Tashkent

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Woke up and brushed my teeth next to the road:

You can see the border to Uzbekistan right be hind me.

Then I changed some Uzbek money and got this ridiculously large wad of cash:

Inflation is the name of the game.

Had some cookies and some ice-tea, watched some “Modern Family” on my phone in my room. And waited.

I was waiting for these guys:

I had found them last night through the owner of the guesthouse where I was staying. They had taken the Caboose away and fixed her:

Fixed her in more than one place actually:

We took a selfie:

Then I loaded up the Caboose:

And took another selfie with the dudes from the guesthouse:

Then I went to the border.

I was a bit worried, but what could I do? There was only one way to go: forward.

A lady helped me fill out my customs form for a bit of money:

Then I went through the border. Had to show my passport a dozen times to a dozen different people. Had to unload the Caboose completely and put everything that was in her through an x-ray machine. Had three friendly Uzbek border guards help me lift the Caboose over a fence when she was too fat to fit any other way. And then I was through.

I stepped out on the road, passed some people who were surprised that I didn’t want a cab.

Then I knelt down on Uzbek ground. I figured if the Pope could do it, so could I.

The road was quiet and clean:

There were lots of liquor stores…

…some fast food stands…

…and some pretty houses:

I kept to the side of the road, hoping that the Caboose would hold up with her new welding job:

And then I reached Tashkent:

It felt surreal.

I had seen this place name on the map so many times. It had always seemed so far away. And now I was here!

I liked this green car:

And this girl looking out at the traffic:

I was tempted to walk all the way to the hotel and deprive myself of dinner (and lunch, actually) until then. But then I decided to take it easy and have some food in a self-service restaurant instead:

At one point there was a monument next to the road:

And I was surprised when I noticed that the inscription was in English:

MAY THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN FOR FREEDOM…

Probably about World War II.

Some of the buildings had nice mosaics on them:

When night fell, I was still walking:

Tashkent was bigger than Almaty or Astana, and a lot bigger than Shymkent.

I wasn’t sure if this was an advertisement for a 4G mobile plan or something entirely different:

What I did notice was A LOT of Pepsi ads though:

They were all over the city:

Does this mean that people in Tashkent love Pepsi? I thought.
Or does it mean the opposite, that they don’t love Pepsi enough?

At some point I left the main roads and turned into a quiet neighborhood to look for my hotel:

And when I found it, I took my first shower in four days.

Then I crashed on the bed.



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