30 August – 21 September 2010

Uzbekistan, eureka! There is water, there are some trees, and straightaway we find a wonderful traditional mother! She shows us the way most Uzbek families live: four cows and a few sheep in the courtyard, fresh milk in the morning, fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, buckets of water from the well, and a house filled with family. And in the evening our mother taught us some traditional Uzbek dancing :) Then on to Buchara, where we couchsurfed with Rahima and her family, playing with the kids, teaching them hula-hoop tricks and making “music” with the mouth harmonica.

Lost in the dark
At some po
int in time and space we where lost in a city as it became dark. Looking desperate did not help this time, as there were no mothers within sight. We decided to hide and camp behind a construction site. Alas, in the middle of the night we were woken up by the sound of something close to our bikes. Arianne poked her head out of the tent and shone her headlight straight at the two bastards trying to steal our bikes, “OPBOKN!” she screamed, and the bastards made a run for it. Afraid they might come back, we packed our stuff and set out to find a safer place. Too tired to pitch the tent again, we ended up sleeping in the bushes next to a quiet dirt road. But soon we were brutally woken by a bright flashlight shining in our faces. Oh oh, the police…

“What are you doing here?” they demanded angrily.
“We wanted to go to Qiziltepa, but we got lost”.
“You cannot sleep here, illegal, follow us!”

Once again we found ourselves in between two police cars with flashing lights, wondering where we were going this time. At the edge of the city the cars stop, the police get out, and we get scared. What do they want from us?

“Qiziltepa priama*”, they say, pointing down a dark deserted road heading away from the city.
“But it’s dark, we cannot see anything”.
“No problem, priama, priama!”

And there we were, at 3 am, cycling down a dark road, wondering how the hell this happened. As the sun rose, we found out we were cycling through a desert. Did you know Uzbekistan has desert? Did you know there are sandstorms in the desert? Well we only found out on the way.
*priama = straight ahead

Housemates in Tashkent
The capital of Tashkent is a boring, but very nice, high-five, since we are hosted by the ultimate Borat fan Igor. He helps us to do the necessary mental preparations for the trip to Kazakhstan: watch Borat, repeat Borat jokes, imitate Borat, develop a Kazakh accent, and sing the Kazakhstan national anthem. After a week of living together we feel like housemates. And for the first time our bikes received some tender loving care, Igor couldn't bare to see them so dirty and neglected :) Especial thanks to Corky Bucek. Very nice, I like!