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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Uzbekistan - 25 August, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Tashkent (Orzu Hotel) N4117.526' E06915.845' 429 meters .
Finish Tashkent (Orzu Hotel) N4117.526' E06915.845' 429 meters -

Total Leg 2:

0 km

Total Leg 1:

3,018 km

Grand Total:

3,018 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny, very hot and hazy.  Warm at night.

 

 

We have a bit of a sleep-in this morning and go for breakfast at 9 AM.  We have a leisurely breakfast and finally get going just before 11 AM.  It is our day to see Tashkent.  We first wander over to the nearest metro stop about 10 minutes walk away.  Tashkent has the only underground system in Central Asia.  And what an underground.  It is on the Moscow model, with fancy stations all done up in a different way.

 

Uzbek02_CD07_02_web.jpg (57229 bytes)

The place is teeming with security and other personnel.  We buy our token (about 7 cents) from the surly lady behind the counter and then walk a few meters to place the token in a very old fashioned turnstile guarded by another surly lady.  We find out later that you do not want to mess with these machines.  If you do not put in a token and pass through, a metal gate slams across at knee height - you will be limping for days after.

 

Uzbek02_CD07_03_web.jpg (69265 bytes)

We find our way to the right platform and it must have at least ten guards patrolling it.  It is Sunday and there are very few passengers, so they guards stand out.  We immediately get their attention by taking a few pictures.  Turns out this is still a military zone and you are not supposed to take any.  We get off with a polite warning.  The train arrives and we get in and are whisked off to our destination, a few stops down the tracks.  The train car is empty - it turns out that it is Sunday.  This station is also filled with guards and we tempt fate by taking some more pictures and get off again with only a polite warning.  Just have to make sure not to take pictures in the same station twice!!!

 

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We head up to street level and go and check out the Amir Timur square/park.  It is well kept with a huge statue of a warrior on horse back.  Then it is off to the Amir Timur museum - a new place that glorifies the Uzbek identity and the peak of Uzbek history during the days of the silk route and the power of Timur.  It is very grand and is actually quite a nice museum.  Some of the displays are excellent (in particular the scale models).

 

After enjoying the air conditioning of the museum, we are almost sorry to leave and head out into the mid-day sun and bake.  We wander over to the pedestrian mall now called Broadway (Karl Marx in the Soviet days) and checked out the many stalls selling all kinds of junk.  In the end, we get lunch in one of the may restaurants lining the edge of the street.  We get one of the kind waitresses to change some money for us.

 

From Broadway, we head over to the Fine Arts Museum.  From the outside and the entrance hall, this place looks like a dump.  But it has some nice things in it.  There is a very nice collection of old carpets, weavings and head pieces from the region.  In addition, they have some old pieces from all over the world that must have been gifts at one time.  It is actually a collection of very nice stuff.

 

As we exit the museum we take a wrong turn and head down a street that will take us back the way we came.  Some friendly locals set us on the right track.  We head on our way back to the hotel, stopping off at the internet cafe to check on our emails.  As we are leaving, a small boy asks us in Uzbek if we speak English.  In the end, it turns out that he is from Georgia (USA) and here visiting his grandmother.

 

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We rush back to the hotel, getting there just before 7 PM.  We need to quickly wash up and get ready for dinner.  The group is going to Bahor Restaurant.  It has good reviews, so we decide to go.  We grab a few taxis and head off once we are ready.  The place is certainly grand.  We head up some big staircases to a huge hall filled with tables and a stage along one of the walls.

 

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The service is great, but the food is just average.  Jacqui is disappointed with her caviar.  It is a small portion and we do not think it is real caviar.  The rest of the food is a bit bland.  The highlight of the evening, however, is the show that they put on.

 

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Basically it is a group of attractive ladies changing into a number of different outfits and dancing a range of routines.

 

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The men seem to appreciate the show the most.  Paying the bill at the end is the usual exercise of counting out stacks of notes and hoping that it all adds up.

 

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