forgotten sirup

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I woke up dreading the day. My spine still hurt, and I knew there was a high chance I would have to walk 50k today.

I had some breakfast, then I went back to the road.

There were truckloads of people being driven around, I suspected that they were working the fields somewhere:

I walked for a while, and then, when I had just started to look for a place to have lunch, I ran into this gentleman selling lemonade next to the road:

It wasn’t anything local. It was imported sirup made from some berry, the name of which I forgot immediately after he told me. So basically this stuff was like a mystery brew to me – it had a secret ingredient.

It was very tasty, by the way.

I walked past a house that reminded me of Germany:

And then I was out in the open, in a barren place:

I had figured that finding a place to eat something or at least buy something would be easy, but I was wrong. There was nothing out there:

Well, almost nothing. I saw a freight train once:

And then, after an hour or so, I came to a railroad crossing:

There was another “German” house:

And then I walked past a large, fenced area that seemed to consist almost entirely of shipping containers:

Note how one of the containers apparently has air-conditioning? I didn’t know what to make of all of this, and because there were guards everywhere, I didn’t take many pictures.

Sometimes I saw trucks huddled together:

And one time, this gentleman crossed to road in order to give me eggs and a piece of fabric:

The eggs were from his courtyard, and the fabric was from his factory.

Thank you, I said, and then I sat down next to a little shop and had some ice tea and cookies. There was an old lady sitting there, too:

I decided to give her the eggs that the gentleman had given to me:

They would be of more use to her, since I had no means of boiling them, or frying them, or using them to bake a cake anyway.

I had walked past two hotels, one in the container area and the other one right thereafter, but both had been closed. So I sighed and kept going:

Then night fell:

When I reached Olot, the last town in Uzbekistan, I had done almost 50k. The night was black, and it was very quiet. Only one time I saw a group of people sitting outside of what seemed like a shack:

I was very happy when I found a shop that was still open:

More ice-tea, more cookies:

When I got to the hotel though, I despaired: it was fully booked! A whole bunch of gas workers from Kazakhstan, Russia, Korea, and apparently France, and not a single bed available.

Alisher was working the reception that night:

He told me about another hotel in Olot, one that was a bit harder to find. So in the end he decided to walk half of the way there with me, then he pointed in one direction and said: “Walk straight, then stop at the traffic light! There is only one traffic light in Olot.”

And sure enough, I found it:

There was a hotel there, which looked a little bit run down but had a license to host foreigners anyway:

So there I slept, on my ground pad, on my bast mat, on the floor, some twenty-odd kilometers from the Turkmen border.

I did not have a visa for Turkmenistan, yet.

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