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.


Anonymous Chris said...

Hi Crindy

Craig and I wish you luck! We miss you and hope you finally take shower after so many days. Kiss the sands of the Gobi desert for me once you get there (or are you there already?)


8:09 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

What's even funnier is that the teetotaller in question was in a car that was being TOWED. He wasn't even driving!

3:57 PM  
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