September 7th, 2006 – by: hyo
Khiva by morning taken from the hotel balcony.
â€śA Dutch tourist dies and goes to heaven, in heaven he bores himself because everything is perfect. He wonders how hell is, so one day he writes a request to God that he wants to go to hell, god reads his request and discards it. The Dutch tourist doesnâ€™t take rejection well and submits everyday a request to God that he wants to go to hell. Finally god gives in and grants him a 3-day Tourist visa, the gates to Hell open for him and he enters hell. The first thing he sees are beautifull women everywhere and thereâ€™s drinks and drugs. The three days pass quickly as time flies when youâ€™re having fun. So at his last day he says goodbye to his friends in hell and passes through the gates of Heaven where his other friends await him. He tells them about his wonderfull experiences in hell and that he wants to go back. All his friends want to join him and they all sent requests to God. God was annoyed that everybody wants to go, so to get rid off all the requests he grants them a group-visa for indefinite stay in Hell. So they all enter hell and no beautifull women, no drinks, no drugs only fire and torture.
So the Dutch tourist asks to God; What have you done, where are all the beautifull women? And the drinks? And the drugs?. God answers; first visit was on a tourist visa and now youâ€™re in reality.â€ť
Old man sitting in front of the old wall in Khiva
This certainly applies for Uzbekistan, we had to cross the feared and infamous Turkmenistan â€“ Uzbekistan border crossing. to add to our challenge the border closes at 18;00hrs and no one can get through. First in the morning we went to visit Kunya Urgench, the old capital of the â€¦. Empire. It had all been vanguished by Djengis Khan.the remaining minaret, the tallest in Central Asia, had a golden turret that Djengis confiscated.
That explaines why the top of the minaret is like the tower of Pisa. Next to the minaret there are multiple shrines of important Turkmen people and there is a mountain where tourists are not allowed. This is a â€śsacred mountainâ€ť, it is believed by the local people that when a woman canâ€™t get pregnant she has to climb the mountain and roll down on her side from the mountain, this â€śsacred ritualâ€ť will help her get pregnant.
Now we had to rush to the border to beat the Germans at the Turkmenistan â€“ Uzbekistan border crossing, we had succeeded. It appears leaving Turkmenistan is easier than entering Turkmenistan. The customs declaration form that I had to fill in upon entry was now much needed along with our yellow exit permit and green travel pass as we passed through Turkmen customs. the Turkmenistan customs officers always check one bag of a group of people and they chooseâ€¦. Me, sigh. I had to open my bags and show them all my stuff.
As I checked my watch I realized that we had left Turkmenistan customs in less than 1 hour!!! Compare this with the 3 hours of getting in. The Uzbekistan border post looks like it comes straight from a B-movie set. Two men with uniform and huge hat and one woman in uniform bark us in Russian what to do, we replied them with very puzzled looks. Our guide cam to the rescue and told us we had to fill in a customs declaration form and you really really really had to fill this in correctly because any mistake could sent you to the firing squad behind the shelter. After some â€śscaryâ€ť minutes to await the results if we had filled in the forms correctly we got our immigration stamp and off we went to Khiva.