Friday, September 28, 2012

30+ hours back home

more fun plane traveling, a fitting end to our trip. when we arrived at london from almaty we found out that our flight from london to LAX was cancelled due to mechanical issues. fortunately they put of on another flight to SF flying through washington dulles. that went well until we got to dulles and the plane can't fly survey mechanical issues. so we're now waiting fir another plane to arrive and hopefully we'll get back to SF around midnight, which will be about 33 hrs of traveling.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

tajikistan and osh

we made it through tajikistan. the pamirs are close to foreigners until next june so they changed up our itinerary. we visited some lakes in the fan mountains, which weren't that impressive. a lot of the villages there are still very traditional with women covering their faces or running away when strangers approach.

we came into kyrgyzstan yesterday after an uneventful border crossing. today we drove to the kyrgyz side of the pamirs, where we would've come out it we had done the pamir highway. the mountains and scenery were spectacular, which means we'll have to come back again to do the pamir highway.

we're off to issyk kul lake which is the second highest alpine lake in the world. then to bishkek and almaty and then back home on the 28th.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

to tajikistan

todays our last day in uzbekistan, we head to tajikistan tomorrow. unfortunately the pamir region is closed to foreigners because of some militant activity. this area was the whole reason for our trip. instead we will be visiting the fan mountains which are also supposed to be very nice but not as spectacular as the pamirs. After that we'll tour around kyrgyzstan for a week in the mountains before hitting Almaty and heading home.

another unfortunate event is the two closest border crossings from uzbekistan to tajikistan are closed due to political reasons. instead of a 2 hour car ride to the border tomorrow we'll have a 9 hour car ride on bad roads. they told us we should get a very early start, so we will be leaving from the hotel at 3 am. should be memorable.

Monday, September 10, 2012

another driving adventure

we were warned that it was a long drive from khiva to bukhara with a bad road part of the way. about 100 km of the road is under construction so it was reminiscent of Mongolia with large sections of not great gravel and dirt roads between a few km of good road. we finally got on the good section after 200+ km and the driver was going pretty fast, about 100 kph. he drove on the side of the road to avoid a bad section and hit a 6 inch pothole with a really sharp edge. similar to Mongolia the car didn't like that and we ended up with severely bent wheels, the right two.

we had one spare and erick, Bryan and the driver spent 1 1/2 hrs using an all metal hammer hammering out the rim of the least damaged tire to hold air. amazingly the got the tire to hold air. unfortunately the foot pump the driver had leaked more air than it pit in the tire so we had to leave it at a very low pressure. but we made it the remaining 50 km to bukhara, which is a pretty impressive city. hopefully this os not the first of many adventures.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

27 hours to uzbekistan

after 27 hours of traveling including 4 plane rides and 4 delays we made it to tashkent. our first flight from san francisco to vancouver was delayed 2 1/2 hours, first due to a mechanical problem where they had to track down and replace a part then finding someone's luggage from the cargo area and removing it once they decided to disembark due to the delay.

we were concerned we'd miss our flight to frankfurt since we only had a 2 hour scheduled layover and subsequently the flight from Frankfurt to Ashgabat which only runs two times a week. fortunately they held the flight from Vancouver to frankfurt for us for 40 min and we only had to run through the airport a little.

the next excitement was the flight from ashgabat to tashkent which was booked two days before when we found out the turkmenistan government rejected our visas an we wouldn't be able to enter the country. our inbound flight to ashgabat arrived late, 10 min before the tashkent flight took off. after standing in the passport control line for 10 min we were shown where the transit area was and after a few phone calls and yelling we were somehow escorted to the waiting plane and let on without boarding passes or them checking IDs. the plane took off right after we got on.

after a morning in tashkent we flew to urgench and were driven to khiva where we've spent the past 2 days. a nice old silk road fort/town with many madrassas, mosques and minarets. tomorrow it's a 7 hour drive over "bad" roads to bukhara.