Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I made it 

Yes, I am back in the big city, Tashkent. It took me 6 hours or more on a shockless, drafty cold bus meandering its way thru the deserts of Uzbekistan, stopping every 100 meters or so in an effort to pick up new passengers, but I made it.

Ate breakfast at 8:30am (ganked a pocketful of raisins and nuts) and didn't eat or drink again until 8pm. I was a bit dehydrated.

The day started with a 3+ mile walk thru the outskirts of Samarkand with a vague idea of the whereabouts of the long-distance bus station. Wearing my 4-layers of pants (ran out of room in my backpack) and 3 shirts, it was a very sweaty walk (not a freezing day for once). Arriving at the bus station I was just in time to be rushed onto a bus leaving for Tashkent, which proceeded to sit and wait another 30 minutes before it finally left. And stopped 20 minutes later. For 20 minutes. I think that process was repeated for 5 hours, after which we finally made some good time back into the city.

Fortunately for me, the bus delivered me back to the spot from where we left 2 weeks previous (there are a few places buses drop people, so I got lucky) so I got right onto the Metro to head to my sister's hideaway. Only before I could get to the ticket counter, a cop stopped me and asked to see my passport. "Didn't take long," I mumbled to myself as I handed over the photocopy of my passport. He rambled and asked (I think) where I was coming from and going to. I answered semi-coherently b/c: 1. My face was still a little numb from the drafty bus; 2. I was dehdrated as hell and tired; 3. technically, except for my 3 days in Samarkand, sis and I have been less than legal in the country (I'll explain this when we get to China). But he let me go and even smiled at me! Nice.

The Metro was easy. However, when I exited the station, I had to take a bus. Only I wasn't told which way (north or south) to take it, and am not learned enough in Russian script to be able to decipher which was was north/south (it was dark, and I knew I needed to go north). I guessed correctly, though I almost passed out on the bus for lack of hydration. So far so good, I found the right stop and started towards the boy's dorm (lives at university, on campus). Again, no info on the building number or anything. But I guessed right again and was greeted with a hug and: "thank god! I was worried you were lost or dead!" No faith in me, from my sis who is faultless with directions and all that, right??

Now we need to check the weather out east. Our plan was to hitchhike thru Kyrgyzstan to China. Only this takes us over a very high mountain pass that has been getting snow for...about a week now (with more projected). Now we may go thru Kazakhstan instead, perhaps getting in a day of skiing!! We'll see.

That's all for now. I need to get something to drink. Still dehydrated

FYI-Don't believe the hype. I am not suffering (that badly) and am having a good time. It only sounds like I am miserable. I swear!! Besides, that which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right (assuming we can survive the malnourishment and stomach issues)?

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com