Category: Uzbekistan

Dec 01 2009

Andijon to Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Dec 1st
Met up with Bakhtiar at around 7am, walked around and visited the museum at 8am.
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I didn’t know that Koreizmi and Ibn Sina were Uzbek from Andijon. Koreizimi is the famous mathematician and Ibn Sina, the famous doctor.
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Fergana Valley
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Cotton plant. Uzbekistan is the 2nd biggest exporter of cotton.
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A medressa (islamic school) which was shut down by the government because the government is afraid of Islamic fundamentalist teaching.
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Young center (A center for young people to hang out with facilities such as reading room and the first bowling alley in Andijon)
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Crying mother statue
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The security is tighter in Andijon because of the Andijon massacre in 1995 where the military killed around 1000 unarmed protesters. There were also a few terrorist attack, the most recent case being a bomb in front of the government building close to Hotel Andijon. I guess probably that’s why Hotel Andijon refused foreigners now.
Statue of Babur. He is from Andijon and is the founder of Mughal Indian empire. His great grandfather is Timur. There were statues of Timur everywhere in Samarkand but in Andijon, there are statues of Babur instead.
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Since my Uzbek visa is only valid until Dec 1st, I have to get out of the country fast. Took a shared taxi to Dosytk at 12pm (around 45 minutes ride, 2,500 Som~USD1.30) and then changed to another taxi for a short ride to the Uzbekistan border.
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There are many people waiting outside in the cold weather. Uzbekistan border crossing is very bureaucratic. They required me to fill up 2 similar forms as the 2 forms I filled when I got in the country.
Kyrgyzstan border crossing is slightly easier. A custom officer brought me to a room and checked my bags. He was acting a little weird and I am pretty sure he wanted some bribes so I just ignored him.
Then took a bus from Kyrgyzstan border to Osh which is just around 8kms away. Osh is the second biggest city in Kyrgyzstan and is an old city and some people mentioned that the city was founded by King Solomon or even Alexander the great. There are a mixture of Uzbeks and Kyrgyz people in Osh. Osh was a territory of Uzbekistan some years back and there were an ethnic conflict in 1990 between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.
Kyrgyz looks just like East Asians which is different from their Uzbek neighbors.
There were a lot of money changers on the street and a lot of Mercedes on the street. These combination seemed like a place for Mafias.

Jameh Bazaar
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Local Kyrgyz hat
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Asked around a few hotels and found a hotel inside the bazaar, (300 Kyrgyz Som~USD7.5, 1 USD~43.80 Kyrgyz Som).
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Laghman for dinner (40 Som ~ USD$1)
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Nov 30 2009

Fergana to Andijon, Uzbekistan

Asia hotel provided quite a good breakfast.
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Jerry had an appointment to meet a prospective bride in the morning. We met up later, walked around the park.
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Statue of Babur
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Like most countries around this region, Uzbekistan is famous for its carpet. This huge carpet 3X5 meters cost around USD$150.
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Street performance
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Another Bazaar
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We met with Jerry’s prospective bride at a bazaar and I tagged along to visit the girl’s workplace,
Law faculty
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and then had lunch together. It’s kind of hard to understand the conversation because it’s a three way conversation. The guide translated Russian to Korean for Jerry and Jerry then explained to me in some English.
Hang around the city with Jerry.

Then took a shared taxi at around 5pm to Andijon which is around 75kms away (1 hour, 2,000 Som~USD$1).

Took a cab to Hotel Andijon recommended in lonely planet guide book. However, the staff working there mentioned that I am not allowed to stay there after giving me the price. I don’t understand what’s the reason because she couldn’t speak English.

Took marshrutka 33 to Hotel Voldyn instead (16,500 sum~USD$8).
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Andijon Plov for dinner
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Met a friendly Uzbek guy, Bakhtiar at the internet café and he told me that he is willing to show me around the city tomorrow.

Nov 29 2009

Fergana, Uzbekistan

Nov 29th Fergana Sun
Went to Fergana with Jerry and his guide, Eh Jah. Jerry’s guide is a Korean grandmother who was borned in Uzbekistan. She can speak both Russian and Korean fluently. We took a taxi to Qoylok Bazzar and then took a taxi to Fergana at 11am (325km, 5 hours drive away. 50,000 Som~USD$25 for a car).
Passed by some very nice mountains.
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Local Uzbek family picnicking
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Local Uzbeks selling their goods.
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Back to the Mountains
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Arrived at Fergana around 4pm and the weather here is colder. Fergana is a city of around 200,000 people situated at the Fergana Valley. A third of the population of Uzbekistan live in Fergana Valley. The Fergana Valley is a flat bowl surrounded by Tian Shan mountain to the north and Pamir Altay to the south.
We checked in at Asia hotel which is quite a nice hotel. Usually I prefer to stay at budget hotel but since I am with Jerry, we shared a hotel room for USD$25 each.
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Visited Eh Jah’s relative then had Shashlyk for dinner.
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Eh Jah and Jerry
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Nov 28 2009

Tashkent 2nd day, Uzbekistan

Nov 28th
History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
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Went to Hotel Intercontinental which is at the north part of Tashkent to get USD from Asaka ATM.
Met Jerry, a Korean guy at a bar. Jerry’s mission is to look for a wife in Central Asia and traveled all the way here from Seoul.

Nov 27 2009

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Nov 27th
Tashkent is the biggest city in Central Asia with a population of around 2 millions. Tashkent was hit by a big earthquake in 1966 and most part of the city were destroyed. Uzbek is now the official language after the Soviet Union broke up but Russian is still the primary language used because Tashkent is quite cosmopolitan. Most signs are still in Cyrillic. Spent the morning looking for another place to stay and found Hotel Orzu (60,000 Som~USD$30) which is at the south west part of Tashkent.

Lunch (a kind of gravy and soup, I forgot the name of the dish but it’s Uzbek food)
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A Medressa
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Walked around Chorsu Bazaar.
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Seoul Plaza
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There are many Koreans in Central Asia including Uzbekistan, especially in Tashkent. During the world war I many years ago, Stalin moved many Koreans from Vladivastok to Central Asia so the army can identify the Japanese from the Koreans.

There is a street called Broadway around Mustaqillik Maydoni which has some shops and restaurants.
Ate fast food and checked out the night life in Tashkent since it’s Friday night. Walked a lot today and covered most part of the city on foot.

Nov 26 2009

Samarkand to Tashkent, Uzbekistan

After having breakfast at the hostel, walked to the ancient Samarkand site called Afrosiab, northeast of the Bazaar. It’s a 2.2 sq km site and there is a museum at the site.
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Walked another 1km to Ulugbek Observatory.
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A local wedding. Uzbeks and Tajiks marry pretty early, it’s not uncommon to see married couples who are just 18 years old.
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So far in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the local people I met will usually ask if I am married and looked surprise that I wasn’t because the marrying age here is quite young.

Uzbek Kids
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I spent a lot of time looking for Plov for dinner yesterday and couldn’t find it. So that’s my mission for lunch today. (4000 Soms~USD$2).
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The only shopping mall I found.
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Took a Marshrutka to the train station and then got a 5pm train ticket (18,000 Som~USD$9, 300km 3.5 hours ride) to Tashkent.
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Arrived at Tashkent around 8.30pm and took the metro to Gafur Gulom stop which is at the north west part of the city. Tashkent is the only city in Central Asia with a metro system and the architecture inside each station is different and very pretty. Every metro station has many police and since I have 2 backpacks, they knew I was a tourist and asked for my passport and questioned me. Being a police is a boring job in Uzbekistan. There are so many police everywhere and they just stand at the same spot the whole day without doing much. Found Hotel Hadra and it’s the cheapest hotel in the guide book and cost 13,000 Som~ USD$6.50 but it’s dirty and empty.
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Later someone told me that the building is also used as a brothel.

Samarkand is one of Central Asia’s oldest settlement. Since it’s located right in the middle of the crossroads leading to China, India and Persia. The city had a few rulers such as the Turks, Arabs, Persians, Mongols. It was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1220 but then Timur decided to make Samarkand his capital and built many nice buildings in Samarkand.
In Bukhara and Samarkand, there are many Tajiks and most people here speak Tajiks, which is a language similar to Farsi instead of Uzbeks. During the Soviet Union times, Russian is the official language so even though not everyone speak Uzbeks in Uzbekistan but most people do speak Russian.

Nov 25 2009

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Nov 25th

Got up at 6am and took Marshrutka 68 to train station.
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The train station is around 10 km away from the city.
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Arrived at Samarkand train station at 11am.
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There were many taxi drivers trying to get me in their vehicle but since I don’t like taxi drivers, took public bus 22 to Registan which is located in the old city. Met a Japanese lady who was going to the same hotel as me. Even though the hostel was close by, but we spent an hour trying to find the place.
Hotel Antica (26,000 Soms~USD$13)
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Smarkand is bigger than Bukhara and the city looks more prosperous. There are around 500,000 people living here. In 1370, Timur decided to make Samarkand his capital and the city became the cultural and economic epicentre of Central Asia.
Guri Amir mausoleum. Timur, his sons and grandsons were buried here.
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Donkeys were used as transporation tool
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The Registan. The 3 edifices here are the world’s oldest Medressa.
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The Registan

There are many police around in the country and the police forces are very corrupted. The police wanted some bribes and willing to let me in if I pay them 7000 Soms without tickets. Since I had seen many similar buildings and that’s not my main interest, I decided not to go in.

Siob Bazaar
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Bibi-Khanym mosque (4200 Soms~USD$2). Bibi-Khanym is Timur’s Chinese wife. The door is around 35 meters high.
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Bibi Khanym

Amir Timur’s statue.
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Orthodox Church
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Samarkand University
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Dinner (kebab, Mimosa Salad, coffee, fries cost 7700 Soms~USD$4)
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Night view of Guri Amir
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Nov 24 2009

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Nasruddin guesthouse
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Walked around Lyabie Hauz, the name in Tajik means around the pool. Most people in Bukhara and the southern part of Uzbekistan speak Tajik and they look a little different from people in the northern part of the country.
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Met a Japanese biker
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Changed a hundred dollars to Som.
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It’s so thick that the money can’t fit in my pocket.
Kolkhozny Bazaar
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The Ark, a old town inside a fortified wall.
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I didn’t go in because some travellers adviced that it’s not worth the price of the ticket to go in.
Plov is sort of the national food in Uzbekistan and there are competitions on who can make the best Plov. Asked around and someone told me yesterday that theirs is a place which sell pretty good Plov, they were the champion in Plov competition.
Took bus 55 to the restaurant.
Plov with bread, tomatoes and tea (4400 Soms~USD$2.30)
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Walked around the southern part of the city.

Bought a train ticket to Samarkand which is around 250km, 3 hours away. (11,000 Som~USD$5.50)
Internet is cheap here, around USD$.50 per hour. However, the speed is quite slow so I can’t do much.


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