(D)Rama Done

Well nearly. We arrived at the beginning of Ramadan and we leave just a day before the big parties. In true fashion we are eking our the adventure to the very end. Our visa expires tomorrow midnight. We’ve spent the afternoon in search of a camp stove – assisted by the incredibly helpful Akbar – who will be opening an AirBNB next year and we can already highly recommend his services! It’s been raining torrentially, flooding has already started on the roads.

Within 45 minutes of torrential rain there was flooding

We met him at 3pm it’s nearly 7 – he has postponed his work twice – and we not only have what we need, we also found an Asian shop so now have dried shiitake mushrooms and seaweed (which when you struggle to get vegetarian food is very very very exciting! Small things I know. So one more sleep and then the next adventure begins…

Last Friday, we were in Nukus and knew we had to be out of the country by Tuesday via TashKent which was 858km away. There weren’t enough days to ride and anyway a train journey sounds relaxing after all that mud, dust, potholes and headwinds right? Not exactly.

With Michel who will also be on the train – but heading to Samarkand
All ready to climb aboard

It’s 1am Friday night – I am laying – very still on my narrow top berth afraid of rolling over a landing 5 feet below. There are 6 beds in each section, 4 long and wide, two short and narrow. No guessing which ones we ended up with. I have a chance to experience what many of my taller family and friends do regularly – head and toes touching the end of the shelf – I’ve decided calling it a bed is stretching it.

I’m lucky though I am by an open window. Fresh air is the upside. The down sides – the window opens in and so reduces my already narrow shelf by a few inches and of course there’s the noise. No gentle rhythm just the percussion section of an orchestra warming up and the sweet pungent perfume of burning diesel.

The train ride will be 20 hours – we are just over 5 hours in. Patience grasshopper. Patience.

And at least we have great travelling companions An Ni from China and Nic from Malaysia as well as Michel and of course a whole warm friendly Uzbek family sharing our section of the train and an English teacher next door.

Michel, An Ni and Nic
Peri with friend

We arrive at about 3pm – and with help unload, then reload our bikes and we’re off into Tashkent traffic and heading back to what has quickly become our home base, Sebzhor district.

Makhsuda at home – there to greet us

Arrival is often about cleaning ourselves and our clothes and this time our bikes as well. The muddy roads have taken their toll and the clean up takes a while (as does the clean up of ourselves). So we do little else – just settle in to home. And of course chat with Nargiza, Hilola, Alesha and Makhsuda – our Tashkent family.

The next day we are back on the amazing subways of Tashkent. Approaching each station I feel the excitement and delight of a 5 year old – where everything is new and wonderful – wondering what visual delight we will be treated to. We have a destination – we are meeting Firdavs – our guide from Samarkand. We made a small pottery purchase while in Samarkand but of course couldn’t take it on the bikes so he has offered to make the 600+km round trek by bus to deliver it for us.

It’s the cosmonaut station – celebrating the numerous cosmonauts !
Subway travel – we are always always given a seat!

It’s wonderful to see Firdavs and we wander through places we haven’t yet seen in Tashkent, Amir Temur park, and find somewhere to eat. It isn’t long before we hear raucous laughter, an Australian accent and the slow drawl of USA’s south (North Carolina). We all sit together sharing stories and laughter until it is time to go.

Sue (I think) – and Lynn (from North Carolina – I hope I’ve hot that right)
Adrienne hoeing down on the hot wedges 😁
Our lunch with the lovely Firdavs

So Tashkent- so Uzbekistan it’s been wonderful- people of Uzbekistan you’ve been amazing. We’ll be back in August. For now we’re off to Kazakhstan and the adventures that lie beyond the border.

Kazakhstan is about a third the size of Australia though its population is almost 20 million – so not quite as sparsely populated as Aus – but still much more sparse than Uzbekistan.

25km and a border crossing and we’ll be there. So perhaps no wifi for a while and no comms till we can get SIM cards and money and that sort of thing, so until then, love and much joy from us both. Thanks for all your messages – we love getting them, keep up the good work!

So in celebration of World bicycles day yesterday – we are off until next time 🙂

24 thoughts on “(D)Rama Done

    1. Thanks Annie – sounds like you’re having an amazing time too. Have every confidence in you. Am sure it’s daunting facing the exam but you’ve worked so hard, you’ve done all the practice and you will absolutely rock it! Sending love xxx

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    1. Thanks sweetie – all ready now and about to head off. So lovely here – very much feels like home and Makhsuda and I are great mates despite the very limited language we play and laugh a lot. Xx

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  1. Fantastic travelogue describing your incredible adventures! Envious of your journey but absolutely certain it’s both physically and mentally challenging! International travel on this scale is perfect for fit and healthy friends!!! Yvonne

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  2. We just LOVE your blogs, so much so that when Adrienne gets bach I’m going to pick her brain for a similar ride 😀
    Let’s hope the coms in Kazakhstan allow regular blogs.

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  3. Wowza! And on to another Stan. We had a great time rolling with you on this leg, but I was wondering if we’d make the Visa cut off time…jeez you like to cut fine. Phew…we made it. 😂 And I see we’re going to do it all again August! Is that right?? Thanks for a wonderful blog – loved it. Travel well. xx

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    1. When u only get 30 days visa you have to eke it out to the very end 😉. Kazakhstan proving an equal but different delight – open space and rolling hills instead of mosaics and architecture. Xx yes back to Tashkent in August- we fly out from there. Xx

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  4. Wow what an amazing journey. I’m sitting at netball training 6.12pm but so engrossed in reading your journey and seeing it all in my head lol.
    Enjoying the story and photos so much ❤️

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  5. Hi Wendy – thanks for the super updates and the photos – you bring the trip alive – happy travels on the next leg (or should I say, wheel!) xx

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    1. Hey Nes – we so need to be real time so we can have a pun run. We went through a thunderstorm on the way in -I can’t Stan the rain running through my head. All going well wheely happy 😁 xx

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  6. You guys are amazing! Thank you for sharing so much of your journey. I love the stories about the people and the photos of far away places. Stay well. Keep enjoying!

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  7. What a wonderful picture you are painting of an exciting journey, it really has opened our eyes to another beautiful place on this planet. Stay safe, ride well, keep enjoying Cheers, Kevin and Sandy

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    1. Hi Kevin,Sandy – yes it’s opened my eyes too. I never realised how little we know about other regions – so much of our information and learning is about the west. Obvious of course but I just hadn’t thought about it u til know. Lovely to get you messages. X

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  8. Hey there! Loving your blog!
    This is Lynn from North Carolina! I wish that I was traveling with you!! Sue was my friend from Australia if you want to correct. Just so happy to have met you both and also feel so lucky to read this as you go along. You will have to tell me and Sue where to travel next! Have fun and enjoy all your new friends! I am back to work now so I can make money to travel!

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