leaving Kazakhstan and entering Uzbekistan

First part was leavening Kazakhstan.

It was hard to guess where to go, because they were rebuilding the border and there was a big mess.So we just follow the path on our left side and were heading into the building in front of us, when a guard started to whistle.

We stopped. He showed us the way into the same building we were heading towards, where they checked our passports and told us we need declaration paper which we could get in a small office around the corner.

I left Mirko with the guards and hoped he will not lose his temper. Because he really doesn’t like uniforms and he was already getting annoyed whit the guards.

I approached the small office. The truck drivers waiting in front told me I could get the registration paper inside. So I entered the small room and asked for the paper. They asked me where I am from and told me I don’t need one for the bicycles. So I went back and told the guard with our passports, that we don’t need one. He assured me that we do, so I had to go back again where I got the same answer.

I was feeling that they were playing with us. But what could we do, we had to do obey. Finally they gave me the paper. It was my third time going back and forward now.

When I passed it to the guard, he told me I had to fill it in. We didn’t have the pen and they didn’t have one to lend. So they decided we don’t need the paper, but we had to wait for the dog that would search our bags for the hidden drugs.

While I was running back and forward trying to get the papers, Mirko received a note from Chris and Roy who left it with the guards in the morning. We learned that by now they are half a day in front of us and that Chris had hard time crossing the sand parts on the road losing one of his bags.

It took some time before the dog came. He was small and cute sniffing the corners of the building, marking them with his pee.

We were joking that he drank too much vodka but the guard said it was too much tea. After he did his ceremony marking all the corners, they put him on the leash and it was time to work. He was sniffing all around not really interested in our bikes. Then he came to my front bag where I had an old, dirty rug we used for cleaning the chain and he got all excited. I had to open the bag and put everything out. And while I was doing that the thought crossed our minds.

We left the bikes unguarded outside chaikhana when we were having a nap. There were many people outside who might put something in the bag. But then again we were not in Afghanistan or Pakistan where there is lots of drugs.

The dog was getting crazy with the rug, not interesting about the contents of my bag. So the guards checked it suspiciously and then let us go. Now we just had to find another small office to stamp the passports and were free to leave.

Part two was entering Uzbekistan and hoping our visa will not be shorter than 30 days.

We leaned the bikes on the side of small building. Mirko was waiting outside with the bikes while I went to stamp the passports. The man sitting in the air-conditioning room stamped our passports and told me that our visa is 4 days shorter.

We were not so happy about that. He also gave me 2 copies of customs paper for each, where we had to declare how much money we are carrying with us. Than we had to go to another small office where they would stamp it. While the officer behind the counter was stamping the declaration papers the other one was asking me what I had on my head. I told him it’s my hair but he didn’t believe me, so I had to show him, that the hair was growing from my head.

They were all impressed asking me how long we have cycled from Slovenia till here and where we were going next?

We had the stamp in our passports, the stamp on declaration papers, now they only had to check all our bags and we could enter Uzbekistan, which was just behind the fence. There were still few cars in front of us, and it was getting hot. So it looked we would have to wait there for a while.

Than the officer who was earlier inspecting my hair in the office approached and asked us what we have in our bags and then without checking them, he waved us by.

It was the strangest border I had ever crossed.

When we crossed the border people selling water and changing money approached us. We bought some water and exchange Kazakhstan tenge for Uzbek sum while ladies were inspecting Mirko’s hair.

They didn’t believe it is our real hair. They thought somebody gave it to us and now we were putting it on every morning.

They told us that next chailkhana is 3km down the road. We said goodbyes and left, making our first km in Uzbekistan.

After 3km, we saw many chaikhanas on our left side, a man waived at us and we slowed down. We were thinking to continue, when the inner voice told us we should stop and drink some tea. So we did.

It was the biggest chaikhana we have ever been too. A big room with beautiful carpets and short tables was nice and cool. There were few drivers eating dinner but they soon left.

We ordered a pot of green tea and start chatting with the people around. Men named Ismail joined our table and order some salad for us.

The usual questions were asked and then we started to talk about the land we were visiting. He told us about Korezm now a small region in Amu Darya oasis close to Turkmenistan border which once was a big kingdom of sultan Jalaladin.

It was very interesting talking to him. He invited us to his home in Urgench, which is near ancient city of Khiva and we decided to join him.

We couldn’t cycle because our trailer was still in bad condition, so the plan was still to take the train or to hitch a lift till the first biggest town, where we could repair Mirko’s bike and the trailer.

We just missed the evening train, our second and last train for the day. So it was a good offer. Now we just had to find some transpiration big enough to take us all down to Urgench.
While waiting for the transportation he tried to arrange, we had some beer and learned more about the history of his mother land (Korezm).

A beautiful red sun was slowly setting behind the border and it was good time for traveling, but no transportation arrived and the border was closing down for the night. It meant no new vehicle will be arriving till the morning and we would have to stay there for the night.

We were sitting outside chaikhana enjoying beautiful sunset colors, singing songs and counting the stars appearing on the sky. It was a nice moment we were sharing with the local people.

Than Venera, lady from the neighbor chaikhana came to talk to us, she was so happy that we could understand and talk a bit of Russian and told us that foreigners mostly don’t even try to communicate because they don’t know the language.

She was glad we stopped and would stay for the night and invited me to come and see her place. She also showed me the new chaikhana, she and her husband were building. It looked very nice but it will take some time before it will be finished.

It was quite late and I was very tired. We had a hard day behind us. So I climb into the tent where Mirko was already sleeping.

The night was hot and very windy.