tisdag 14 maj 2013

Into the wind

After four days in Bukhara my stomach felt okay and I was ready to get back on the bike again. It was a beautiful old city with some great old buildings. But it felt a little strange seeing tourist again. I think the last touristic place where I’ve been was Cappadocia two months ago.
I felt okay when leaving Bukhara but the energy wasn’t 100% and after cycling 95 km into the wind I didn’t have much strength left in my legs and stopped close to Navoi. The next day I continued east and was hoping for some luck with the wind only to be disappointed once again. The wind has been blowing from the north for all my days cycling north, but now when I turned to the east then that’s where the wind is coming from of course. I think the last time I had a proper tail wind was when I left Tehran, but the weather was nice and warm so I probably shouldn’t complain too much. I also realized how cheap it is to by a lunch at the small restaurants along the way, so there’s no reason to go to the store and make some lunch myself. And I always meet some nice curious people when I stop. At the evening I came to the town Kattakurgan where I met a nice man who told me that there were no hotels open but that he would like me to stay at his house in a small village outside of town. I never turn down an offer like that and we managed to squeeze in my bike and bags in his extremely small car. I was sitting on the passenger side holding on to my bike that was sticking out from the back. But we made it there without losing anything driving on some really bumpy roads. We met up with his friend Jamshid who was an English teacher which was great since my host knew as much English as I know Uzbek. We had a nice evening with some food and Uzbek beer at a summer camp in the village. And once it got dark we headed back to his home where his mom served us even more food.
Yesterday I started off early in the morning on my way to Samarkand. The wind was blowing in my face and the roads continue to be very bumpy, so I probably won’t break any speed records here in Uzbekistan. But it would be nice to average more than 16km/h someday. But after many days of constant burning sun it was really nice to finally have a cloudy day and a little cooler temperature. Since I started cycling at seven in the morning I reached Samarkand at about two and had plenty of time to find a nice place to stay. It wasn’t the easiest city to find the right way, but with kind, helpful locals I always find my way at the end. After looking around a bit I settled in to a cheap room and after a couple cups of tea in the courtyard the rain started pouring down. I hadn’t seen rain in almost two weeks after cycling in the desert, so I could really enjoy the refreshing rain. Mostly because I’m inside. I ended up staying here in Samarkand three nights. It’s a very beautiful city with a lot of old majestic buildings. I’ve had a nice relaxing time here just walking around the city, seeing the sights and eating amazing strawberry’s and lots of ice cream. I have also been trying to figure out the best way to get my visa for China, and I have to say that they don’t make it easy. Hopefully everything works out and I can get it from the embassy in Bishkek. And I’m not that far away now. I have maybe ten days left in Uzbekistan before heading into the mountains of Kyrgyzstan towards Bishkek

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