A fond farewell to Uzbekistan
Bukhara Travel Blog› entry 383 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)
It was 21.40 by the time that our bus finally trundled into Bukhara. Left in the pitch black somewhere on the outskirts of the town, we were at the mercy of the taxi sharks. At times like these, its a battle of wits, with the driver setting stupidly high prices, whilst you threaten to walk, all be it 5 kilometres on this occasion. Its always a case of who can call the others bluff the best and on this occasion, we opted to pick up the bags and pretend to start walking, when he finally brought his price down to a reasonable level, which we were all satisfied with.
The taxi dropped us off at the same hotel that we had stayed at last time, and once again it was time for another game of 'call my bluff'.
We had hoped to reach Bukhara before 20.00, so we could go out for Dinner with Sylvia and Maida, who arrived the day before. It was now 22.00, but we decided to see if they were still sat around Lyabi-Hauz Pond, but sadly they weren't. The town was already pretty deserted, which made it perfect to go on a late night stroll to see it whilst it was lit up. I love walking around places in the middle of the night, its like discovering a new city from the one that you see in the day.
Mir-i-Arab Medressa and the surrounding square once again took my breath away, and we spent quite some time marveling at the structures and playing with a little puppy, which had taken a shine to Julia.
On Saturday morning we ate a hearty breakfast, before attempting to get a marshrutka to the bazaar. For some reason the number 86 had various routes and the drivers kept gesticulating as they passed, but none of them would stop, even though locals said we were in the right place! After some time we gave in and flagged a taxi down. At the bazaar a host of taxi drivers were waiting to pounce on us to take us to Olot, a town near the Turkmenistan border. Prices began at 30,000 Sum ($22), but we played the waiting game and finally paid 3,000 Sum ($2.20) each. Its incredible what discounts you get if you try.
Our last real challenge in Uzbekistan came with getting a taxi to the border, which Lousy Planet said was only 7km away, even though it turned out to be 20kms.
A few minutes passed before a fat Uzbek guy pulled up and offered us the whole car for $5, but we said we would only pay $1 per seat, so $4. Suddenly the first taxi driver turned up again and said he would now take us for $1 each, which got the fat guy really worked up, to the stage where they were pushing each other and wrestling for my bag.
It was midday and the sun was pounding down on the desert that surrounded us, but we now had to walk 2kms across a no mans land to the Uzbek immigration post. The guards were all friendly, although the process to pass through customs and immigration seemed to take forever. I passed out of the country having enjoyed both the sites and the people and in my opinion the country had proved to be the best value for money within Central Asia.