Monday, August 28, 2006

Photos of the Rally

Hey there, those of you who are still checking in
  • here's a link to my set of rally photos, which my boyfriend David has kindly hosted on his flickr account

  • Unfortunately, they are not really in order. Enjoy!
    [UPDATE: Photos now in chronological order. Continue to enjoy! -- Cheburashka]

    there's a comments feature on flickr - so, comment away!

    here's a picture from the site - this is a lake we drove past in Kyrgyzstan, about 4 hours outside of Osh:

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    And the view from 12th Street is just delightful

    Hey all,

    I apologize for the radio silence for the last week. Been hectic, but I'll tell you now that Paul dropped out of the Rally in Tashkent about 10 days ago, to head home to New York, after stomach non-cooperation issues. I continued on from Tashkent with Team Globalisation Institute (at that point just Anthony Batty) and we made our way through the Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan (where we were stopped by the cops SEVENTEEN times in one afternoon) and into phenomenally gorgeous, and ridiculously inaccessible Kyrgyzstan - without a doubt the highlight of the Rally. Most unbelievably stunning place I've ever seen, and also, the best driving I've ever had in my life. Apparently the roads have been repaired in recent years. And once through Kyrgyzstan, back into Kazakhstan and lovely, cosmopolitan Almaty. Anthony trudged on north towards Siberia, but even with an extension from work, I could not promise that I'd be back in the office on time, so, with a slightly heavy heart, I left the Rally from Kazakhstan. I tell you all this so that you all know that we're home, and that once I get a few more minutes in front of the old intertron, I will post as many photos as blogger will allow.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Osh, Kyrgyzstan

    Message received early this morning from Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Bad jokes regarding Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or the Oshkosh (B'Gosh) brand of overalls omitted for readers' pleasure.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Islam Karimov's Presidential Motorcade

    Outside cafe, having our umpteenth shashlik and beer dinner tonight in downtown Tashkent, Uzkbekistan. Walking up towards a corner of a major intersection, we notice people being diverted from foot traffic. And men in fatigues with automatic weapons. We slow down, take a bit of cover behind a newsstand. Auto traffic in all directions has stopped. Then we figure it out - one cop car, another, a third, an SUV and I stop counting. It's a motorcade! We get asked for our documents and head on our way. That's tonight's event in Tashkent, which has been good to us for the last day. We're staying in a great hotel (The Grand Orzu Hotel) and have hit the bazaars big time. Tomorrow some museums and on to Kyrgyzstan. We are, as our newfound British friends put it, knackered. This isn't vacation one bit. It is hardcore, brutal, nose to the grindstone travel. What makes it great is catching up with other rallyers and trading stories. The teetotaller who was stopped by the cops for allegedly driving drunk and then "failing" a breathalyzer. The Moldovan gas station attendant who refused payment for the gas the rallyers put in the tank, and then demanded that they do shots and smoke cigarettes with him. in the gas station. while getting ready to drive. Sometimes it seems a bit that there are little to no rules going on here. But we enjoy it. We're on to Kyrgyzstan tomorrow and will report more from Bishkek.

    Tashkent, home of GooGoosh(a)

    Latest reports put our hard-drivin' team in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is described as beautiful, friendly and cosmopolitan. Unclear whether they have seen or heard the number one jam on Uzbek MTV at the moment, "Unutma Meni (Forget Me Never)," a danceable tune that happens to be sung by the daughter of the beloved Uzbek maximum leader, Islam Karimov. Said daughter, Gulnara Karimova (pictured, right), apparently goes by the moniker GooGoosh or GooGoosha.

    Team NY now plans to head east to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and then north to Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Yes, But Did They Stop At Baikonur Cosmodrome?

    Our latest dispatch puts Team NY and their traveling companions in southern Kazakhstan, near the Uzbek border, having spent the night in Aral(sk) and confirmed reports that there are indeed boats on the sand there (the Aral Sea having lost some 60% of its surface area in the last 30 years or so and the city of Aral no longer being a port but rather a sad, landlocked place 100km from the nearest shore).

    They plan to reach Tashkent tomorrow, and then head on to Bishkek and Almaty. From the brief communiqué, it appears that they have approached the rally with renewed vigor and intend to visit the Silk Road cities AND go all the way to Mongolia. Cheers to our hearty band of adventurers!

    No word on whether they stopped at Baikonur Cosmodrome on their way from Aral to Tashkent.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Aqtobe, Slight Return

    This e-mail arrived from Audrey earlier today, giving a bit more detail on our Team's current situation:
    we are having a rough time of things here- lots of driving, little progress. bad roads, breakdowns, and i'd kill for a shower. but i am in a post office with a bunch of the rallyers we picked up. their panda broke down outside aktobe, and we towed them 50 miles in the wrong direction, camped, then set on back for aktobe. cars are being repaired right now, and then we go back towards aral. i realize now that we are either going to mongolia via kazakhstan, straight east then north, or just going to tashkent/bishkek/almaty and then home. there's not enough time to do both.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Aqtobe (or not Aqtobe)

    More news from the front:
    Near Aqtobe - picked up another two teams. Have not yet decided whether to finish rally by going to Siberia and east, or just to Uzbek & Kyrgyz and then home. Will have to decide soon.