by sackings and upheaval. Alexander the Great passed through here causing much mayhem, along with Ghengis Khan some 15 centuries later. Ghengis particularly tore the place apart. He being nomadic, saw little point in having all these grand building about, so down they came. Between these two warriors and afterwards, Samarkand had been conquered and ruled by all the usual suspects. Chinese, Turks, Persians, Ottomans, Russians and so it goes.

    This leaves a lot of history scattered about, one outstanding example being the tomb of Daniel. Now if your've been following along, you'll know I'm not a great devotee of religion. But my understanding is that Daniel goes waaaaaay back to the old testament, was originally buried somewhere in and around present day Israel presumably, but was exhumed apparently and relocated to Samarkand. Who knows I surely don't :dunno We'll visit his tomb tomorrow I guess.

    So we ventured forth, both last night and today to look around some of this history. But and it's a largish but. Most, if not all of what you see here in Samarkand is either a recreation or a massive restoration of what has been here. Most historical sites fell into complete, or near complete disrepair and much of the restoration has occurred over the last 150 years or so. There are photographs aplenty showing the ruins of the past, then voila, now we have reconstructed historical sites. Without trying to be too picky here, I must say some of the restoration leaves a lot to be desired. For example, central Asian artisans are world renowned for their tile making crafts. In many places where tiles have been lost over the years they have been replaced with what can only be described as wall paper. I'd much prefer to see the underlying plaster and mortar, than a modern paper facsimile. But hey, that could be just me.

    Tilya Kari madrassa, Samarkand, Uzbekistan in the evening light.
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    I'm using a super wide angle lens here that exaggerates the angles, but that minaret to the left does have a hell of a lean.
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    A stage has been set up for coming festivities, this did not enhance photo taking opportunities.
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    This lady knows how to set up a nut, seed and spice stall.
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    This dude could take a lesson or two, asleep at the wheel me thinks.
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  10. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Increasingly Grumpy Super Supporter

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    that is an interesting set of pictures. Love the market.
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  11. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    I don't really know why I do this? Visit religious sites that is, to try to understand I suppose. As I mentioned yesterday we went for a walk out to the Daniels mausoleum today, at least the one here in Samarkand. A quick google search proclaims that there are at least eight sites throughout central Asia, Persia and the Middle East that claim to house the remains of Daniel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Daniel The most widely accepted being Susa in Iran. What the truth is I have no idea. I guess todays visit and internet search just reinforces my already fixed views and prejudices on religion. It's mostly belief, supposition, interpretation and whole bunch of blurred history. Ok enough preaching, I fear we may loose half our flock. :pope :gerg :-)

    It was a fair old hike out to his mausoleum, so we inevitably passed a number of other new/old historical sites. Here's a small sample.
    Khazret Khizr mosque, very typical of the reconstruction going on in Samarkand. Once finished, inevitably there will be an entrance fee. Local price and tourist price, often up to 10 X as much. This is a very bad policy adopted all over Asia. The little bit of extra income generated does not out weigh the frustration and resentment often felt by many tourists. It certainly wouldn't fly in the west.
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    Museum of architecture.
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    The simpler life.
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    A little reminder that this part of the world is all part of the old Silk route.
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    Daniels tomb of Samarkand. Interestingly he is usually proclaimed a prophet in Islamic religion, but not mentioned or officially recognised as such in the Koran. He is equally revered in Judaism, but again not a prophet. Yep, I'm more confused than ever.
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    I'm not at all sure what is under that cloak. Perhaps Daniel was 40 ft tall.
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    A final look up the hill before we leave.
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  12. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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  13. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Samarkand is an interesting place no doubt MrKiwi, but I fear that it is morphing into one big open air theme park. As mentioned above, nearly everything "old" here, is new again and there is an entrance fee to ever site. Places of worship, mausoleums, you name it. Then to top it off we tourists are slugged a price many multiples of the local price. In the whole scheme of things it's not a huge amount of money, unlike Borobodore in Java which was $50 US ea, Eeeeeek. It's the distorted logic and discrimination behind it that is morally corrupt. Perhaps I'm just an idealist old fool.

    Oh the markets are always worth a look see. Rarely do we buy of course, but thats irrelevant.
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  14. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Haha DunkingBird so which persuasion are you? A follower of the shoe or the gourd?

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  15. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Ah yes, I too now also recall the shoe insult, the slapping of the statue and the shoe toss at George. So that puts me with you DunkingBird. I do hope that I haven't offended anyone of a religious persuasion, for that is certainly not my intention. I fully respect one's right to follow any given religion.

    You do bring up an important point though when travelling and that is to at least have a basic understanding of behaviours and norms in any given country that you travel. Many a tourist has got themselves into trouble in Thailand for example, showing disrespect to the past king. Defacing or tearing a bank note with the kings face on it, is another, writing what could be described as disrespectful literature on social media is as well. Did you know when you enter a Buddhist temple you should not point you feet at a statue of the Buddha when sitting on the floor. The list is endless.

    Katrina and i have seen countless westerners entering places of worship inappropriately dressed. It astounds me to think that some tourists have not educated themselves to understand that attire to the beach in Europe does not equate to suitable attire to a mosque. What the hell are they thinking, I don't know?
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  17. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks gperkins, that is something I can only endorse and I don't think you have offended anyone.

    I confess to a weakness of some kind of innocent jokes.
    Although I'm not responsible for some misinterpretation of my words it is worth to stay sensitive.


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  18. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Coming into Samarkand a few days back we were keeping an eagle eye out for a petrol station that actually had some petrol. Most cars here run on LPG, the rest diesel or petrol of course. But the petrol is only ever 80 RON and is notoriously difficult to find. Usually when a petrol station receives a supply, the locals are all over it like a rash, with any container that they can procure. For their own use and to on sell it for a profit. The larger towns of Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara usually have a supply. So back to coming into Samarkand, the only petrol station that I could see that had a supply was on the other side of the highway, there was a concrete barricade between us and the petrol station. By the time I found a way across we were quite some kilometres down the road, so I just pressed on; mistake!

    We limped into our B&B with maybe 3 litres left in the tank, so this morning I had to go out and search for some black market petrol. When an empty or sometimes full plastic bottle is spied on the side of the road, your've hit the jackpot. Of course instead of 2800 So'm at the bowser you are now paying 4000 So'm, 50 cents a litre as opposed to 30 cents, ouch. :photog

    We ran 86 RON in Indonesia without issue, but 80 hmm, now thats pushing it. So in went Mrs McGillicuddy's magic elixir, along with the local moonshine.
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  19. markinthailand

    markinthailand Long timer

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    I wonder if you could run it on moonshine....
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  20. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hard to see how it would be any worse.
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