Troublesome taxis

Naryn Travel Blog

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Scenery on the road from Naryn to Kazarman

People i met here who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Sigrid (Belgium), Aviad (Israel)

Back in Naryn we went with Aviad to the bank to change some money and then bumped into Sigrid, who decided to accompany us to lunch. We tried a place near our hotel called Cafe Aina and i was impressed with the food which they served. After eating and exchanging information on our proposed trip across to Osh, we bade farewell to Sigrid for the day and went to use the internet.

The previous day we had gone into the internet cafe and not only paid to go online, but burned our photos to DVD. The owner had seemed friendly, so we chose the same place again. This time we just wanted to use the internet for 30 minutes, but when i went to pay, he tried to double charge us and started saying we owed him for 'traffic'.

Scenery on the road from Naryn to Kazarman
Yesterday we had clearly stated we wouldn't use anywhere with traffic and he said that was fine as they didn't have that policy. Now 24 hours later he was saying they just installed a program and they did have traffic fees now. The problem with this argument is that the photos were all still 'zapped', even though he claimed this new mystery program opened them. When Julia asked why he wouldn't inform us of this new payment scheme (there were no signs on the wall and his computer even said we owed half what he was asking) he replied 'because you didn't ask'... are you supposed to ask every time you enter! In the end he told us to just pay the real price and we left.

In the evening we went out for Dinner with Aviad at Cafe Aina. Once again the food was enjoyable and this time i had a very tasty salad. From here we went to the hotel restaurant and had a beer. As usual the bill was wrong - how can you mischarge two beers?!?! I was too tired to argue about it, and I'm thoroughly sick to death of every bill been wrong. Can't they just be happy with their 10% service charge without adding on another bogus amount! The evening ended in our room, chatting over a beer, before saying our goodbyes.

The next day we were up at 09.00 and met Sigrid at the bazaar at 10.00, in order to get a shared taxi to Kazarman. The taxi drivers took an immediate interest in us and the opening offers started at 5000 Som ($140), but soon dropped down to 3000 Som ($83). The previous day we had been told that catching any taxi that originated in Naryn would be double the price of those coming from Kazarman, as you had to pay for the drivers return journey. We therefore sat in the shade and waited for any Kazarman taxis that were dropping clients off.

After some time, Sigrid made a cardboard sign with 'Kazarman' written on it, as there was no sign of anyone going there and we wanted to make sure any potential driver knew we were customers. Some local women also tried to help us find a taxi, but it was apparent that even the people who lived in Naryn weren't really sure where to wait. Four hours passed by, with attempts to find a ride at both the bus station and bazaar. The longer the day went on, the higher the prices seemed to go, with one guy even asking for 10000 Som ($280!).

The price we expected to pay in a share taxi was anywhere between 450 - 600 Som, but there just wasn't any sign of one, and in the end we had to make the decision of paying 3000 Som ($83) for the car, which was 1000 Som each.

The 210km journey from Naryn to Kazarman took just over four hours, with the middle section crossing some beautiful scenery and going over an impressive pass. The road had been asphalt for the first 90km, but after this it deteriorated into little more than a gravel path. Our Audi coped reasonably well at first, but once we headed into the mountains, the red light on the panel that represented the heater began to flash furiously. Soon the car began to resemble a sauna and it was necessary to stop at regular intervals to give it a chance to cool down a bit.

Just over halfway a guy flagged us down to ask for a ride and we thought it may be a chance to share the costs out a bit more. The driver and man talked for some time, then the driver told us that the man was willing to pay 50 Som! What was the point of squashing into a car and making it an uncomfortable journey for the sake of $0.50 each. We politely declined the offer and finished the journey as we started, with just the four of us.

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photo by: Biedjee